Archive for December, 2004

Celebrity sightings: What famous people have you seen?

Tuesday, December 28th, 2004

Went out to Noshville for lunch with coworkers J & K and my Boss. Much talk of the celebrities they’ve spotted there in previous visits; my hopes were up for at least a minor sighting. But no. I must be the celebrity anti-magnet or something.

In Chicago, I saw Studs Terkel in the Treasure Island grocery store, and I used to see Dennis Rodman at various nightclubs on a near-weekly basis.

In San Jose and the Bay Area in general, I never spotted anyone famous.

In all my visits to L.A. during the time I lived in San Jose (I used to go there as often as every few weeks), I never spotted anyone famous.

In Portland, I never saw anyone famous. (Karsten did: he was out with at some trendy bar and she spotted Courtney Taylor from the Dandy Warhols at the next table.)

In my year and a half in Nashville, I’ve seen John Hiatt picking up his luggage at the airport, Johnny Knoxville at Baja Fresh, and John Rich at On The Rocks. But that’s all.

What about the rest of you? What famous people have you randomly spotted out of context, just sipping coffee somewhere or buying dog food?

Long lunches and long hauls back home

Monday, December 27th, 2004

Just got back from lunch with Karsten, , and my coworker J at Baja Fresh. But not the West End Baja Fresh! No, the Green Hills Baja Fresh. So it was different. Snootier.

Or, well, it should have been. But instead, it was poorer service. Of course, maybe that’s because we were loud and obnoxious.


After lunch, Karsten and and I went shopping in Green Hills Mall, where we scoffed at the ridiculous prices, admired a few cool items, and did our level best to piss off the other shoppers by having fun. Jeez, people, you’re shopping, not attending church. Lighten up.

And I guess I haven’t posted an update since before Christmas, so here goes.

My parents gave me Scene It? for Christmas, which was a great gift. The whole family played it all evening on Christmas day — and unanimously banned me from the game after the first 10 minutes. Whaaaaaat? I love movies; what can I say? The fact that I know most of the answers only proves I have no life — and I’m not even making money as a movie critic or anything.

We have a recent tradition in the family of appointing a Christmas Pig. Last year, Karsten and my nephew were neck-and-neck for the coveted title — it was so close, I don’t even remember who won; this year my niece and I were in the lead, but then out of nowhere my mom took the crown! The women really surprised the men with their eating stamina in this year’s race. I think the men are going to go back and do some serious training for next year.

Yesterday, Karsten and I made the drive back to Nashville, with a plan to stop at Trader Joe’s in Indianapolis. We needed to pick up some more cases of Three Buck Chuck. Unfortunately, we forgot about Indiana’s blue law prohibiting the sale of alcohol on Sunday. Funny that we forgot it, since Tennessee has a similar law. But regardless, we were forced to leave, well, not empty-handed (we did stock up on other goodies to the tune of $100), but without our beloved cheapskate wine.

Between Indianapolis and Louisville, I-65 was an absolute mess. We had several patches of slow-moving traffic, and dozens of cars off the side of the road. The trip home took two hours longer than usual, and we were exhausted by the time we pulled into the parking lot, with a full car yet to unload. Ugh. But at least all six kitties were alive and well and clearly happy to see us.

I felt like a slug in the gym this morning after a week without working out at all (not to mention the whole vying for the title of Christmas Pig thing). I only did a mini-session on the elliptical followed by almost an equivalent amount of stretching — I’m feeling really tight and stiff. But at least I’m back in the groove. And I’m practically alone in the office today, so I’m catching up on work and personal email and LJ, with the occasional work task thrown in for good measure.

And that about does it.


Saturday, December 25th, 2004

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it!

Happy Saturday to the rest of youse. :-)

A proliferation of two-year birthday traditions

Thursday, December 23rd, 2004

If doing something two years in a row can be considered a “tradition,” then I shall keep with tradition by singing to myself:

Happy, happy birthday to me
Happy birthday to me
And to you

- with thanks and apologies to Cracker

Also a two-year tradition is the celebration of both my father’s birthday (12/21) and mine (12/23) on 12/22, and not just any celebration, but a celebration at a sports bar and arcade. Don’t know exactly why, but since my sister does the coordinating of it all, I don’t complain. I did, after all, get to kick my 14-year-old nephew’s butt at pool, but I didn’t even get to smoke a cigarette while I played, so what fun is that? ;-)

Yet another two-year tradition will be the viewing tonight of Elling, one of my all-time favorite movies. It includes what is to me one of the most genuinely touching Christmas moments in any film, and the film overall leaves me with such a feeling of hope that viewing it seems like the perfect Christmas tradition.

