Archive for October, 2005

Trick Or Treat!

I’m very easily excited, so here I am, writing in my blog about the little kiddies who come to my house begging for candy while looking adorable. So, here, I’ve decided to post a running list of my trick-or-treat-ers. At least until I get bored with it.

But first, you should know that last year at my appartment, I got approximately 170 children. We live in a townhouse. The set-up here is so awesome for Halloween that if I had kids and lived within 2 miles of this place, I’d probably bring them here. It’s well lit, all the doors are right next to each other, and there are tons of families and exciteable people like me giving out candy.

I’m not the most awesome candy-giver out there. We get far too many kids to be buying the full-sized candy bars. But I do have a nice variety and I let any kid who’s under the aproximate age of 8 or 9 pick which one they want. (Beyond that, I figure they might make a grab for everything in the bowl.) This year’s candy selection is:

  • Snickers
  • Peanut M&Ms
  • Butterfinger
  • Almond Joy
  • Milky Way
  • Tootsie Roll Pops (in reserve)
  • Mini chocolate bars (in reserve)
  • Smarties (for the kids that come after I get past 150 kids – at this point, I’ll probably start getting bored and turn out the light)

So now, for the running list of kids!

  • a purple pirate and a very young bear
  • Batman
  • Dracula and a lady bug
  • a sparkly witch, a vampiress, and a nurse
  • two cats, a witch, and the littlest giraffe I’ve ever seen
  • a whole pack of kids including ninjas, witches, gypsies, and masked theves! (Note to self, stop trusting kids under the age of 8-9 – a 6-year-old just ripped me off! Good thing 6-year-old hands are too little to grab more than three…)
  • two witches and a spider princess (??)
  • bride and groom ghosts (My favorite so far)
  • a devil maiden, a princess, and a cowgirl
  • a 3-foot tall muscle-man and his older brother with some sort of ghoul mask
  • a skeleton
  • the scream
  • a S.W.A.T. team member and his ghoulish brother
  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • an astronaut and a princess
  • Darth Vadar
  • a cowgirl
  • a not-so-teenage mutant ninja turtle (unless 3 is considered teenaged now…)
  • the scream (complete with working blood effect!) and Freddy Krueger Jason (I think… I’m not a big watcher of scary movies… thanks to Tara for the correct movie guy)
  • a princess all pretty in pink
  • another Darth Vadar
  • another mistress-devil and a dead girl

So much for live-blogging. It’s time to make dinner, and I can’t do three things at once!

Update: At 8:00 PM, when I got bored with handing out candy, the approximate number of children was at 130. I gave the last two kids that came by 5 tootsie-pops each.

What you should know, is that throughout this, I’ve had a grin plastered on my face like you would not believe. I love Halloween!

October 31st, 2005 • 6:36 pm • dinane • Posted in Life4 Comments »

OMG WTF BBQ

Saturday was a very relaxing day. Most of the daylight hours were spent sitting on the sofa doing not much of anything. I’ve become recently addicted to Sudoku – this numbers game that has been showing up all over the place. I’m no master yet, but I like it. So I was playing that while Mike was shredding away at SSX-4, a fabulous game, if I do say so, and I do.

Time flew by, and it was approaching the time of departure. I had to run out to get something, so I grabbed my purse, slipped on my sandals, and opened the front door. I was promptly hit in the face with blowing snow. That’s right, snow. In October. WTF? Close door. Slip off sandals. Get socks. Get coat. Zip up boots. Apply gloves. Apply hat. Outside.

I got back in just in time to watch Mike beat the crap out of yet another level of SSX, and he did that just in time for us to get ready to leave. We got ready for winter, and headed for my car. Much driving ensued, complete with traffic enviable for a weekday morning.

We arrived just a few minutes late, but we were among the first guests. Our friends were celebrating their first house and Halloween, at the same time! How can you go wrong with that? We got the tour, met the kittens, and were shown the back porch, complete with grill, where today’s barbeque would be happening. That’s right, I said barbeque. You should recall that it was snowing.

