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Software development, running, music & beer

Monthly Archives: August 2008

another 48 hours

Time is drawing near for the wedding, and the last two days have been very busy. My parents arrived in town Tuesday evening, so I’ve spent most of my time with them since their arrival. Yesterday, my Dad and I spent the entire day doing small projects around the house that I had not dared to attempt on my own since I moved in. Unfortunately, one of the projects, to tie up the drain line from the dishwasher, resulted in us causing a leak in one of the lines under the kitchen sink which ended up eating up most of our day and involving multiple trips to the local hardware store. But it was all fixed by the end of the day, and I’m feeling more comfortable with my role of homeowner after working side-by-side with an expert.

This morning, my Dad and I went and picked up our tuxedos and everything worked out except his jacket was a little small, but we should get a replacement by this afternoon. So far, everything is falling into place with the actual wedding. We are a little nervous about the tropical storms down in the Atlantic, but now that Gustav is moving towards the US, it looks like Jamaica might be safe for now. Fingers crossed.

Besides that, there are a couple of newish albums that I’m really enjoying as of late, the Fleet Foxes album & ‘Sun Giant’ EP, and the newest No Age album ‘Nouns’. I’m also enjoying the Portishead album a lot as of late, which has taken a while to grow on me, probably because it is so different from what I had been expecting.

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i know you, i knew you

Wow, two posts in one day. I think that is a record. Well, after my first post today, I was bored, so instead of cleaning the house as I should have been doing, I decided to mess around with the template of my blog. So what you are seeing now (unless you’re viewing me via RSS feed), is quite drastically different from what I had. After looking at what I had before, I realized it kind of gave me a headache after looking at it, between the bright colors, lack of organization, and just way too much going on. So the template, for now, is pretty minimalist. I found one that uses some cool (albeit simple) Ajax functionality to expand and collapse the sections along the right side. I make my living as a computer programmer after all, it’s about time I have something geeky on my blog.

So there is still some tweaking that will be going on over the next month as I try to settle into my new template and try to make my blog more personal. While I am somewhat limited by the technological constraints of having a free Blogger blog, I want it to look like a little more effort was put into it than the millions of other cookie-cutter Blogger sites out there.

It is also worth noting that this week will mark 4 years since I started this blog. I’ve gone through some pretty long stretches with minimal posts, but overall I enjoy doing it, as it gives me a little bit of a creative outlet, and helps me stay connected with friends and make new connections. So hopefully there will be many more posts over the next year, and maybe even a fifth anniversary party…for me and all 5 or so of my regular readers.

So this blog and new design is a work in process, so any feedback, both positive and negative, is more than welcome. While I am a computer programmer, I am by no means a designer, so I’m kind of reaching around in the dark when it comes to stuff like this. So any advice would be warmly received. And thanks for reading and giving me a reason to keep up with this.

summer here kids

The wedding is now a week from today. I will skip over the subject today except to note happily (for now) that the weather forecast looks good so far, though we all know forecasting weather is a pretty weak science that usually isn’t reliable except for a few hours in advance. But for what it’s worth, here is what the Weather Channel is saying for Sunday:

Just got back from lunch with Will & Tricia before their flight back to Portland. Very nice of them to make time for little old me. Fortunately last night’s mini dinner party (I suppose it’s not technically a dinner party when it’s just one other couple) went off well, and while there were a couple bottles of wine consumed over the course of the evening, there was no pain to be felt this morning, at least for me. One very positive benefit of this whole wedding experience has been reconnecting with a lot of old friends who we’ve sort of lost touch with over time. We are both really looking forward to the reception next week where we get to hang out and celebrate with a bunch of people that are important to us. And given the small-ish size of it, we will hopefully be able to spend time with everyone.

Now I must leave to go make an attempt at a rain dance as my dying grass does not seem to respond as well to my sprinkler as it does to the sky opening up, and today is our only chance for rain over the next few days. While it has been a relatively mild summer here in NE Ohio, it’s also been very dry, as evidenced by the brown yards all across my neighborhood.

my backwards walk

This past week, I decided that I am going to skip running in this year’s Akron Marathon. Instead, I am going to just be a spectator, cheering on Kristy as she runs her very first half-marathon. While I was doing pretty well with keeping up with my training plan, I just wasn’t feeling it. Over the past year, my running has kind of plateaued, and I’ve really been struggling to break through and get to the next level. I’m not there yet, so I think it’s better for me to just keep my race registration fee in my pocket this time around, and keep on pushing. I am not stopping my running though, and plan to continue going out Sunday mornings with Kristy to do long runs. But come September 27th, I’ll be lacing up my shoes for the purpose of running around Akron with my camera to hopefully capture some pictures of Kristy.

