Thursday, April 28, 2005

Few Thoughts and Photos

I had the following thoughts throughtout the morning and put them on a piece of paper when I was in a meeting so I wouldn't forget to update this here LJ with them.

Once again the commuters in the Porter Square T station gave me a laugh again. I can't get enough of these business professionals sprinting towards a waiting train. I am so looking forward to the day somebody busts a high heel or slips and falls. Haha sadistic I know, but seriously plan ahead.

The second thought I had was about the Bring Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day Today is that day and I saw a couple kids around the office. I honestly don't know what these kids could possibly learn from sitting in an office. Most of the time they just sit the kids at a computer and let them play games all day. How ridiculous?!?! I remember one person I used to work with that would bring her sons in every year and I am sure it wasn't because they would learn anything, but just because she could. I can't stand that woman to this day and it bothers me that I immediately thought of her when I thought of today. See in the old day's at Shaw's the kids would come in and actually do stuff that was fun and kind of gave the kids an idea of the shitty jobs you can have in a supermarket. I don't know of any fun things they do here although maybe they should race around the office in office chairs or something. You have to spice it up. Or even better put them in a meeting and make them sit listening to somebody on speaker phone talk for an hour or so. Teach them just how boring it can be to sit in a meeting. Ironically these kids would know about as much that is going on in the conference calls as I usually do. Or maybe the kids could get micro managed and tell them to color in a coloring book. About every five minutes a manager could come over and ask why they used blue as the color for the ocean and why they didn't consult with them on the choice of blue. The process could be repeated until the child realizes he has to get approval for every damn thing he does. Of course the child's mother would be happy to put it up on her cube wall either way, but at least the manager feels like he deserves a bonus next year. Hmmm a little hostility I think!!!

Finally I read about iPod thefts on the T and thought a lot about it. I could go and change my headphones so people wouldn't know that I had an iPod. I was originally going to say the robber would have to pry it out of my cold dead hands, but somebody used that quote in the NY Times article. However this is my stance, if somebody tries to take my iPod I am going to put up a hell of a fight and will run to the end of the Earth chasing after the low life who managed to take it from me. I am beginning to think the right to bear arms isn't such a bad idea after all. Does anybody know the number for the local NRA office?

Photos from Jennie and Brett's Finale Shower

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Three Dreams

Three strange dreams last night. I think all of the shows on television may be impacting them.

First I dreamed Jennifer and I were driving in the car and this guy in a truck in front of us started shooting at us. We slowed down and he continued to aim at us so he was obviously trying to hit us.

The second dream involved me in a detective role and I was working with a psychic to solve a crime. A woman had been hurt and we finally proved it was these two brothers. In the meantime the brothers were trying to track me down and they nearly found me before the psychic solved the crime. They were comically stupid and I was not only able to subdue the really stupid one, but I also avoided gun fire from the other brother. My dream even had the slow motion bullet action of similar to the thing in the Matrix.

My final dream was the strangest of all three. It involved BoCaNO. We were all rich, but being blackmailed by a bad guy. He would say he was going to do something bad to one of our relatives if we didn't give him a million dollars. Thankfully we were smart and figured out what the blackmailers were going to do and went on missions to stop the bad guys. On one such mission they were going to steal a diamond from somebody so for some reason we order a Wookie. He came in a crate and we unscrewed it, but right as the last screw was undone these women came in and had t-shirts similar to Hooter's but instead they said Babe's. Anyway Andy became distracted by the women and the Wookie escaped. A couple of us set out to find him and I immediately decided a Wookie would go to McDonalds if he escaped. However when we went there the Wookie wasn't there. So in an effort to catch him we went to a restaurant and made it look like a McDonald's. After setting it up I woke up so I don't know if the Wookie was ever caught.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Vacation Episode Two: The Last Three Days

Yes I know entries of this magnitude are annoying to read mostly because they are long and drawn out, and not due to their content. Either way here I go trudging on through the recollection of the second part of our trip to the South. I believe if you look below I left off late at night in a Holiday off of Route 29 in Charlottesville, VA.