More guests arrived as happy conversation, spiked apple cider, and Mario Party were dispersed throughout the house. Neither Mike nor I were costumed, but there were some fabulous costumes in attendance, including, but not limited to, a pirate (our lovely hostess), a school girl, a fuzzy cat (she loved all creatures! and scared the crap out of the cats), and a devilish Liberace. Another guest was wearing all of his clothing inside out, complete with exterior boxers – the world was wearing him. Our host, who happens to be the subject of the webcomic Life of Fred, which happens to be drawn by our lovely hostess (and which you should definitely be reading), was wearing a specially made tee-shirt, which was grey, and pictured a pumpkin, which pictured the comicified Fred, who was wearing a tee-shirt, which was grey, and pictured a pumpkin, which pictured the comicified Fred, who was wearing a tee-shirt, which was grey, and pictured a pumpkin, which pictured the comicified Fred, who was wearing a tee-shirt…

Our poor host… turns out he can’t cook. Or at least, he can’t barbeque in the snow. Of course, that’s not really fair, the snow being thrown in there. I went out to help him bring in a batch of hamburgers and hotdogs. One hamburger fell through the grate to meet up with its partner who he had dropped through earlier. Meanwhile, three of the hotdogs were on fire. One of them was successfully put out, but the other two had to be thrown onto the snowy pavement to be extinguished. Ahh… carbon! Meanwhile, our hostess had made some spectacular potato salad, and since I don’t eat hotdogs or hamburgers anyway, I was quite excited by the potatoey-mayonasey-cucumbery-goodness. Plus there were cupcakes.

After the epic Mario Party game was over, the Game Cube was unplugged in favor of a super-slim PS2. (When geeks get together, technology cannot be far behind.) The PS2 was brought along with a couple different versions of Karaoke Revolution, a game which I had only heard of in passing. Let me just say, it is the most awesome game in the world, and I now require it.

Sarah, the owner of the afore mentioned game, and her duet partner Laura, our lovely hostess, swept up the competition in the first round, beating the rest of us into submission. My partner Randy and I (we named ourselves Sparkles and Glitter) came in second, but not really a close second… we were all trounced.

In the second round, my new partner Tara (who gave herself the matching name of Bubbles) and I got four songs in a row that we did not know at all. We were a disaster. We failed. But it wasn’t our fault! The software was out to get us! Mike (who happens to be nearly tone-deaf) and his partner (who was on the losingest team in the first round) nearly won that competition, to everyone’s surprise. It was amazing.

We realized that it was getting late and we had to be up early in the morning, so we took off for home. Luckily, the snow and traffic had subsided, so we got home in good time. I had a lot of fun playing with and a really wonderful time talking with people that I don’t often get to see in person any more. When blogs become the primary form of communication between people, you know your life is surreal.

October 31st, 2005 • 12:25 pm • dinane • Posted in Life2 Comments »

+/- Faith in Humanity

I just got back from the bathroom where I saw a post-it note on the mirror as I was washing my hands. It read something like this:

Found Money: If you think you lost money here, call extension xxxxx, and tell me how much it is that you think you lost.

I was suddenly and happily impressed by the honesty. On my way back to my desk, I stopped by Matt’s cube and told him about it. I said that my faith in humanity had increased by 10%. He made some kind of crack about how little that must be, and then thought for a second. “Twenty is probably a safe bet.”

My faith in humanity just dropped by 10%. And note that 10% up is a smaller amount than 10% down.

Good to know I can count on Matt for bringing me back down to Earth.

October 28th, 2005 • 3:13 pm • dinane • Posted in LifeNo Comments »

Rambletron

So, I’m sitting here at work, listening to my iPod play Creed, and desperately trying to get my build to… well… build.

Oops, the iPod switched over to the Rusty Pipes.

No one would ever claim I’m not eclectic in my taste of music. I even admitted out loud yesterday – or maybe the day before – that I have a soft spot for Johnny Cash. And at the other end of the spectrum of music I don’t technically like but can’t stop listening to, you’d find The Black Eyed Peas. I can’t stand their music, but I listen to it anyway, and practically have to hold myself down to keep from dancing. They have magical powers, I’m convinced.

I’ve always wanted to believe in magic. I feel like magic should make my build build. I shouldn’t have to tweak stupid crap to get the damn thing to function.

Hey, cool! It’s working now!

Magic? Who knows!

Okay, probably not. Probably it’s the work I did to fix it.

