On to the final

In a much less popular competition, boobs edged out nachos, blogging, and summer to advance to the entities tournament final, where it will meet previous winners dingers!, cheese, and swimmies. I'll keep the poll open until next Friday, May 6, when my entry will be a tribute to the winning entity.


On short vacations

Companies tend to dole out vacation time in weeks. This makes sense. A few months into my job at Bluesocket, I decided to take a Monday-Wednesday mini-vacation, but it left me yearning for more. Here's the scoop:

I left work around 2:30 on Friday after packing my cubicle for Bluesocket's new digs, across Burlington. (I apologize for not giving you every last detail of the move.) By 4:00, Jill, Linda, Corissa, and I were in Jill's Avalon, picking up my dry cleaning (an excruciating 15-minute stop) on the way to New Haven. We got to the cleverly-named New Haven Hotel ("The Quiet Hotel," according to their equally clever logo) several hours later, but weren't too late for the rehearsal of Nicole and Brian's wedding. The dinner that followed was exquisite, and it was nice to see Jill in her element, surrounded by friends and talking endlessly about babies.

Saturday morning brought the thoroughly rehearsed nuptials and the thoroughly thorough post wedding activities. The reception began outdoors on a beautiful afternoon in front of the Amalfi grill, where we would later eat another extravagant meal, this time serenaded by karaoke singers ranging from suprisingly brilliant (Brian's two contributions, some guy's touching dedication to his wife, who was vomiting in the bathroom at the time, and my own Jewel's gem) to predictably awful (the Connecticut girls singing Air Supply three feet from a microphone, 80's rubbish screeched with hands in the air as the crowd dissipated). The break between the reception and the after party reminded some of us of how tired we were, but if nothing else, the Irish bar that hosted the postgame was the perfect venue, with tasty appetizers, a Sox win, and another Y*****s loss. I managed to stay awake at the wheel for the easy drive home, and was rewarded at midnight with a long night's sleep.

Sunday was yet another travel day, this time with a much more desirable destination. Jill and I caught an afternoon flight to North Carolina, where my parents and Colleen met us for Yuenglings, wings, and nachos at the South's most enormous sports bar. Jill was thrilled to find that my mom is just as dedicated to Sunday TV, so we didn't have to miss Desperate Housewives and Gray's Anatomy just because we were on vacation.

Monday was a catch-up-with-the-parents day until Kristen and Tyler brought the life of the party into town and the weekend got going (read: I got to watch Napoleon Dynamite for the first time in months). We ate a fantastic mom-cooked meal and prepared for Dance Dance Revolution with the Dans, but were thwarted when Daniel realized he had forgotten the disc. Hoopla was an adequate substitute, as all parties held their own in back-to-back wins against the clock.

Tuesday was your typical film-and-pottery day, as the whole family (including a truant Colleen) went down to the Seagrove pottery district, a multi-county region in North Carolina littered with kilns and tiny trailers where local potters hock their wares. I picked up a lovely soap dispenser for the bathroom in our last stop. Despite the marvel of pot turning and burning, Tuesday's highlight came at a southern diner, where our waitress had the following exchange with Jill:

Jill (ordering): "What's the difference between the Bar-B-Q sandwich and the Bar-B-Q plate?"

Waitress: "The plate has fries, slaw, and hushpuppies; the sandwich doesn't."

Jill: "I'll have the Bar-B-Q plate."

Jill (upon receiving the plate, which was quite different from a sandwich in its lack of bread): "Can I get a slice of bread with this?"

Waitress (after a short blank stare): "You mean like toast?"

Jill: "Yeah, but not toasted. Just bread."

Waitress (after a much longer blank stare): "So you want like a bun or like, bread?"

Jill: "Bread. A piece of wheat bread."

Waitress (bringing a plate with one slice of white bread): "Is this what you were talking about?"

The same waitress would later refill my Coke and Jill's Diet Coke by pouring a full glass of Coke into my 1/8th full glass and leaving the remaining 1/8th in the new glass, the exact same result she would have achieved if she had just set the new glass down like a northern waitress. Priceless.

On Tuesday evening, I caught the first half of "Sideways" again, was blown away by "The Incredibles," which earned all the praise heaped upon it and more, and slept through most of "Finding Neverland," which was a hit with Jill.

After packing for the trip home, we all caught the first half of a doubleheader between the Greensboro Grasshoppers and the Kanneville (or something) Intimidators. My first single A baseball experience was not far removed from my last Little League experience. The outfielders were atrocious and a stadium full of kids on the greatest field trip ever went nuts when the scoreboard asked for "more noise", but couldn't care less when Greensboro pitchers recorded any of their 10 strikeouts in a 7-inning game. Despite its shortcomings, sitting a few feet from the field on an 86-degree day in North Carolina watching dingers! with my adorable niece and the rest of the family was the perfect way to relish the waning seconds of my vacation.

We stopped for a few beers on the way to the airport, and got home in time to catch another Sox win over a pizza at Pepperoncini's, but by morning it was back to the real world. I'm ready for a full week off. Maybe next week.



After more than a week, dingers and cheese were tied at six in the poll to the right, so I'll move both of them on to the next round. In the meantime, vote in this week's poll for one of the four fabulous entities.

My basketball city team dropped our third straight game yesterday, 70-69, when Derek fouled a three-point shooter with 3 seconds left and we couldn't get a shot off at the buzzer. At least this one was close.

Jill and I are off to New Haven for a wedding on Saturday, and then to North Carolina for some O'Connor time on Sunday. It's definitely time for a vacation.


Tina, come get your food!