Wednesday (April 20th)
We woke up this morning and decided it was time to make a change in our daily breakfast routine. The past three morning we stopped in at a local coffee shop, proudly not once was it a Starbucks, this was a vacation void of any of our typical chain eating establishments. Jennifer was also having withdrawals from her high fiber cereals, so we went to the supermarket and found the cereal aisle. I wondered around looking for something to fill me up in the store, but was unable to find anything. At that point I decided to go back to my roots and eat a healthy Burger King breakfast. We checked out at the supermarket where Jennifer was berated by the clerk for not knowing how to use her credit card in the Kroger debit card system. Once in the car we drove over to Burger King where I order a couple Crossanwiches and we jumped on I64 West towards Sky Line Drive and the Shenandoah National Park. For the second day in a row we hopped right back on the road where we had left off the day before. Sky Line was very similar to the Blue Ridge Parkway, if it wasn't for the National Park toll and the signs saying it was a different road I wouldn't have known the difference. It was still the two lane road we had come to enjoy so much with scenic overlooks, campgrounds and picnic areas every five miles or so. We even passed the same stone mile markers which came to be an important navigational aid. On this day we had planned at least one major stop with hiking and had plenty of time to make periodic rest stops for picture taking, snacking or napping. At mile 54 we pulled into the parking area of the Bear Face trail. It was described in the guide as a moderate hike with a scramble up some rocks for a panoramic 360 degree view of the mountains. Jennifer thought it was right up my alley. After twenty minutes of easy hiking we were at the top and enjoying an amazing view of the Shenandoah National Park. A man at the top introduced himself as a geologist and began to explain the history of the rock we were standing on. It was amazing to hear how old the mountains were and to learn that the little bubble like formations on the rock were from gases bubbling up through the volcanic rock. He left us alone on top of the mountain and we sat up there enjoying the view and thinking how perfect our vacation was going. Once our moment of reflection was over we climbed back down to the car and continued the trek northward. We made an occasional stop to see the sights and nibble on some food and before long came to the end of the Sky Line Drive. We stopped at the Shenandoah sign and chatted it up with an older Canadian couple. We took turns taking pictures in front of the giant sign before saying adieu and dropping back into the hustle and bustle of modern society. Once back on the intersate we were quickly on our way towards Washington DC before turning northward towards Aberdeen. The drive to Aberdeen should have taken a couple hours but due to traffic took over three hours. We found our Red Roof Inn and then went out for a true american dinner at Outback Steakhouse. I hadn't been there in years and afterwards wasn't too glad to be back. I don't think the food there could be worse for you.

Thursday (April 21st)
After getting a slow start for a change we drove up to Philadelphia. Since it was so late there wasn't much traffic and we easily found our way to TJ's house for parking. It was then time to go to the art museum to pick up the tickets for the Dali exhibit. Since the tickets came with museum passes we walked around the different galleries. For lunch we decided to walk into town and get a bite to eat. We really had no idea where we were going and just kept walking until we found a great little pizza place. Afterwards we continued to wander the streets of Philadelphia. Just as it was about time to turn back Jennifer spied a market out of the corner of her eye. So we checked it out and found a huge indoor farmer's market. It was like Quincy Market, but about six times the size. Unfortunately we had already eaten, but did grab a couple cookies before walking back to the museum. The Dali exhibit was fantastic. There were over 18 rooms of paintings and it was well worth the price of the tickets. Once we got through the exhibit I could barely stand up due to sore legs and complete exhaustion, so we sat along the water and waited for TJ's call. After he called we walked back to his place and he made us a delicious dinner. It was so nice to spending an evening in a home and just chat with somebody I actually know.

Friday (April 22nd)
In the morning we all had breakfast together before Jennifer and I went to IKEA. I had never been there before, but I have to say IKEA is overwhelming. We walked around aimlessly for a good half an hour before understanding the lay out of the store. We bought all sorts of things for the house from rugs to lamps to a chalkboard for the front hallway. We loaded up the car and continued the trip northward to Connecticut. Of course the horrible state of New Jersey stood in our way. I think overall we spent more time in NJ then any other pass through state, they need to limit the number of cars there or something. Eventually we made it to Jennifer's parents house in Connecticut. We had another dinner at home which once again was fantastic.