While I do wish magic was real, I have problems with watching magic shows. I get nervous for the person getting “cut in half” or for the magician even. Sometimes, when he guesses the playing card wrong (usually on purpose in order to set up a bigger trick), I just feel bad for the guy. It’s worse for the hypnotists. I feel so bad for the volunteers.

Mike’s sister Kate had the pleasure of being a volunteer for such a thing recently. I am both sad and happy that I missed it. If I were there, I think I might have gotten so nervous for her that I would have had to leave the room.

It’s just like sit-coms.

Now the iPod has chosen Jeff Buckley.

I don’t watch situation comedies at all. I can’t take the stress. It’s the situations they get into, those poor people on TV. They lie, but badly, they come up with poorly planned schemes, they try their best only to fail yet again… and on, and on… It makes me so tremendously nervous!

Mike was watching a classic episode of Seinfeld last night. It was too early for me to leave for choir practice, but I left anyway. I couldn’t take it.

I went for a drive, just for about ten minutes or so. I drove past church, and went up a side street somewhere after the high school. I have no idea where I was, but I memorized my turns and backtracked to the main road successfully. I was even a couple minutes early for practice.

Jeff Buckley just screamed in my ears, “back in New York City!” My family used to go into NYC quite often when I was growing up. There was a period of time where my dad had frequent business meetings in the city, and my mom, sister, and I would tag along and go to museums and shows. We stayed in the Sheraton hotel near Times Square because Sheraton used to be owned by the same company that owned my dad’s company. That was kind of neat.

I remember when we went to see Cats. It was the only disappointment I ever had in NYC.

Now I’ve got one of the Chants d’Auvergne playing in my ears. It was short. Now I hear Fiona Apple.

I went to see Fiona Apple back in the day. I went with a couple of my roommates and Mike, between when we were dating. That’s probably a whole other story for a whole other day. That was special.

I’ve been pretty lucky to see a lot of concerts in my life. Not like a huge number or anything, but quite a few. I’ve seen Fiona Apple, Dave Matthews Band (x2), Ben Folds (sans Five; x4), Billy Joel, Bare Naked Ladies (x2), Jason Mraz, Guster, Dido, Rufus Wainwright, Neil Diamond, and the Beach Boys. Plus all of the “Classical” concerts over the years. I feel like there were even more than that…

Now we’ve got a Mozart aria in my ears.

When I was in my classical voice training, I did this piece. I don’t think I performed it though, just used it for practicing. I like singing Mozart. I even like singing in German, even though I don’t speak it.

I’ll close the entry listening to Tori Amos. I love her.

October 28th, 2005 • 2:14 pm • dinane • Posted in Uncategorizable1 Comment »

The Weather Outside is Frightful

Well, it’s official. Winter has begun.

There was frost on my car this morning. I had to sit and wait for my car to defrost. No, I did not scrape the windshield. I was not mentally prepared for such an activity, so I let the car’s heat melt away the thin layer of crystallized water while I nibbled on my breakfast. I suppose that I did that in defiance of the cold.

For some reason I cannot explain, I decided to wear a yellow short sleeved shirt today. This turned out to be somewhat foolish, though my fleece jacket did keep me warm. I’m not one to re-wardrobe myself, so I’ll just consider it additional defiance.

To add to that, the sun was also mocking me. It was just barely risen, so when I came over the crest of the first hill, I reached for my sunglasses. After that first hill, the sun didn’t get high enough to be seen over the tree line. But I kept those sunglasses on. In defiance!

I suppose I can take some solace in the fact that daylight savings time is either ending or beginning (I have no real idea) this weekend, so the sun will be up “earlier.” Of course, I generally think that daylight savings time is retarded. What’s the point, really? Is it because people want an extra hour of sleep in the beginning of winter? But that can’t be it, because people who work nights have to work an extra hour this weekend. People always say it’s for the farmers, but farmers will laugh at that. They could care less what time a clock says when they wake up. They wake up with the sun.

So, why do we have to bother with daylight savings?

I just did myself some googling, and found this lovely website. It tells me that I am using the incorrect grammar! I’ll have to fix that from here on out. Daylight saving time. Daylight saving time. Daylight saving time. Hopefully that will drill it into my head.

