Saturday, March 31, 2007

Shiny Brass Rail

Lately it has been raining here in the Cities, and as I write this it shows no signs of abating, which is one reason last night was perfect for a 45-minute drive to eat chicken at a shifty hole-in-the-wall bar. So my wife and I went back to the Brass Rail with our friends Jon and Sarah, and yes, it was all I hoped it would be.

When we got there the place was packed, absolutely packed, with patrons, and I was told by one of the waitresses that it would be at least an hour wait for our food. "No problem," I replied. "It's really good chicken."

Jon found us a table and the four of us sat down in the newly renovated bar that we had visited many times before, and we all admired the improvements including a flat-screen LCD tv on the wall which seemed very out of place next to the "Big Game Hunter" arcade machine and Civil War-era barstools caked Civil War-era grease and cigarette residue. All in all, though, the place was looking mighty nice, right down to the bear-themed light bulb covers. A bit of me longed for the old place as it once was, but that bit was promptly quieted by the rest of me that was more than pleased at the thought of eating greasy chicken in a place that was now, hopefully, up to some sort of modern health code standards.

When the lady said it would be an hour wait for our food, she was not kidding. But nor am I when I say the chicken is good. I made it a personal goal to eat everything placed before me, which included a quarter of a chicken, a pile of onion rings, half an order of breaded mushrooms (I split 'em with Jon), and a side of cottage cheese. Man alive, that place is delicious. I still don't know what a "broasted" chicken is, but it sure is tasty. Afterwards we went to Sarah's house and chatted with her super cool parents for a while before watching the SNL "Best of Commercial Parodies" DVD, and though Crystal Gravy and Three-Legged Jeans were nowhere to be found on it, many laughs were had after seeing Tylenol RT, Oops I Crapped My Pants, and Colon Blow.

And for the record, I dig days like this when it's sort of rainy and bleak outside, since it means I can be inside and use the computer or play Wii guilt-free. :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Back in the 'Sota

It was an exhausting but fun weekend, and mega-congrats to my brother Phil and his new wife Wendi. They make a cute couple, and they have a pretty nice apartment too. It was great seeing a good chunk of my extended family over the weekend, and it was also pretty cool to see many of my friends from Lincoln too. A few highlights:

• Driving down with my mom's friend in her spacious Bonneville.
• Loading up on breffist foods at Costco in Des Moines (yeah, I like running errands)
• Amigo's twice (meat nachos both times)
• Taco Inn once (taco, burrito, nachos)
• Great tunage at the reception. Nicely done, Fil!
• My wife and I were the best cake cutters and passer-outers I have seen in quite some time
• The church was really sweet.
• Getting crazy on the dance floor with Weird Al's "Hardware Store"
• Hearing the bride's dad come up and ask "Ok, seriously...what was that?" afterwards
• Playing croquet in my parents' back yard
• Tasty barbecue at the bride's parents' house
• Serving breffist to about 25 relatives on Sunday morning
• Going to my brother Tom's church on Sunday. That place is always cool, man.
• Checking for Wii Play at Gamers. They didn't have it, but it would only be $16 if they did. Yuss!
• Playing 500 with my wife, my dad, and my mom's friend.
• Seeing my cousin Eddy for the first time in a while. You're doing great, man!
• Taking far too many photos of pretty much everything during the entire weekend.
• Sitting in, and revving, my brother-in-law's race car (and, as a side note, anticipating the race track this summer!)
• Just spending lots of time with relatives and friends in general. That's always really nice.

Ok, off to bed for me. It's probably far too late anyway. :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

(In)vernal Equinox?

Ok, so I couldn't really think of a clever title for this entry, but do I get points for trying?

Probably not.

Anyway, this particular equinox is, in fact, the opposite of infernal, in that it marks the first day of Spring and the day that the sun will begin spending more time on this side of the equator. In other words, the days are, after roughly three months of lengthening, finally going to be longer than the nights. Excellent.