Saturday (April 23rd)
I didn't sleep very well again and was up and about by 7 in the morning. We had a relaxing morning with the family. Late in the morning I went to the store with Jennifer's dad to pick up a kayak. In the afternoon we went out for lunch and searched for a couple odds and ends for the apartment. Around four o'clock we got into the car for the final leg of our trip. I was quite exhausted at this time, but we made it home safely. It was so good to be home and back in our apartment.

It was such an amazing week. We saw so many beautiful sights and had so much fun together. Only three months until my next vacation. I hope I can make it that long.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

YeeHaw Welcome to the South

You didn't think I was really going to wait until I got back to Somerville before updating my LJ did you. The way my luck was going with wireless internet connections its a wonder I got this far. Now for a quick update and maybe a few pictures if you are lucky and I can stay up that long.

Saturday (April 16th)
Woke up bright and early and drove south. We made great time and were in DC after only about eight hours. Since we were trying to be spontaneous we hadn't booked a hotel so using google text messaging and good old cold calling we managed to find a place about ten miles outside of Chapel Hill, NC. Finally twelve hours after leaving Somerville we were at the hotel. After unloading we rushed out to take in the sites of downtown Chapel Hill. It is a classic college town and reminded me a lot of State College, PA. It was rather deserted, which we found strange. After wandering around for a little while we ate and then retired for the evening.

Sunday (April 17th)
After an early start we decided to go back to Chapel Hill and see what it looked like in the daylight. The weather was fantastic and the town was even more beautiful. The streets were oddly quiet because there were preparations going on for an annual festival called Apple Chill. We grabbed a couple coffees and were back on I-40 driving westward before long. A few hours later we arrived in Asheville, NC. It is a city nestled among the mountains. The downtown area was really cool and small enough that you could walk most of the area in a couple hours. We walked around a bit, ate lunch, had some dessert, booked a room for the next day and just plain relaxed. For our night in Asheville we had booked a cabin at the Log Cabin Motor Court. It was this place where they built about eight different cabins and you get one all to yourselves. Quite different from the Carolina Duke Motor Inn from the night before. In the afternoon we went to the botanical gardens and then to Beaver Lake, a small recreational lake for fishing with a very relaxing area of land around it. I was beat at this point and went right to sleep out in the warm sun. We had dinner back at the cabin before going in to town for a little live music.
Chapel Hill, NC and downtown Asheville, NC
Botanical Gardens and Beaver Lake, Asheville, NC.

Monday (April 18th)
After sleeping in a little it was time to get started on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We found our way up this windy dirt road through the forest to the parkway. It was amazing. Basically picture the Kancamagnus Highway, but almost five hundred miles long. We followed the road for about thirty miles to Mt. Mitchell State Park. We drove to the top of Mt. Mitchell, the tallest point east of the Mississippi. It was chilly at the top and nobody was around except for a couple park rangers. On the way there we had seen a bunch of signs about the road being closed and found out there were some landslides north of where we were and we had to go back to Asheville. So we turned around and drove an hour back to Asheville. Even worse we had to make a two hour detour to meet up with the parkway again above the landslides. 150 miles of interstate later and we were back on the parkway just north of the VA-NC border. The part we were driving on now wasn't as mountainous, but it was still quiet and peaceful. We continued along stopping at overlooks or little sights along the way. I have to say driving down this road was so peaceful and relaxing, it might have been slower than the interstate, but I liked flying up and down mountain passes and around curves without the annoyance of three lanes of traffic. Three hours after getting back on the Parkway we were in Roanoke. Our arrival was very abrupt since we were immediately thrown in to a commercial zone. We found the hotel and once again set out to find the hot spots of Roanoke. Unfortunately we were disappointed to find that yet another southern city was devoid of any people in its major downtown area at night. Luckily Jennifer remembered the name of a place she had seen in the Let's Go USA book and we ate a fantastic dinner of pizza. I couldn't believe how dead the place was, granted it was a Monday night, but at least a couple of places should have been open.