I also learned a bunch of other things about daylight saving time. Like, for example, I learned that Europe has something similar, but they call it “summer time.” I think that is much less offensive sounding, as really, I’m not saving anything sunlight. I’m indoors all day anyway. I also learned that in 1999, the country of Jordan decided to adopt summer time year round. That is hilarious.

I also was reminded of the fact that the US will be changing the week for springing forward and falling back as of 2007. I’m sure that will cause a multitude of headaches for all devices that handle the transition automatically. Screw Y2K, the DST Change will suck more. Build your underground technology free bunkers now!

Well, this entry is off to a frightening start. I mean end. I mean goodbye.

October 27th, 2005 • 8:31 am • dinane • Posted in Life, WeatherNo Comments »

Fun With Strangers

I got back on the poker bandwagon this week. Poker Room has updated their software, and things are organized in a much saner format now. I like it. This organization brought to light what may or may not be a new type of sit ‘n’ go: heads-up.

I think pretty highly of my ability to crush the $5 Turbo SNGs. If I can get to the final two with more than a couple big blinds, I have a pretty good chance of winning the thing. I did a foolish thing a while ago and tried the $10 SNGs. I got lucky on the first one I played, and thought I was good enough to play them. I then sunk too much money in to trying to repeat. I dropped back to $5. I have more to learn.

Anyway, seeing as I think so highly of my heads-up play during the turbos, I figured I’d try the heads-up tournaments themselves! I really liked the structure (very deep stacks, blinds go up at a reasonable speed), so I played some more. My first day of playing these little buggers (at $5 plus $.50 juice), I won 4 out of 5. Sweet! The next day, I played a few more and won 2 out of 3. I thought I was sensing a trend.

Last night, I won 1 out of 4.

Woops!

My record at $5 heads-up SNGs is now at 7 and 5. Math tells me that, factoring in the losses to the juice, I’m still up $4. Math is awesome. But Math does not make me feel better after losing three of these buggers yesterday.

So I’ve been going over what I did and what happened. I realized something. It wasn’t luck that kicked me out. I mean, it ultimately was, like the hands that technically knocked me out were luck lost on coin-flips. But it was the stupid folds and stupid calls that put me into the all-in-or-fold mentality. Calls! Who calls in heads-up play? Losers, that’s who. Passive players can’t win heads-up.

So why was I being so passive?

Well, I think I’ve figured out what it’s like to be on tilt.

I generally have a good handle on my temper. I definitely have a temper, but in my “poker career” (HAHA!) I’ve managed to keep myself from letting it lose over a game. I don’t let anger over a bad beat get to me. It’s just a game. There is some luck involved. I don’t let asshole’s calling me names get to me. It’s just a game. And it’s actually kind of funny to see them seethe. In the real world… sometimes, my temper flares out at inopportune moments. But generally, it is relating to things that I think are far more important that a silly game I play for fun (with the benefit of occasionally winning some money).

I’ve identified before, in large multi-table tournaments, a kind of boredom tilt. It’s the kind of tilt that whispers in my brain, “K-5 is a good hand, at least it’s suited. Come on, you haven’t played a hand in an hour! Seriously! You’re second chip lead at this table. You can speculate.” And then when the flop comes King high, that same voice says, “You haven’t played in so long, they’ll think you’ve got a monster if you bet.” Usually, it’s after someone calls me down with K-Q, a perfectly reasonable hand to be playing, that I wake up and realize that I’ve tilted away half of my stack. Oops!

I don’t play many multi-table tournaments anymore. A lack of patience is -EV.

Yesterday’s tilt was not boredom tilt. Playing heads-up can’t possibly be boring. You have to play 90% of the hands you’re dealt or the other guy will just raise you to death. I’m pretty sure I can pin down my tilt to one incident. I was playing an opponent who had some actual talent (most of the people playing $5 heads-up are suckers… probably including me). I’d relive the hand, but that’s not really what matters. All that matters is I let my opponent buy the pot from me.

From that point on, I was a lost cause. I was folding everywhere, and just calling when I was pretty sure I had something worthwhile. Why was I scared? I honestly couldn’t tell you. But I was put off my game by a player who may or may not have been better than me. He probably deserved to win that battle. But the next two people I played… they were awful. Pure “call if I got nothin’, all-in if I have the nuts” types. But I let them bully the passive me around.

