Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy in Cincinnati

Yesterday at around noon, Kerry picked me up from my half-day at the library and whisked me off with a giant blue Mountain Dew and three burritos. We left the city of Little Rock with its disappointing lack of icy precipitate and set out for Cincinnati by route of our great nation's interstate system listening to NPR. Between Little Rock and Memphis, I commented on the occasional icy patches I saw out in the woods and eventually switched to a System of a Down albu. Somewhere between Memphis and Nashville, snow became our constant companion. We listened to Enya Christmas music while driving through what amounted to a Winter Wonderland for us.

Then somewhere between Nashville and Louisville it started to get dark. I puttered along in the dark for a while before realizing that the embankments on either side of the road were not actually embankments...they were levees of plowed snow that were encroaching closer and closer to the white line. Then they started crossing it on occasion. In Louisville, it started snowing.

By the time we got to our hotel here in downtown Cincinnati, it was apparent--I've never seen a real winter. We had to park the car by plowing it into a mound of snow about two feet deep that we assumed was a parking spot by nature of the roughly car-shaped snow sculptures on either side of it. I can't even imagine what this much snow and ice would to do Central Arkansas. Even here, we saw lots of accidents even though we were seeing plows and salting trucks in abundance. In some places the street lights were working, and in other places they weren't.

So now Kerry is out cavorting with psychiatry folk and I'm killing time until noon, when I go to meet them for a tour of the city and talks about real-estate. That should be done by mid-afternoon, when we will [insert chili here] drive to Lexington. Hopefully, our hotel there will get Battlestar and have a giant bathtub.

It looks like this area of the country got hit by the recent ice storm bad, so all my friends and family in Northern Arkansas can identify. All the conversation I overheard in the hotel diner at breakfast centered around who had power and who didn't--and this is Cincinnati! Perhaps the power outages are interfering with relay towers, because I can't find WKRP on my tuner anywhere...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Le Mead!

I neutralized and bottled my mead on Saturday after obtaining some bottles and a corker from Fermentables. I was really tempted to get a beer brewing setup while I was there, but I refrained. It would be a pain in the neck to move, and we really don't have room for it in our current apartment.

But anyhoo, mead! It was a fast fermentation...only two months and two weeks...and straight out of the carboy it tasted like a cheap white wine with Christmasy spices. But after a few days of cold treatment and six months of age, I ought to have twelve bottles of fairly drinkable stuff. I know how it is done now, so I'll get myself another carboy and a primary fermenter once Kerry and I get settled in after the impending move and do the next batch proud.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Now You See It, Now You Don't.

After much trouble and tribulation, I finally have my own cloaking device. I'm not going to tell you how I came about my cloaker (trust me, you wouldn't believe it), but I have engaged the device on my beard.

I enjoy having a decent beard. I think it is woeful that the the days of great American facial hair left us with the 19th century. Having a nice crop of man-plumage makes it that much easier for me to exercise my dominant status over other males whose plumage can't compare.

However, I've been looking in the mirror as of late and thinking, "Well, sir, you could indeed be said to have a similar countenance to that of a hobo." That, friends, is not acceptable. I tried trimming it, but that made it look weak and measly after the full bushiness. I have no wish to be mistaken for a mountain man, a vagrant, or an incarnation of Abraham Lincoln (no matter how brilliant of a sorcerer he may have been).

That is why I have obtained and deployed the cloaking device. Now I can still enjoy my beard, and nobody can make fun of me for not having one after making such a big deal about it. However, I can still appear clean-shaven and cute underneath my mop of devilishly feathery hair. Thus, patrons and passers-by will not be alarmed into shrinking away from my person. But none who read this post need to fret--I do still have a beard. It just can't be seen.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Rock Band II

One Christmas, my Mom and Dad gave Kerry a big ole box to open. Inside was a gratuitous singing penguin as well as two small boxes. One was full of rocks and the other rubber bands. Mom had pre-ordered the Rock Band II package for our Nintendo Wii, but it wasn't released until after Christmas. So we picked it up this past Saturday.

First let me say that I had a very nice visit with my folks. Love you!

Bur Rock Band rocks! Kerry got addicted to playing it in Lexington while staying with her cousins on her away rotation. I was skeptical at first--any game with falling executions makes me leery of the DDR machine in the Hot Springs Walmart that stole so much of my money back in the day... We hooked Rock Band up to Loren's Wii while we were in Bradford, though, and it was awesome!

Kerry is so cute playing the drums. She gets very excited and goes all crazy and stuff. My favorite thing to do so far is play the bass. The guitar confuses me, because I want to actually make the finger movements that correspond to the sounds. I think I've screwed up royally when the guitar starts making synthesizer noises... The bass seems best for movement to music correlation. I have yet to mess with the drums much. Kerry just loves them too darn much. :)

The microphone is also neat, but I don't know very many of the songs. It would be a good way to learn them so that I have a good knowledge base for karaoke nights. We're having a lot of fun with this. Thanks Mom and Dad!

In other news, I plan on racking my mead this weekend. If I feel good about it, I'll throw in some neutralizer and bottle the stuff. Then, in a few more months, I might have actually made something drinkable!

Friday, January 9, 2009

OWNED!