Tuesday (April 19th)
After a horrible nights sleep we made our way back downtown to check out the farmer's market, what we found was three little stands set up one of which was selling fruit and the other two were selling flowers. What a bust? So it was back to the Blue Ridge Parkway for a few more hours of the most scenic road I have ever driven. Once again we stopped along the way and did a little hiking and a little picture taking. According to the books it was the most popular part and I can now understand why. It starts off in farm country and gradually climbs upward until you are weaving around dangerous mountain passes. Truly amazing!!! We completed the parkway in the early afternoon and found ourselves in Charlottesville, home of the one and only Dave Matthews Band. The first thing we did in C-ville was go to the Thomas Jefferson Vineyards. I found it on the internet and figured why not check it out. The wine was delicious and the tasting only cost a dollar each. The wine server was great and filled us in on places to see in town. It was getting hot and humid and even sprinkled a bit before we found our hotel. Once again Priceline had come through and provided us with another decent place to stay for the low price of $45. We weren't in the hotel a half hour before it was time to get back out there and explore the latest southern city. Downtown Charlottesville has a really great feel. There is an area called the mall where there are a bunch of shops, restaurants and cafe's. It is outside and a great place to hang out. We stopped in a bunch of shops and I even had a beer in the bar where Dave Matthews used to work. For dinner I was craving Mexican so we found this awesome place called Mono Loco. The food was phenomenal. It was still early in the evening and we couldn't wait two hours for live music so we decided to come back to the hotel.

Tomorrow will involve driving Sky Line Drive through Shenandoah National Park and after following Route 66 back to DC, we shall turn north for Aberdeen, MD. Lots more to come since the week isn't even half over. Talk to y'all soon.

Friday, April 15, 2005

All Packed and Ready To Go

I just finished packing everything for vacation. It took me a whole ten minutes to figure out what clothes to bring. I am not exactly sure, because it is hard to say what the weather will be like a week in advance, plus we will be in the mountains. It could be a lot colder up there so I need to pack a couple extra layers.

I suppose I am getting ahead of myself though. Jennifer and I are going on a road trip for April vacation. We leave tomorrow morning early and drive all day to Chapel Hill, NC. After checking out Chapel Hill in the morning we will head out for Asheville, NC. Asheville is supposed to be a pretty happening town. On Monday morning we will leave Asheville and begin driving up the Blue Ridge Parkway. The rest of the week is up in the air, although we will end up in Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon for the Salvador Dali exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. On Friday we plan on stopping at IKEA and then visiting Jennifer's parents in Connecticut. Completing the round trip back to Somerville a week later.

It looks to be an exciting week. I will be bringing my laptop on vacation so hopefully I can update the LJ from the road. Talk to you all soon.


Monday, April 11, 2005

Perfect Sunday

All I can really say is WOW!! I think yesterday might have been the most picture perfect day I could possibly have imagined. It began lying in bed listening to Acoustic Sunrise on the radio. We slowly woke up and made our way over to Oh Natural for coffee and pastries. I had an Apple Strudel that was just delicious, my mocha was also very yummy with its hint of cinnamon. After eating, chatting and reading there for about an hour we went back home and packed up the car for a day at the beach. The sun was shining and the car was warm as we left Willow Ave with the sunroof wide open. Forty five minutes later we were in downtown Newburyport ordering lunch at Middle Street Cafe. We took the sandwiches and stowed them away for later. Once at the end of Plum Island I parked my car between two giant dump trucks and we walked out toward the jetty. It was a bit chilly in the wind, but we found a nice spot next to the jetty which was sheltered from the wind. We just sat there in the sun for a while and me being the antsy creature that I am grabbed my new book and started reading. An hour or so later we stopped to eat our lunch. We had also packed some fruit which made the picnic complete. After lunch there was some more reading before we started planning our vacation next week. It was just beautiful out, sunny, warm and muffled waves crashing behind us. We finally walked back to the car and then drove along the river to Amesbury. It was a perfect day for a drive. After briefly stopping at my mom's house we grabbed an ice cream at Hodgies before heading back towards Danvers where we needed to do a little shopping. It was such a picture perfect day and something I am looking forward to in the coming months. Yay for SPRING!!!!