When I came to, I decided to walk away from the heads-up challenges for a while. I went on over to play some low-limit Omaha Hi/Lo. There were three full tables, so I put my name on all three waiting lists. Then I opened up a new table. My new table got going within a couple minutes, so I got off the waiting lists. I prefer to play short-handed. Let me list my favorite types of players to see at an Omaha Hi/Lo table:

  • Texas Hold’em players that think KKT9 is a good Omaha Hi/Lo hand.
  • People who think they’re good at Omaha Hi/Lo that only raise preflop if they have an A2 in their hand.
  • People who call through to showdown with nothing but a non-nut low.

We had all three specimins at the table yesterday, along with one other player who had a clue. It was an interesting and fun table. We saw a Royal (not mine) and a 6-high straight flush (mine for a tasty scoop!). We saw the high chopped on a full house (neither one of them was excited for that). And I saw my buy-in double.

Ultimately, yesterday was a good poker day.

October 26th, 2005 • 9:55 am • dinane • Posted in PokerNo Comments »

Let Me Tell You the Story

Let me tell you the story
Of a man named Jeremy.
On a tragic and fateful day
With his season pass in his pocket,
Kissed his wife and waved his hands
Went to ride on the Ride of Steel

–Re-imagining of “Charlie on the M.T.A.”

We went to Six Flags: New England, or as I prefer to call it “RiverFlags,” on Saturday, in the rain, with a group of awesome people. Our first ride of the day was obviously Superman. Seriously, how could anyone go to RiverFlags without going straight for the ride of steel?

We waited only for about a half hour, which is pretty good. They were running both trains, but they were spacing them out a bit more than normal due to the rain. And also due to the rain, many people probably stayed home. See, having a season pass, it’s not so bad to only go to the park for a few hours. If you get only a one-day pass, though, you really feel like you should spend the entire damn day.

Let me just say that I love roller coasters. It is possible that Sarah loves them more… I suppose… how about we love them equally. Anyway, I love them. So I pack my glasses in a pocket I can button shut, get in my seat, pull down the lap bar, take a deep excited breath, and then we go! Up… up… up…! All the while, both Mike and his sister Kate are repeating “I hate this!” I think they don’t actually mean it. They’ve both been on Superman at least five times each this year. As we barreled down into the first tunnel, I started screaming. I didn’t stop until the air breaks came on at the end of the ride.

Superman is awesome.

When we pulled back into the station, I sighed, released myself from the lap bar, and clumsily headed for the exit while trying to get my glasses back on my face. Once I could see, I started my maternally instinctive counting. 1… 2… 3… here comes Jordan, that’s 4… and I make 5… That’s wrong.

Jordan brought news from the front. Jeremy’s lap bar was stuck. We all went back up to the ride exit, and peered over the gate as the next pile of riders tried to get into their seats. Sure enough, there’s Jeremy, holding up traffic (not of his own desire, it’s just what was happening). I waved. He did not look amused. We began to think they were going to make him go around again.

Eventually the ride operator made everyone who just got into the ride get off and go back behind the gates. Now Jeremy was just sitting sadly in the ride while attendants pulled and pushed on various levers trying to release him. The operator announced that the ride would be shut down for a while due to technical difficulties.

Another family that was crowding by the exit gate with us went up to the operator and asked what was wrong. They were concerned about the next train, as the rest of their group was on board that one. The operator assured them that the other train was just waiting outside the station for this one to clear out. Tara made a comment to the matriarch of the other family about how her husband was stuck. My ears tweaked because, despite the fact that I witnessed their wedding, and was in fact Tara’s maid of honor, I’m not yet used to them being married.

While we were looking over at the operator’s station, we noticed the feedback instrumentation. It had lights for each row of seats. We gathered that red meant they weren’t bucked down, and green meant they were fastened in and ready to go. Jeremy’s row was still fastened down and ready to go. We asked Jordan, who was sitting next to Jeremy, how he escaped, and he could give no useful answer.

We stepped back and out of the way as a tech of some sort went into a closet and grabbed a box with some kind of Socapex cable or twist or something (I never really did get the lighting stuff – for example, it just took me 15 minutes of Googling to figure out how to spell “Socapex”) dangling out the side. We guessed that it was a jump box to force the lap bar up. After a few minutes, there was a roar of applause from the people waiting to get on, and Jeremy came out the gate shaking his head and muttering.