That and Die Hard.

In other news, I wrote my first Christmas song yesterday. Karsten and I were thrift-shopping all morning and afternoon (I got a great haul!) and both stores had their radios tuned to the light-rock station that changes formats at Christmastime to all-Christmas, all-the-time. It was a little much, to say the least, but I tried to channel the excess into productive use by carefully studying the formula that makes up a classic Christmas song (while I concentrated on my shopping, too, of course). Then when we got back to my parents’ house, Karsten and I talked it over and deconstructed the “genre” together, which allowed me to whip up a sketch of a new song that we both really like. The real challenge will be for him in trying to write a melody that can be recorded as a contemporary song but which will have a timeless holiday feel.

Still, baby’s first Christmas song! Yay! Here’s hoping the future royalties at least pay for all that extravagant thrift-shopping I did yesterday.

Here in Chicagoland…

Monday, December 20th, 2004

[This is an entry I wrote in my Clie PocketLJ client last night, but I can't get my laptop to connect to the network at work from my parents' house, so I'm typing the entry in through my mom's computer and the web-based update feature. Not that all that explanation was really necessary, but whatever.]

The drive was fairly uneventful, though I did encounter two women gossiping in a fast-food bathroom, one of whom was bragging to the other that “he would leave her if I told him to, you know.” Yikes. Too tempting — I wanted to grab this stranger by the shoulders and say “You idiot! Get the hell out of that relationship!” But I washed my hands quietly and left the room.

Anyway, we’re now all checked in at the Parents’ Guest Inn and Suites, minus one guest room door, which seems less invasive when you realize that my parents’ room is upstairs and the guest room is downstairs. Still, it’s a little weird to be curled up in bed with Karsten in my parents’ house with the bedroom door wide open. (Or rather, with the door missing.)

I’m writing this entry, by the way, from the thumbpad on my Clie and will upload it tomorrow when I sync online. I’m starting to get the hang of this thumbpad thing, but it’s certainly not easy. I think they could have done a much better job with the keys on this thing. But that’s probably me showing my age; if I were just getting out of college now, I’d probably have so much experience with Playstation controls and cell phone text messaging that this thumbpad would be completely natural for me. Oh well. I am nearly 31 years old, after all. I only have three days left to be 30, and then I’m firmly in my 30s. *sigh*

Oh, and I also need to mention that I spent most of the drive up thinking of backup plans in case my counteroffer at work isn’t accepted, and I came up with one in particular with which I’m quite pleased. And then at dinner, my fortune cookie said “The architect of your destiny is yourself.” Woo. Cue the Twilight Zone theme, baby.

The morning after

Sunday, December 19th, 2004

I woke up this morning and thought “Wow, I can’t believe I forgot to brush my teeth last night.”

Then I realized, no, I did brush my teeth. That’s just how gross my mouth feels anyway. Ewww.

OK, sorry.

It was a fun pre-birthday party. Thanks to , , , my non-LJ friends, and, of course, for making it such a blast!

Edit: posted pictures! They’re not very flattering pictures, but hey, they’re pictures.

Here’s Joe the photographer/songwriter, Karsten (with Joe’s bunny-ear fingers), me, and Gary, my coworker’s partner:

and , my two loudest friends (which may be why I love them so):

and me, and hey look! we’re not making fun of each other at this particular moment:

‘Tis the season… for birthday parties

Saturday, December 18th, 2004

Well, that was fun! We went to a coworker’s birthday party at Rumours Wine Bar in the up-and-coming area of 12th Avenue South. Karsten slipped out at one point and checked out The Art House next door, and I went to find him and understood why he’d lingered — it’s a great art space. One of the few good places to see contemporary local artists on display.

The only downside to being out on 12th South tonight was being reminded that we’re not moving to that area. Or at least, not immediately. Maybe it’ll happen sooner or later.

At any rate, it was a fun party. And some of those folks will be at my birthday party tomorrow night, too, just a little ways down the street at Mafiaoza’s. Yay!

And then it’s off to Chicago on Sunday. And more birthday parties! (My dad’s birthday is Tuesday, mine is Thursday.) Actually, I don’t know how many parties we’ll really have, but there sure are plenty of birthdays to go around.

“The best hot chocolate in the world”

Saturday, December 18th, 2004

This is what my coworker gave me for my birthday/Christmas: Mariebelle Aztec Hot Chocolate. I’m drinking my first cup of it now, and it is so rich and decadent I think I may pass out. :-)

We’re back in the market for a house. Preferably one that hasn’t been fire-bombed.