When I was in elementary school, my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Buss, said that, due to the gravitational forces of the earth coming to a state of harmony on this day, an egg could be balanced perfectly on its small end. After a few years of educamation in the Lincoln Public School system, I learned that she was full of, as she would have put it, "horse patootey." Still, it was fun to spend the afternoon attempting to balance eggs, and I suspect Mrs. Buss did it just to keep us busy for a while (and it sure did work). One kid, Jeremy Peterson, told us of how he once balanced over 20 eggs on their small end on the vernal equinox, only to have them all knocked down by his clumsy and unwitting maternal unit. I still don't believe him, though.

Tomorrow we head to Lincoln again for my little brother's wedding, though I suppose he's not really my "little" brother anymore even though he is younger than me. Those of you with younger siblings know what I'm talking about, though. It's gonna be a good time, since anytime my family (especially the extended version, with plenty of aunts'n'uncles, not to mention cousins) gets together it's a good time. My predictions: A high chance of card playing, giving way to UFOs and unicycling. Welding and auto maintenance may follow, as well as copious use of Macintosh laptops. :)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hit my snooze alarm for the 27th time

Well, not exactly, but I did sleep in a bit more than usual today. It is, after all, the 20th anniversary of my 7th birthday, as my uncle Tony put it. And as such, I thought I'd post a photo he sent me of said birthday:

That's me on the left and my gramma on the right, and I believe we are in my grandparents' house back in Waite Park. And thanks to the magic of Photoshop and the ingenuity of Tony, well...just count the candles. :)

Nothing cool really happens when you hit the big two-seven, but it does give me a certain satisfaction knowing my age is the same as Weird Al's favorite number. Plans for the day include sleeping in (check), pizza, a movie, a walk (check), some Nintendo (my wife's parents got me 2,000 Wii points, half of which I used to snag Super Mario 64), some Star Trek (check), and general lounging around as well. Not bad for a birfday, I say. It was my friend Nick's birthday yesterday, so Nick, if you read this, I hope the show went well and I'm pretty excited for the new record.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Perfect Timing

So the heat went out in our apartment last week. Bummer, right? That's what I thought, until I realized it's almost spring and it's nearly as warm outside as it is inside. For a couple nights things were mighty chilly, but wow, it's downright balmy in here now even though the furnace remains temporarily out of service (much like the Frog and the Bear, as described by Doctor Teeth in The Muppet Movie). If this had happened one week earlier I would be wearing thermal socks and a few layers of snow pants as I type this, instead of going barefoot with PJ pants.

(little-known fact: the aforementioned film was the first VHS movie my family owned. My parents surprised the us all with a VCR at Christmas in the late 80's, and for a couple months the only thing we used it for was watching The Muppet Movie. Good times, folks. Good times indeed.)

Speaking, or writing, as the case may be, of blasts from the past, I have been listening to DC Talk's Jesus Freak album tonight, and as is often the case with these sort of things, I forgot how cool it is. I'm no music critic, but I can tell you it's one fine album. Such is the magic of iTunes, eh? Sifting through a 30-gig library may take some of the tactile, and therefore personal, experience out of looking for some good toonz, but as far as I'm concerned the benefits outweigh the, uh, un-benefits. :)

(oh, and as a side note, I have no idea why the comments on my blog aren't working. Hopefully the Blogger people can fix it soon...)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Macaroni and Ice Cream

At the risk of indulging in shameless self-glorification, I invite you to listen to the following:

On Nintendo and Macaroni

It's really nothing special, just a phone call I made to a podcast I listen to. I just think it's cool they took my call. :)

I went to see 300 this weekend, but in the tradition of my ancestors, I was not content to merely viewit. I had to experience it, so as to be able to make phone calls afterwards to let people know just what had happened. It's this same logic, presumably, that caused my brother to get rid of his house-shaking stereo system in favor of a foundations-of-the-earth-shaking stereo system just so, when people come over, they would remark at how awesome it is. And believe me, it is. :)

So for two hours last night my five senses were pounded into submission by a 12,000 watt audio system and a movie screen bigger than Rhode Island. It certainly was an experience, I must say, that I will remember for a while if for no other reason than the sheer spectacle of it all. The movie, like the characters and events it portrays, was the definition of larger than life, excessive, your cliché. It was awesome.