Saturday at Sunday River

Some ski videos:
Mark on Caramba
Keegan on Caramba
Mark on 3-D
Keegan on 3-D
Mark on 3-D

Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Nice Weather

After a rainy weekend it was so nice to enjoy the warm sunny weather outside yesterday. Since it was so nice outside Jennifer and I walked down to Harvard Square. We stopped in a couple shops and then had dinner at Grendel's Den. We made it just in time for happy hour so I decided to try out there steak tips and dips. It good, I only wish I had tried it sooner.

After getting home last night we watched The Office on NBC. Now after seeing the first episode I was dissapointed and didn't think it was going to be very good, but ever since then the episodes have been great. Last night was the funniest so far hopefully this trend of getting better will continue. So be sure to tune in Tuesday nights at 9:30.

What else? Work has been good. I finally started working on some projects and that has kept me pretty busy. I have also learned a bunch of new techonologies, which makes me extremely happy. Of course there have been some annoyances, but overall I am very happy with my decision to leave my old job.

Well everybody enjoy the nice weather. It looks like rain will be coming in tomorrow.


Sunday, April 3, 2005

All Moved In!!!!

Its been almost three days now since we started moving our stuff in and I am happy to say we are all finished. Finished as in we are all unpacked except for two boxes and the house is all put away and in normal working order. On Thursday night we started moving things around 5:30 and within an hour had seven people helping us. Andy came by with his Jeep. Britt, Sara and Vanessa traveled all the way up here from the North End. Melissa came by on her way home from work. Tom and Jeny also came by with their Subaru. Since there were so many people we had nearly all of the stuff done by nine o'clock. All of our helpers dispersed and turned down the offer for free pizza, so Jennifer and I went to Bertucci's. We were so hungry and tired we nearly finished an entire pizza. Due to the progress we had made moving and how it was only two hours until April 1st we decided to stay at the new place. It was a nice surprise since we originally planned to stay on the futon at Jennifer's old apartment.

Due to a lack of curtains and a new situation we didn't sleep well and woke up bright and early. We did a little arranging in the morning and then went over to finish up Jennifer's old apartment. It took us about four hours to empty it, because there was a bunch of stuff that wasn't packed and we also had to clean up. However by 1:30 we had moved everything to Willow Ave and started up towards Amesbury to return the truck. We made it back to Somerville a couple hours later and I was able to renew my parking permit. In Davis Square we grabbed a couple sandwiches and started the unpacking of everything. Starting in opposite sides of the house we slowly made our way through the boxes and furniture and within a few hours we actually had made a lot of progress. By the time we went to bed everything had found a place and we only had about a dozen boxes left to unpack. It was amazing how much we had accomplished. I think it had something to do with the fact that neither of us can stand stuff not in its right place.

Saturday morning was great. We unpacked a little more and deocorated a little more before setting out for a five hour shopping extravaganza. First we went to HomeGoods, I really don't like that store. Afterwards we went to the Burlington Mall and picked up a brand new wine tower from Crate and Barrel. It matches everything perfectly and holds twelve bottles of wine. Lunch at Finagle A Bagel and then off to Target. We bought curtains, curtain rods, baskets, a hamper and eight million other things it seems. I was happy because we got the extension cord and coaxial cables I needed to finish up my electronics projects. After a brief stop at Home Depot for some tiles and another brief stop at a second target and we were on our way home. Once back at home I finished up the entertainment center and left for a while.

Today I made some french toast and puttered around with some of my stuff and also assembled the wine tower. We walked to the store and bought a bunch of groceries and then came home. Which brings us to right now. After this entry I will be attempting my first batch of salsa. If its good I'll be sure to have some at the house warming party later this month or early next month.

Happily settled on Willow Ave,