Wednesday, December 15th, 2004

Hoo boy. You’re not gonna believe this.

We went for the house inspection this afternoon. Right away, this inspector (Bill) was walking around saying things like “Something’s not right.” He pointed a bunch of stuff out to us, but he still seemed puzzled by some missing explanation, and he called John, our realtor, to see if we could try to get the contractor to come out.

Just then, like magic, the contractor pulled up. And boy, did he enlighten us.

This woman, the seller, had a son who was a drug dealer and he was shot down in the neighborhood over a year ago. Then some rival drug dealers fire-bombed the house.

According to the contractor, the fire did about $25K worth of damage, but in the end it was worth $40K in renovations that were necessary anyway. Unfortunately, the seller made bad (i.e. cheap) decisions all along the way and the house, in order to be what it has the potential to be, would basically need to be gutted again and done right. Bill, the inspector, was nodding vigorously through this whole explanation and saying “I knew it! That explains so much.”

It explains a lot to us, too: why she was so reluctant to move forward with everything, why she has been so hard to reach — I’d guess she’s hurting a lot from having to rebuild and having to sell this house, and I don’t envy her situation. However, she broke the law by not disclosing everything she needed to disclose, and I’m not going anywhere near this deal.

I’m glad to know what we now know, and even though I’m sad to miss out on what this house could have become, I’m glad to be able to walk away with a clear sense of closure.

What a freakin’ trip.

Latest version of lyrics guessing meme - have at it!

Wednesday, December 15th, 2004

Edit: 15 guessed, 10 to go! Who else is going to play? :-)

1. On your current playlist, hit shuffle and pick the first twenty-five songs on the list (no matter how cheesy or embarrassing).
2. Write down one (or two) line(s) of the song. Try to avoid lines that include the title.
3. Have your friends comment and see if they know the songs.
4. When someone guesses correctly, strike out the line and list the correct name of the song next to it.

I kept getting songs Karsten and I wrote. That’s not really fair to my friends list, even though I know some of you have heard the songs. I’m skipping them.

These all come from my workout mix (I know that’ll seem odd, with some of them, but I like to have a variety of tempos and moods when I’m working out — it helps keep things interesting).

1. First he loved my accent, how his knees could bend…
Northern Lad - Tori Amos (guessed by )

2. She sits quietly there, like water in a jar, says baby why you trembling like you are?
She’s My Kind of Rain - Tim McGraw (guessed by )

3. Not a soul around but the old barkeep, down at the end lookin’ half asleep
The Good Stuff - Kenny Chesney (guessed by )

4. I got a hole in me now, yeah I got a scar I can talk about

5. I laughed and he smiled, it would last for a while…

6. I could count the good times we had on one hand, all the rest were a sort of means to an end
A Matter of Minutes - Shawn Colvin (guessed by )

7. What’s wrong with the world, mama? People livin’ like they ain’t go no mamas
Where Is The Love - Black Eyed Peas featuring Justin Timberlake (guessed by )

8. When you light those candles up there on that mantle, settin’ the mood…
I Melt - Rascal Flatts (guessed by )

9. The Buick’s in the drive, it’s good to be alive

10. I’ve been chasing the life I’ve dreamed of, now I’m home

11. I gave up cigarettes, I haven’t had to light one yet, and it’s been years since I stopped

12. She knows enough to worry, but what does she know about crime?

13. That’d be all you’d have to know for me to be fine, yeah
Cry - Faith Hill (guessed by )

14. You know and I know I don’t know me very well
Sugar - Tori Amos (guessed by )

15. Take a minute to concentrate and she opens up her eyes

16. I was lost, I was lost, crossed lines I shouldn’t have crossed
In My Place - Coldplay (guessed by )

17. Should we go out and try to save it, or just let it go like the days and decades?

18. I need to make mistakes just to learn who I am…
Overprotected - Britney Spears (guessed by )

19. If the divine master plan is perfection, maybe next I’ll give Judas a try
Spark - Tori Amos (guessed by )

20. We scream in cathedrals, why can’t I be beautiful?
i i e e e - Tori Amos (guessed by )

21. Oh, the night here it comes again. It’s on with the jeans, the jacket and the shirt

22. You can look but you can’t touch, I don’t think I like you much
I Think I’m Paranoid - Garbage (guessed by )

23. I guess on days like this, you know who your friends are
Taxi Ride - Tori Amos (guessed by )

24. We are widening the corridors and adding more lanes
Comfort Eagle - Cake (guessed by )

25. I need you now much more than ever, I’m making new friends but none of them matter

The year in review

Wednesday, December 15th, 2004

Borrowed from and many others; edited for stuff I care about answering. I linked to a lot of stuff throughout; my apologies if any links lead to where you, dear reader, cannot follow.