He regaled us with tales of his entrapment as we headed for the next adventure. Apparently his lap bar just simply wouldn’t move up. They pulled and pushed, then they tried jumping it. We theorized that the lap bar’s default location was down and locked, that without power it would stay that way. We figured that it was probably better to be stuck in than to fall out…

Eventually they had to get out wrenches and take out some bolts to get him out. They closed that row of the train, likely for the rest of the day. But the ride continued running.

So, that is how Jeremy almost ended up the Charlie for the Superman’s MTA.

He’s probably not thrilled with the fact that I blogged this…

October 25th, 2005 • 10:39 am • dinane • Posted in Life2 Comments »

Variety Pack

I was going to start this week of posting with a funny anecdote involving Jeremy and Superman, but as I got distracted, you’ll just have to wait to read about why Six Flags might have to rename their Q-Bots to “Jeremy Cards.”

My brain was overtaken this weekend by television. We were watching the Law & Order: Criminal Intent from a couple weeks ago (isn’t TiVo awesome?). Thing is, my favorite crazy guy Goran wasn’t even in the credits! Not that I have a problem with Logan, he’s pretty awesome too, but I miss my crazy guy! So Mike picked up his laptop and did some crack researching. Turns out the actor that plays Goran had to be hospitalized due to the stress of the character last year, so they’re going to have two separate casts and alternate or something. I’m not so good at internet researching, so I can’t give you any good links.

Anyway, Mike followed a bunch more links in his quest to learn everything there is to know, and found that the character Munch, who is currently on Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit, has appeared in six different television programs. Woah!

Continuing down the information trail, Mike found this: the “tommyverse”. I’ll give you a moment to check that out. Please come back.

Back already? Sweet!

The grid there shows over 200 television shows that appear to occur in the same fictional universe. It is insane. It makes your brain want to explode. If you look at it too long, your brain will explode.

In other television news, the episode of Crossing Jordan that we watched last night (probably from like two weeks ago) was extremely stressful. At every commercial break I found myself saying aloud, “Oh no! Jordan!” The previews for the next one (last week’s) looked equally stressful, if not worse, so I opted to put that off for a while.

You might be guessing that I am a huge fan of the crime drama format. I love all of the CSI‘s, all of the Law and Order‘s, Crossing Jordan, Numb3rs… All of them. You are also probably guessing that I love television. You’d be right on that account as well.

Not that I am responsible for this situation (blame Mike!), but we have the capacity to record five different television stations while watching a sixth. Generally, however, we hardly ever turn on the VHS recorder. Actually, we really only own it so I can watch The Snowman during the appropriate season (which is approaching!).

Speaking of holidays, Mike and I picked up candy for Halloween at the grocery store yesterday. From last year’s experience, I estimated the need of at least 150-170 children’s worth of candy. I don’t even want to think about how much candy is in our house right now. It’s ridiculous. I do love handing out packages full of sugar to the little kiddies!

Now on to other stupid shit.

One of my coworkers sent out an email today stating reasons “you might live in New England” a la Jeff Foxworthy. I’m taking the opportunity now to reprint my favorites:

  • If you’ve worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you live in New England.
  • If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance, and they don’t work there, you live in New England.
  • You know you are a New Englander when you measure distance in hours.
  • You know you are a New Englander when you have switched from “heat” to “A/C” in the same day and back again.
  • You know you are a New Englander when the speed limit on the highway is 55mph — you’re going 80 and everybody is passing you!
  • You can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching.
  • You know you are a New Englander when driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.
  • You know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction.

There were more, but I won’t bore you with mindless email forwards any longer. I have a couple comments on that, though… First, I’ve definitely not just switched back and forth from heat to A/C, I’ve actually had both running at once in my car in order to defog the windshield while trying to keep from freezing. Second, my coworker said that he actually gets annoyed when people don’t drive at 65 during a snowstorm. Finally, I thought everyone measured distance in hours. It’s the most relevant variable!

October 24th, 2005 • 12:04 pm • dinane • Posted in Life, Television3 Comments »
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