Wednesday, June 27, 2007

New Apartment Tour!

Ok, it only took three months (or so), but here it is. We finally got enough stuff unpacked, put away and cleaned up that I felt OK putting it on video. One of the side effects of having family come to visit is the apartment gets cleaned!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Mom's Birthday

Ok, so I realize that my mom's birthday is in March, and it is now June, but sometimes it just takes a little while for my family to get its shit together. In any case, we got together this weekend for Mom's birthday dinner. My sister Jackie and her husband came down from Boston (had a "fun" trip on AirTran - odd, Chrissy and I have had nothing but good experiences with them), and we picked them up from BWI on Saturday. We got to show them the new place (I think they liked it). My other sister Gail came up with her family from southern MD and met us at Mom's. My aunt Yoko (Mom's sister) flew up from Alabama on Saturday, and her daughter Sandra picked her up. That part was a surprise. We had originally planned on making the whole thing a surprise, but it became too complicated to organize without coming out and asking Mom direct questions, so we just told her what we were doing. In the course of planning, I realized that no one had mentioned Yoko & Sandy (& Sandy's b/f Paul) being there, so we decided to keep that part a secret.

We went to an Annapolis restaurant called Viet-Thai Paradise. It was incredible! The manager, Lyon (pronounced "Leon"), was so helpful getting everything set up with us and planning the menu. Yoko & Sandy showed up about 15 minutes early and brought balloons for Mom's chair. We started with a champagne toast of Chateau Ste Michelle. For the appetizer, they brought out four Combination appetizer trays consisting of Chicken Satay, Lemongrass Beef Skewers, Spring Rolls, Coconut Shrimp and Garden Salad. For entrees, we had Pad Thai (Mom's favorite dish there), Special Fried Rice (with shrimp, pork & crabmeat), Chicken Curry and Bangkok Ka Prow (sautéed pork & veggies). There were a few 33's (a Vietnamese beer), some Toasted Head Viognier and, of course, a few rounds of sake. Kampai! (A Japanese toast - pronounced 'cahm-pie'). Most everyone had dessert there, but a few of us went to Maggie Moo's after! I had a hot fudge sundae (better batter ice cream with Reese's Cups and Kit Kats mixed in) in a waffle bowl. Uuummmmmy!!

If you think life couldn't get any better, think again. On Sunday, we went to Gail & John's place down in St. Mary's. We hung out & chatted. Mom made us gyoza (Japanese pork dumplings). We went out on the water on their little (12' or so) power boat. We had some Grolsch and some Ferrari Carano Merlot. My bro-in-law John, who is a chef, made some ribeye steaks and shrimp stuffed with crab imperial. We finished off the day with cigars from the new shop (Titan Cigar) that opened up across the street from the apartment. Add to all that a loving family and Gail's two adorable puppies (Lady & Penny), and you got a hell of a weekend!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The First Saturday in May

Sunday night, Chrissy and I attended a screening at SilverDocs, a documentary film festival at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring. The movie was The First Saturday in May, and it is about the Kentucky Derby (which, coincidentally, takes place the first Saturday of every May). We had seen the movie at the Barbaro gathering at Delaware Park [link] back in April, but much of it we saw on the Jumbotron out in the middle of the track and it wasn't too easy to see it or hear it from that far out. It is a much different experience seeing it in a theater. It is a wonderful movie, even if you're not an avid horse race fan.

The Hennigan Brothers (the filmmakers, whom we met both at DE Park and at AFI) stated that their ideal purpose in making this movie was to make horse racing cool again. Back in the day (sorry Roon), the track was the place to be. Thousands upon thousands of people came out to see Seabiscuit take on War Admiral. Unfortunately, through OTBs, internet gambling sites and Hollywood stereotypes, the track has lost some of its luster. Will you see some interesting and, yes, sad characters if you go to the race track? Naturally. Is it the kind of seedy dump that you see in some movies, like Let It Ride? Of course not. Don't get me wrong, I love that movie, and as they say, comedy isn't funny if there isn't a grain of truth in it. But I am able to distinguish the difference between a character in a movie and a real live person, an ability I'm sad to say many people don't possess.