Review of 2004

What did you do in 2004 that you’d never done before?

Ran a road race. It was the Park Forest Scenic 10, and it was quite the learning experience.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I did, for the most part.

I wanted to run a half-marathon (13.1 miles) but I only ran a 10-mile race. Still, it’s close.
I’m doing OK with the three goals around my nutrition.
I haven’t really made much progress on my guitar playing.
I have sort of made more time for songwriting.
The debt is effectively gone.
And I’ve done better with organizing my wardrobe, but I’m planning to address this in the new house in a major way.

What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?

More time with friends, more time for songwriting, more money to spend on fun things. I’m starting to get closer to attaining all of these, and I want that trend to continue.

What date from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Work dates come to mind first: March 29th, when we launched our product to the corporate campus; November 15th, when we shut down the legacy product.

And, of course, November 2nd.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I dunno, maybe writing 15 songs in 30 days, even if that fell far short of my 30-song goal.

What was your biggest failure?

I can’t think of anything significant. I feel good about that.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

I injured my knee doing a 10-mile run on May 31st. I probably already had an injury, but the long run flared it up. That turned into iliotibial band troubles, which led to hip troubles, which led to possible bursitis and a prolonged break from running. I stopped running for the month of June, but spent July and August training for the Scenic 10, and I wasn’t fully recovered. I laid off for the rest of September, October, and ran a few miles in late November before realizing I still wasn’t recovered. I probably won’t be running again for a few more months, much to my frustration and dismay.

What was the best thing you bought?

My Clie.

Where did most of your money go?

This year was all about finishing up the debt repayment. And since I’m such a Quicken addict, I can give you percentages. Aren’t you excited?

The vast majority of it went toward paying off a single credit card. (23.94%)
Another large sum went to taxes. (13.53%)
Then rent. (9.27%)
Then another credit card. (7.99%)
Then savings for future house renovations, 401(k), and downpayment, respectively. (7.67%, 6.20%, 5.79%)
Household expenses. (4.58%)
Another two credit cards. (3.06% and 2.59%)
Groceries. (2.11%)
Car stuff. (1.66%)

Ain’t we got fun?

WAY down the list, you start to see things like:
Vacation (0.99%) - but this includes the trips to Chicago for my dad’s chemo treatments. Whee.
Songwriting (0.66%) - we’ll spend more on this in 2005 when we record some more demos.
Dining (0.65%) - we don’t eat out much.
Entertainment (0.50%) - and most of that has probably been spent in the past month.
Recreation (0.12%) - this includes my race fees and running shoes. Whoop de doo!

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Our new kitten, Bopper.

What song will always remind you of 2004?

“Live Like You Were Dying” written by Craig Wiseman and Tim Nichols and recorded by Tim McGraw.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Take vacation time. I worked a hell of a lot of hours. All that overtime certainly helped pay off the debt, but I have serious knots in my shoulders to show for it. Our in-town vacation, while fun, wasn’t nearly enough.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

I wish there’d been no reason for all those trips to Chicago for my dad’s treatments. But I’m glad I was able to be there and help out, and I’m certainly grateful to for generously volunteering to watch our kitties during one of those trips. And when I say I want less of it in 2005, I mean that I want my dad to be healthy again.

What was the best book you read?

“About A Boy” by Nick Hornby. Much better than the film, although I love Hugh Grant (or “Huge Grunt,” as Karsten and his sister refer to him) in just about anything.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

I don’t know, really! Maybe it was the discovery that I can, in fact, write lyrics to existing melody. Not that I haven’t done it before this year, but I usually choke when faced with a melody I have a lot of respect for.

What did you want and get?

Pre-qualification for the mortgage I wanted. I’d say “a house,” but we haven’t quite signed the paperwork yet.

What was your favorite film of this year?

It may be 10 years old, but I just saw “Before Sunrise” a few months ago, and I loved it so much. “Before Sunset” was very good, too, but it felt a little contrived whereas “Sunrise” just felt spontaneous and beautiful. Wow.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

My birthday hasn’t come around yet in 2004. I’ll be 31 on 12/23.

