Thursday, January 27, 2005

Ah, winter... I hate it so.

No, that's not the reason I haven't updated in LITERALLY two weeks (I believe that's my longest interval between entries since I opened this thing)--that has to do with a "security related incident" we've been going through at work that's consumed most of my life. That and World of Warcraft have been pretty much all I've done for the past couple weeks, and that just isn't blog-worthy material.

I live right in the middle of last weekend's Northeast snowstorm, and managed to come through it OK. It's not that I'm lucky to be alive--it's that I'm lucky to not be in jail for killing someone. My hatred of humanity reaches new levels during wintertime. It wasn't too bad when I went into the office on Saturday--I got in and out before the snow started in earnest. Of course there was nowhere to park on the street when I got back (I live in a townhouse, so there aren't any garages on my block), so I had to park in the alley behind my house. No big deal--I prefer to park out front, but I do park out back from time to time. Of course, by the time I went to work on Monday morning, the unplowed alley had snowdrifts over a foot deep, and it took my poor little Cavalier almost twenty minutes to get to the end.

As I go around the corner and past the front of my house, of course half the people on the block have their parking spaces "reserved" with lawn chairs and the like (despite the fact that we're not supposed to do that--they only send out five flyers every winter)...but when I really lose it is when I see that someone has put a pair of those foldup "chairs-in-a-bag" in the space in front of MY FREAKING HOUSE! Only the fact that I was running very late kept me from stopping the car right there and chucking them over the roof or into the nearest snowbank.

The worst was when I got home from work on Monday night. I parked it on the street, across the street from my house, and not in someone else's illegally reserved parking space. I hadn't been in an hour when there's a knock on my door, with some douchebag kid from across the street wanting me to pull my car up some so his girlfriend can park because "she has to go to work tomorrow morning". At this point, I should have said "So do I", and slammed the door in his stupid face. But no, for some reason, I was feeling like a nice guy, so I go out into the cold and pull up as far as I can without knocking over the lawn chair, but it's still not far enough for her to squeeze her little Mitusbishi in behind me. I open my car door, point to the lawn chair to indicate that's as far up as I can go, when Douchey McFag points up ahead of me a little bit and says "There's a space you can go". How I managed to calmly and simply put my car where he was pointing instead of jumping out of my car and beating the stupid out of him while yelling "THEN WHY THE F DIDN'T SHE JUST PARK THERE?!?!" is a complete mystery to me, and a testament to my self-restraint.

Wake me up when it's springtime.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Happy birthday to me!

Yesterday, that is. I'm officially closer to 30 than 20 now, and that's pretty depressing when I think about it that way. I think I'll stick with my original plan to have an annual "Cake-and-Presents Day" from now until I'm old enough to start collecting social security--that way, I should be able to stay 25 for another thirty years or so.

All kidding aside, it was actually the best weekday birthday I've had in a while. My friend Mike R. came down from Reading last night, so we went out for dinner and a couple of brews. He even bought me a birthday shot of Jack Daniel's--good stuff!

We also watched Elisabeth Rohm's final episode of Law and Order. I personally never liked the actress (too wooden) or the character (too liberal/"soft"), so I was glad to see her go. I won't spoil anything here (I know at least one Loyal Reader won't get to see the episode for a while), but while I liked the way they got rid of her, I thought the "bombshell shocker" was shark-tastic. Not that I'm going to stop watching, though. The rest of the episode was great.

Still haven't gotten around to uploading my New Year's party pictures yet. Probably won't until next week, at which time I'll probably forget about them again.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Jack's Back

I just got done watching the season premiere of 24, and so far, it looks like this season is going to be a good one. They've turned over almost the entire cast (only Kiefer Sutherland and the actress who played Chloe in Day 3 are back), and for the most part, that's a good thing. The only possible exception is the ultra-hot Elisha Cuthbert, and while she was quite nice to look at, three seasons of The Wacky Adventures of Kim Bauer was quite enough, thank you very much. The new cast members seem quite able so far, especially mid-level villain Nestor Serrano, one of my favorite character actors from Bad Boys and numerous Law and Order appearances.