The title of this post has nothing to do with its content. This top-shelf weather allowed for some rare outdoor and indoor-with-windows-open activities. Friday night was Jaron's birthday celebration at the WST in Brookline, where Ali matched the waitress broken glass-for-broken glass, Jaron looked like a 40-year-old hobo, and Jill and I yawned our way through a not-so-late night out.

Saturday was a clean-the-house-for-company day, as Jill and I dusted, she cleaned the floors, and I cleaned the newt tank in anticipation of our dinner guests from Somerville and down the street, Kate, Matt, and Linda. We ate Jill's salmon and played Facts in Five (which I'm finding harder to enjoy) and Hoopla (which is quickly becoming one of my favorite board games).

Sunday was a yardwork and fringers day, beginning with leaf-raking in Framingham and graduating to hamburgers, frisbee baseball, and Ben & Jerry's in Brookline.

Congratulations to Melvin Mora and the Orioles, who took two of three from the Y*****s this weekend and clunked Carl Pavano in the head with a comebacker. I hope you've got a nice welt, Carl.


9 things to like about this week

...in random order:

1) Jaron's birthday (yesterday). With his 8:00 the next Thursday shadow, he doesn't look a day over 37. Celebration is on tap for tonight at the Washington Square Tavern.

2) Pressure-free, watchable baseball. Sox vs. Blue Jays tonight, Cubs vs. Brewers today. I love baseball when no one's wearing pinstripes.

3) A 4.375 day work week. With two doctors' appointments and a brief MBEL visit today, I got to walk around Boston instead of looking at this computer all day.

4) Date night at Laura and Gary's (last night). I got a burrito from Jack Arnold's, chatted through terrible television about the decline of the Library, and didn't have to drive in Somerville.

5) Watching "dingers" and "cheese" duke it out in my poll, and wondering if an entities tournament is in store. (Count on it.)

6) Not having to update pool scores. Don't get me wrong, I love doing this, but the computer situation at 13 Pond and being in the thick of the race this year made it more stressful than ever.

7) Signs of summer in Boston. I'd call it "spring", but they're calling for snow on Monday and we'll probably have 90 degree days by the end of the month. I'm not complaining about the latter.

8) Okay, it's spring. I can't overestimate the difference this kind of weather makes on my outlook on life.

9) The Red Sox are still world champions. The Y*****s aren't.



Last night's premier of Poker Night at 13 Pond brought in a cool $24, which is exactly what I paid for beer. The NCAA Championship proved less lucrative, as UNC's win gave second place (behind Kim, of course) to Dave, the CTO at work.


It was a good run

I don't know which sight was most revolting- Randy Johnson in pinstripes, David Wells in Sox red, or Jesus Matsui jesusing it up last night. It was a marvelous offseason, while it lasted.

Illinois and UNC play in the most predictable NCAA Tournament final in years tonight, with $110 on the line for me, as I take second place in my own pool if the Fighting Residents of Illinois win.

Visited Kristen and Tyler and Lauren and Eric and Shayna on Saturday. All of them were either adorable, accomodating, or both.

I used the iTunes gift certificate I got as a going-away present at the Library to download music for the first time on Saturday. Tom Waits' brilliant "Rain Dogs" and Belle and Sebastian's disappointing "Dear Catastrophe Waitress" were my first two purchases.

With the glorious offseason over, I might as well use this space to post some 2005 baseball predictions:

AL East: New York (110-52)
AL Central: Minnesota (92-70)
AL West: Los Angeles (92-70)
Wild Card: Boston (95-67)

NL East: Atlanta (97-65)
NL Central: St. Louis (96-66)
NL West: San Diego (88-74)
Wild Card: Florida (94-68)

New York over Minnesota in 5
Anaheim over Boston in 5
Atlanta over San Diego in 4
Florida over St. Louis in 5

New York over Los Angeles in 5
Florida over Atlanta in 6

New York over Florida in 5

AL MVP: Hideki Matsui (.322, 34, 147)
NL MVP: Albert Pujols (.359, 39, 144)
AL CY: Johan Santana (23-3, 2.14)
NL CY: Tim Hudson (19-6, 2.90)



Another week and another March are gone, and I have only the following to report:

I'm back in action, basketball-wise, having opened my spring season at Basketball City on Tuesday, and dragged jeff and Brad along. Brad scored the only point in our carpool in an ugly loss, but we showed promise for a bunch of aging goons who have never really played together.

I woke up almost paralyzed on Wednesday and decided to take a sick day. By the time I was able to walk outside, I was happy with my choice, as the first day of spring had arrived. I celebrated by purchasing a new adapter for my laptop and two books from Barnes and Noble, a biography of Stalin and Jim Caple's "The Devil Wears Pinstripes: Steinbrenner, the Satans of Swat, and the Curse of ARod". One is the story of the most evil man in the history of the world, and the other is about a guy who killed 20 million people.

That night, I met up with Victor for a game of pool and rehashing of old times. Victor informed me that when you Google "Victor Slabodchikov," my old 0catch site is the only result. I'll abandon my new no full names policy here in hopes that this entry comes up too.

Thursday was a twelve-hour work day, but I was finally able to cut some checks, which made me a more popular accountant here at the 'socket. By night, Jill and I watched "Collateral," which was no better than it sounds.

Today was not only April Fools' Day (still celebrated by a select clan of Scottish-Italian librarians in western middle eastern Massachusetts), but the 10th anniversary of espn.com, which named Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS the number one game of the last ten years. I was one of the many who didn't see Dave Roberts' steal, Bill Mueller's single, or David Ortiz's home run because I'd given up on the season. I guess I was the fool.

This weekend brings a trip to Queensbury to visit Kristen and family and Eric and Shayna. I'll try to steal Eric's blogspot password and blog about it for him.