But I digress. The movie follows six hopefuls on their road to the Kentucky Derby. Some of them made it, some of them didn't. What made it interesting was the personalities behind the effort, both the horses and the trainers. One of the horses they followed was the 2006 Derby winner Barbaro. Naturally, they couldn't just ignore what happened after the Derby, but I thought they handled it very well. They didn't show his actual breakdown at the Preakness. They didn't dwell on his death. They did mention his little brother Nicanor, who was born March 15, 2006.

In any case, keep an eye out for this film. It's definitely worth a look. I don't know if they're going to show it anywhere at any other festivals or if it will get picked up for wide release (I doubt it). They are planning on releasing it eventually on DVD. Wake the children, phone the neighbors, tell a friend.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Viking Kittens

Viking Kittens!! God, I love the internet! A few thoughts. 1) Who the hell thinks of these things? Some dude named Joel Veitch, I guess. 2) I wonder if he used pictures of his own kitties. 3) Only the insane, pharmaceutically-fueled genius of Robert Plant & Jimmy Page could come up with a kick-ass rock song about Vikings on the high seas and make it cool. 3a) The same genius is the only way they could work the term "threshing oar" into a rock song. Love it! 4) What made Joel hear this song and think, "Hmmm... Kitties..."? 5) I'm far too easily amused.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The List

Hmmm... I may have to bump Jessica Alba up on my List. In case you never watched Friends, when Ross & Rachel were originally together, it came up that they each had a List of five celebrities. These were people with whom they were allowed to sleep, consequence-free, in the unlikely event that they ever had the opportunity. My List has been fairly stable for quite a while (in no particular order): Jennifer Lopez, Salma Hayek, Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Actually, J-Lo, Salma & Angelina have been pretty steady at the top, Halle & Catherine have sometimes rotated around in & out of the Top 5, depending on what they're doing and who my flavor o' the month is. For instance, when Ashley Judd was in Double Jeopardy, she probably bumped out CZ-J for a time. When Alias was in its final season, Jennifer Garner may have risen to the Top 5. Given this latest development, should it turn out to be true and not just a publicity stunt for FF2:RotSS, she may move up in the world. Ok, so she's far too young (though not 12, like Chrissy thinks) and not a great actress (but not terrible). I'm a guy. Sue me.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Big Love

Season 2 premiere was on last night. Man, I forgot how good this show is. For those not in the know, Big Love is about a Utah businessman Bill Henrickson, played by Bill Paxton, who is a fundamentalist Mormon. As such, he believes that family (and by extension, plural marriage) is the key to heaven. He has three wives, Barbara, Nikki and Margie, played by Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny, and Ginnifer Goodwin respectively. Together, they have several children (six? seven?) and live in three houses that share one backyard.

For the most part, the Henricksons are a fairly normal family (apart from the 3 wives/mothers). They worry about money. They wonder if their family can stick together when they're hit with hard times. They worry about what the neighbors think (though perhaps not for the same reasons many others do). Individually, he has fairly normal relationships with his wives. Except for the fact that he rotates nights between houses and between beds. And, of course, the dynamic of the hierarchy between 1st, 2nd and 3rd wives is always interesting.

If you have HBO, enjoy good writing and subtle performances, check it out. It's worth a look.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Hogging Bandwidth

Ok. I did a little more investigating on this bandwidth thing. One of the things that kept being mentioned in this work memo was digital pictures. I was checking my email last night when I got home and noticed two emails I had gotten earlier (Yahoo shows the size of the email files). One was a 4-line response from a comment I had left on a friend's blog. That was 3k. The next email was from Chrissy's cousin Denise, who just got married. It had ten digital pictures from the wedding attached. Ten. That's it. That email was 4,631k. Now, multiply that by all the attorneys, secretaries and other support staff in our firm. Add to that music files, streaming audio, movie clips etc. That's a big difference in bandwidth. I guess I can see their point... Dammit.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Well, I got a pop-up on my computer the other day at work. I contacted our Help department and was told that it was a new program being tested. The gist of it was that it looked like they were going to start limiting internet usage on the work computers. Needless to day, I got a little miffed. I got the actual memo from IT today, though, and it's a little more reasonable. Basically, people have been hogging bandwidth by downloading pictures, music and videos or by listening to streaming music and watching videos. So we all have to play nice or no one gets to play at all. That I can live with. Once I read that, I felt bad. I have been listening to streaming radio and do watch the occasional movie trailer. Eeee.