Hours 1 and 2 ran tonight, with 3 and 4 running back to back tomorrow night at 8, before the show settles into its regular Monday night 9 PM time slot. My advice to people who haven't watched the show in the past is usually along the lines of "Forget it, unless you rent the DVDs and start from the beginning, you'll have no idea what the hell is going on." But the cast turnover is giving new viewers a chance to enjoy this season, even if they've never seen the show before. There are some references to past seasons, but only in passing. Of course, you'll still want to watch the first two episodes you've missed, and while I'd never advocate doing anything illegal...*coughBitTorrentcough* may want to persuade a friend with Tivo or a VCR to let you watch the episodes you missed tonight. This is action/drama on network TV that's better than most theater releases in the genre. No comic relief, no reduction of the dramatic tension, ever, any time. This show will grab you by the yambag and hold you there for the full hour--by the time Hour 2 ended, I was up off the couch standing inches from my TV screen, and I already can't wait for tomorrow's show. I just don't know how I'm going to make it through after that--I'll have to wait seven whole days for the next hour.

*Disclaimer: I've been a drooling, slavering fanboy of this show since episode 1 back in 2001. Just in case you couldn't tell.

Cooking with The Beast 1.9.04

Nothing to warm your bones on a cold winter night like a good Cajun dish--I whipped up some jambalaya tonight. It goes great with cornbread (southern style) or a loaf of crusty French bread (the better to soak up the soup portion). Best of all, add a beer, and you've got a great meal to go along with the NFL playoffs. When I'm by myself, I usually just chop everything "up on the fly", but when I'm planning to cook it for company, I usually "pre-chop" everything the night before or the morning of and store it (covered) in the fridge. My recipe calls for habanero peppers--those are really spicy. Those less hardcore can use cayenne or even jalapeno peppers. And dried works just as well as fresh--just make sure to adjust your quantity to your own taste.

Beast's Jambalaya

4 tablespoons olive oil
Emeril's Essence creole seasoning, to taste
12 ounces shrimp
1 1/4 pounds chicken breasts, cut into chunks
13 ounces andouille sausage, cut into chunks
1 medium onion, finely chopped
12 ounces tomatoes, finely chopped
6 ounces Habanero chiles, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme
6 cups water
2 cups rice
3 tablespoons dried parsley

1. Prepare the meat ingredients, then prepare the onion, tomatoes, and habanero peppers.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the chicken and shrimp; season with Essence to taste. Add the sausage and brown the meats, about 4 minutes.

3. Add the water, tomatoes, habanero peppers, onions, garlic, and thyme. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

4. Add rice and return to a boil. Cover pot and cook for 20-30 minutes, until rice is done.

5. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Bon appetit!

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Props to Schumer

To steal a phrase from Kornheiser and Wilbon, I'd like to give some "dap" to Rep. Charles Schumer (D-NY). While some of the Democrats in Congress attempted to block the certification of the 2004 presidential election results, Schumer, refused to do so, saying, in part, "My view is that you don't hold up the election unless there is concrete, real evidence of fraud. I haven't seen that." Here's a guy who gets it, at least on this issue.

Friday, January 07, 2005

True tech support tale 1.7.05

I don't usually bring my work onto this blog, but this one was just too funny to leave off. Names omitted to protect the innocent.

One of our users asked me to come over and help set up her new Palm--she couldn't seem to get the software installed. When I arrived, the CD wouldn't read, so as standard operating procedure dictates, I removed it, and inspected it for scratches. And I found them. Lots of them. From where the user had written her name on the read side with a ballpoint pen.

Luckily for her, Palm software is easily available off the web.

Back for 2005

Did you miss me? (Of course you didn't.)

Suffice to say I survived the new year--pictures are forthcoming as soon as I figure out which ones I want to spend my 10 MB Flickr limit uploading. I lost my fantasy football championship game--it wasn't even close--but second place ain't a bad finish for a first time player like myself. Everyone in both leagues I played in are already talking about next year, so everyone must have had at least an OK time.

My New Year's resolution for 2005 is to be back in something resembling shape by the time the paintball season starts--probably late February/early March. Of course, my resolve to get to the gym hasn't been helped at all by the awful, awful cold and cough I've been battling this week. At least I've started to get my house cleaned up a bit.