Speaking of running around, the wedding is now 8 days away, and things are starting to get slightly hectic. There have been a few unexpected snags and things that have arisen over the past week to add to the already inevitable stress. We’ve definitely learned that no matter how small the wedding, there is still plenty to worry about. But we’re trying to not let it get to us and enjoy this time in our lives. We’re having another couple over tonight, which I believe will mark the first time I’ve cooked dinner for other people. Hopefully they enjoy my cooking as much as Kristy claims to. I’ll be making one of my favorite dishes, Rigatoni with Sausage, Peppers and Onions from Giada De Laurentiis’ “Everyday Italian”.

things behind the sun

T-minus 10 days and counting until my wedding next Sunday. Fortunately we have most everything squared away, so there is very little last minute rushing around to this point. A low freakout factor is a very good thing at this point. I had my quasi-bachelor party this past Thursday which amounted to a group of guys from work taking me out for drinks afterwork and then a few of us headed out to admire some shoe models. It was fun and pretty low key, which is good with me. Kristy had her party on Saturday, with dinner at Johnny Mangos followed by drinks at various bars in Ohio City.

I’m really looking forward to my parents coming next week to stay with us for a few days. It’s been over two years since they moved away from here, and this will be their first time back, and the first time they will be seeing our new house. My Dad, the original handyman, will be helping me out with a few small projects around the house. Maybe he can help me erect a wall between me and my neighbor’s house so I don’t have to see them sitting out in their driveway barbecuing every night with a couple of the other hillbilly neighbors from up the street while their little children run around, screaming.

Meanwhile, I recently saw that Cleveland was named on Forbes’ list of America’s Fastest-Dying Cities. What a great distinction. As much as I enjoy living here, it’s hard to read something like that and deny everything it says, especially when it comes to the hard economic facts. Despite the economic realities that our country has started facing over the past 20 years, which have hit this area particularly hard, I feel that Cleveland is a better place than it has ever been in the 29 years that I’ve been here. And now that I’ve started laying down some roots, I’m looking forward to being here to continue to see it change and improve.

Bye Bye Byrdie

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Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

I was somewhat saddened this afternoon after reading that the Cleveland Indians finally managed to trade pitcher Paul Byrd. I wasn’t excited when Byrd first came to town, and while he played in the shadows of CC, Carmona and Lee, he has put in a very solid effort the past couple of years. He just went out there every night and did his thing, and more times than not ended up winning somehow, including twice in the postseason last year. I will definitely miss that weird looking guy and his olde-timey pitching style.

As a good-bye to Mr. Byrd, I poured myself out a beer to enjoy and wish him well on his way to Boston. As much as I hate Boston, maybe he’ll enjoy some success and maybe even get a chance at a ring. I didn’t have any Boston beers, so the closest thing I could find was a Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA from nearby Delaware. I’ve been trying to chronicle all the new beers I try at home on my Flickr account, which you can check out here. My good friend Will recently moved to Portland, so I am really looking forward to him scoping out the town and taking me on the grand tour of beer when I make it out to visit him. According to this article, Portland has more breweries (28) than any other city in the US, and possibly even the world. I might need to plan for a few extra days, depending on how many good ones he finds.

sleep walker

It’s been a while since my last post, as I’ve been keeping myself pretty busy as of late. A few weeks back, I took a Friday off (something I wish I could do every week) and headed up with the soon-to-be-Mrs to Debonne Vineyards to finalize some of our wedding plans. Fortunately this included some wine tasting so we could decide which wines to make available to our guests at the reception. We were pleasantly surprised to find out they recently added a microbrewery to their operation, the Cellar Rats Brewery. They only had one beer available that day, a rather tasty wheat beer, my favorite summertime style. So now it looks like we might be having some beer at the reception after dinner. We also met up with the DJ recently and finalized the music plans, including the banned songs list (sorry guys, no ‘Macarena’ or ‘Mambo #5’).

Last weekend was the annual Vintage Ohio, which I believe this was our 4th straight year to attend. I’ve noticed that I’m slowly developing my wine tasting palate as there were a number of wines I tried this year that I didn’t particularly care for, whereas in the past I was more of like “wine is wine, tastes OK to me”. The weather was perfect, and the only downside was I spent way too much as we were leaving, buying about a case full of assorted wines which we had tasted and liked. As for Sunday, I was doing my best to play Mr. Homeowner and finally paying some much-needed attention to my lawn, trying to clear out some weeds and water the dying grass.

Last night, Kristy and I met up with a number of our friends at the local Winking Lizard to celebrate her turning the big 3-0, a fate which I myself am facing just over 2 months from now. Tasty beverages, food, laughs and much conversation was enjoyed and we ended up staying out pretty late, so I was up way past my usual lame Friday bedtime of 10pm. I picked up their glass-of-the-month special, the Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale which I enjoyed, but was nothing super special.

Today, I did absolutely nothing. I just rented the Guitar Hero: Aerosmith game, and made my way through the entire career on easy this morning. It reminded me of why I liked them back in the day, as they were one of the first bands I can remember really getting into like back when I was 12 or 13 and the album ‘Pump’ had just come out. I then enjoyed watching the Indians win a rare Saturday afternoon game with an ever rarer complete game effort from the Byrdman. I then made a tasty pasta and broccoli dish for dinner, and we finished off the evening with custard from the local Rosati’s. The flavor of the day was Grandma’s Cookie, which was pretty good. Now it’s about time to head off to bed and get ready for a 10 mile run tomorrow morning, which looks like it is going to be very nice and cool, perfect running weather and the kind of summer day you can get up and actually look forward to getting out and running.