I got my hands on some herbal tea this afternoon too, because, as David Saint Hubbins once said, "why not?" It's some stuff called Good Earth sweet and spicy tea that I have been drinking at work for the past month, and I finally found a box at a local grocery store. It's pretty tasty stuff, though like most teas, the strange aftertaste takes some getting used to.

And a few other tidbits to close things out. See if you can figure out the meaning to all this...

• I watched V for Vendetta on Friday and Hotel Rwanda on Saturday.
• I had Macaroni mixed with Bacon Bits and green peas for lunch this afternoon.
• I had a delicious gyro for dinner yesterday, preceded, and followed, by drinks from two local coffee shops.
• My friend Sarah went with me to Micro Center yesterday where I got a 2-gig USB drive for $15.99.

Oh, and on a final note...daylight savings time rules!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Economizing Photons

Daylight Savings Time happens on March 11, exactly one week from 2am this morning which, I suppose, would make it slightly less than one week from right now. It's like going to the store and finding out that the box of Macaroni you were going to get has undergone a price reduction, or discovering a dollar wadded up in an old pair of jeans, or having an afternoon meeting cancelled. Only this event keeps going for about six months, and gets better each day for about half of those. It's really cool getting an additional hour of daylight, even though it means my commute to work will be slightly darker in the morning, but only for a little while, as the days continue to get progressively longer until (gasp!) the end of June. Sweet!

I've had somewhat of a stuffy head this weekend, but in a strange departure from colds of yesteryear, it has only affected my sinuses. No sore throat, no lingering cough, no fits of raised or lowered body temperatures...just a regular ol' stuffy head. The prescription? Lots of O to the J, lots of H2 to the 0, and no shortage of Nectar of Conservative. I'm actually feeling a lot better, and hoping tomorrow will bring clear skies and sinuses. Not bad, says I.

And Beth, if you read this, thanks again for the use of your 2nd Gen iPod. It's still going strong, despite the flaky battery. I was without it this afternoon, and it was sorely missed, hence its current state of resyncing and recharging.

  • Thanks J and S for coming over last night. I'm still full from the pizza!
  • The soundtrack to The 7th Guest continues to be one of the CDs I would require if I were stranded on a desert island and could only have three albums.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Snowy Lasagna

Ok, so this is another post about a recipe. My wife's friend gave us an incredibly delicious lasagna recipe when we got married, and we have made it a few times since, only to be amazed at its tastiness with each subsequent constructing. It's meatless, too, which is a little weird for me, but it sure is good. I'll try to post the actual cooking instructions soon, but I might forget (and if I do, go ahead and remind me).

It snowed a ton over the past two days. Several tons, in fact--enough that a host of schools here in the Metro area are closed, which, as any longtime Minnesota resident will tell you, takes some doing. When I was a kid, I remember anticipating snow days in the exact opposite of the way I anticipated my morning paper route on weekends. More often than not, my hopes of a day off were dashed in a flurry of, well, flurries, as that's usually what a heavy Nebraska snow forecast resulted in. But every now and then Phil Schoo, the superintendent whose name I only knew because it was spoken in disgust by parents on snow days and students on almost snow days, would relent and cancel the public education machine for one blissful day which would ultimately, though I am now slightly ashamed to admit it, be spent wasting the entire thing.

Anyway, as I write this the street lamps are dimly illuminating a silent shower of crystals gently falling from the heavens which, more than anything I can think of, illustrate the concept of strength in numbers. Gulliver himself has been subdued by a thick blanket of tiny white specks, and though I'm sure there's some profound lesson to be learned therein, the truth is I'm too sleepy to think of it. :)

And as a side note, we now have a huge pan of leftover lasagna to tide us over until the streets are cleared. Hallelujah!