Patron: Can you see if you have any more Robot Chickens?
Me: The series?
Patron: Yes, I watched this one [shows me DVD], but I couldn't find any more.
Patron's Child: It's a cartoon?
Patron: One you don't need to be watching.
Child: Like on Adult Swim, right?
Patron, exercising authority: Yes, you don't need to be watching that.
Child, loudly: Well the only reason you watch it is because you can't get a girlfriend!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I had nice, milky oat bran for breakfast and a peanut butter & honey sandwich for lunch. I've been snacking on soynuts and having an ongoing discussion with my coworkers about the richness of Romulan cultural heritage both before and after the historical re-envisioning in the Enterprise series. It has been a good day.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I've been thinking about my Grandpa quite a bit today. Back in the "good ole days," we had quite a bit of fun together. I think he was retired before I was old enough to know any differently. His house was built so that he had a three-room basement and a giant back yard full of...stuff. He liked to tinker around and build random things like trailers, movable deer-stands, boat rigs, hoop nets, and crowbar drags (you may or may not know what those last two are). He had massive gardens on either side of the house, so he was never short on things to do.

Mom tried to send me to a daycare one time, it didn't work, and so I got used to spending a lot of time at Grandma and Grandpa's. She was always busy too, canning, cooking, cleaning, washing, and taking care of all the rest of us. I spent a lot of time inside with her, but I spent just as much time outside with Grandpa (at least before they got satelite television).

Grandpa wasn't entirely self-sufficient, but he could have been if he had wanted. He grew a lot of food, and always ended up giving more away than keeping for himself. I "helped" him in the garden quite a bit, although I probably did more damage playing in the pools and ditches he dug to keep all the plants watered then actual good. One time he told me to pick peppers, without any other instruction, and so I ripped every single thing off of those plants that wasn't a leaf or a bloom. Another time, my cousin and I tried to plant his strawberries for him and killed every single plant by putting them too deep and packing the dirt too hard. Once or twice, he got mad enough at me that I ran as fast as I could back inside to Grandma...

When he was tinkering with things in the basement or in the backyard, it was the perfect place to run around. He couldn't pay too much attention, so I could pay on the stairs, pick up sharp pieces of metal, pretend I was welding things, captain a boat (or a trialer), or anything else that crossed my mind. At lunch-time, he'd always go inside to recline on a bean-bag couch-thing, and we'd pretend we ran our own radio show.

And since it was usually hot after lunch, I'd spend as much of the rest of the day indoors as I could, entertaining myself with hot-wheels, micro-machines, games with Grandma, and batteries...I was obsessed with batteries for some odd reason. But on days when Grandpa ran his nets and came home in the afternoon, I'd have lots of oversized catfish, buffalo, and fish guts to play with. Mmmm. Fish guts.

Grandpa bought me cows and let me keep all the money when we sold the herd years later. Grandpa fiddled with my three-wheeler every time it stopped working and made it run for a little while longer. Grandpa has been generous with everything he's ever had, from money (yay) to okra (meh).

Grandma is the one I think of the most when I reflect on my childhood memories "across the street," but I shouldn't cheat my grandfather. He did very, very much for me. Since Grandma died, he has become more serious and indrawn. He'll still talk your ear off, but mostly about politics and the end times. He can't fish anymore by himself, and he's getting to where he can't putter around the garden anymore. I feel bad that I'm not there, and I understand why Dad refuses to move away.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

It Came and it Went. Here it Comes Again.

New Year's Eve is one of my favorite holidays, yet somehow just about everyone got around to posting about it except for me. :) I've had plenty of distractions to serve as an excuse, though. From the Christmas Day until this past Saturday, Kerry and I had a constant stream of company. Friends visited us from Fayetteville, Paragould, Georgia, Florida, and even Japan. It has been like a nine day party at our place. We also have all of our Christmas toys to play with and I've enjoyed EVE: Online. What better way to enjoy the new year than in the company of many friends, many Wii games, and a brand new kickass ewar/drone cruiser?

Two thousand and eight was a good year for the most part. I worked at Starbucks, then I worked at the library. I only had to step into a church sanctuary once. I saw Hawaii. I got a Wii, a new computer, and a plasma widescreen television. I got to see my little sister wearing an Invader Zim beanie and ugg boots. Obama beat McCain. Hamilton overtook Herbert as my favorite author. Lance exposed me to lentils and chili-spiced sweet potatoes. Our joke of a credit-driven economy is finally being reigned back into reality. All is well in my little world.

Two thousand and nine will be an exciting year to say the least. Kerry will become Dr. Kerry and immediately start earning twice my current salary. We will probably move to a different state, acclimating ourselves to a new home, a new town, a new climate, and a different kind of life in some place where pulled pork sandwiches do not automatically come with slaw. I'll be switching my life paradigm out of a two-year limbo and into a five-year stretch where I can do any number of things that catch my fancy when the time comes to decide.

So this new year is more than just a new year for me. It is one of those kairotic cusps--probably THE kairotic cusp that will determine my ultimate career. Will I find a graduate school program I am interested in? Will I get my teaching certification? Will I be able to get a Honda Fit? Tune in next year for all of these answers...and more!