What is at least one thing that would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Not having to deal with my sister’s ridiculous crap on top of everything else.

Who did you miss the most this year?

My good friend and former co-worker, Tom Johnson. He’s a nut, and I love ‘im, and I miss hanging out with him.

Who was the best new person you met?

No one but Karsten has ever made more of an impression on me in a shorter span of time than has. I was hoping to find good friends this year, and he’s a great find and a definite keeper.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004:

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, keep a brave face, and enjoy yourself every minute you can. Life is short and precious.

(Actually, I’m sure I learned that long before 2004, but it’s a lesson I keep learning again and again.)

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes
You just might find
You get what you need

Hall & Oates Band Blog!

Tuesday, December 14th, 2004

Hey, ! Hey, ! Check it out!

Go to The latest entry is from T-Bone Wolk!

Too bad there’s no RSS feed. I’m too lazy to go out and hunt down a bunch of random blogs for the latest content.

Musical doppelgängers

Sunday, December 12th, 2004

Is it just me, or does Rascal Flatts’ “Bless the Broken Road” sound an awful lot like “I Believe” by Blessid Union of Souls?

Top 10 Cheesy Movie Lines

Friday, December 10th, 2004

Copied from VideoETA’s email newsletter:

‘Titanic’ tops list of cheesiest movie lines

In a poll of 2,000 U.K. moviegoers, British baker Warburtons asked for the most cheesy moments in film. The results are some of Hollywood’s most quoted and annoying movie lines in recent history.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s “I’m the king of the world” line from super-smash hit Titanic was the top vote-getter. Followed by “Nobody puts Baby in the corner” as uttered by Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing.

Here are the top 10 cheesy moments:

  1. Titanic: Leonardo DiCaprio’s “I’m the king of the world!”
  2. Dirty Dancing: Patrick Swayze’s “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”
  3. Four Weddings And A Funeral: Andie McDowell’s “Is it still raining? I hadn’t noticed.”
  4. Ghost: Demi Moore’s “Ditto,” to Patrick Swayze’s “I love you.”
  5. Top Gun: Val Kilmer to Tom Cruise: “You can be my wingman anytime.”
  6. Notting Hill: Julia Roberts’ “I’m just a girl… standing in front of a boy… asking him to love her.”
  7. Independence Day: Bill Pullman’s “Today we celebrate our Independence Day!”
  8. Braveheart: Mel Gibson’s “They may take our lives, but they will not take our freedom!”
  9. Jerry Maguire: Renee Zellweger to Tom Cruise: “You had me at hello.”
  10. The Postman: A blind woman says to Kevin Costner: “You’re a godsend, a savior.” He replies: “No, I’m a postman.”

Warburtons created the list to honor their new line of cheese-flavored crumpets.

Plea for help from Farm Sanctuary

Friday, December 10th, 2004

Authorities recently responded to a cruelty case in Southern California involving nearly 500 animals, including hundreds of farm animals, living in miserable conditions on one acre of property.

In two years, 72-year-old Blackie Blackwell’s “collection” of animals has swollen to include 30 goats, 20-30 geese, 100 ducks, 100 chickens, 228 potbellied pigs, and several cats, dogs, parakeets, and injured wild birds. All are in need of immediate rescue.

The animals are living crowded together in dilapidated, makeshift pens, composed of rotting plywood floorboards, chicken wire, and damaged chain-link fencing. Surrounded by trash and standing in feces, the animals are sick and urgently in need of veterinary care. The ducks, geese and chickens are suffering from multiple bacterial infections and the pigs have a contagious form of mange. Many of the female pigs are also pregnant.

Last month, local Animal Control officers in Wildomar, CA decided to “exterminate” (by shooting) the animals unless they can be rescued.

Help is urgently needed to save these animals from a horrible death and to end their misery.

Mr. Blackwell is a textbook example of an animal “hoarder” or “collector.” Like most hoarders, he could not recognize or refused to acknowledge that the animals were suffering. For more information about hoarding, visit Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine or the New York Humane Association.

At this time, these animals are desperately in need of healthcare treatments, as well as surgeries. Tammy Sandon, who operates the nearby Sandon Shangri-La, Home of All Creatures Big and Small Foundation, learned of this case and has thankfully intervened, along with the help of Farm Sanctuary member Priscilla Gargalis, convincing local officials to allow more time to find foster care and placement for the animals. 40 hens have been placed at Animal Place sanctuary, but the remaining animals must still be removed from Mr. Blackwell’s property as soon as possible.

We need your help!

With the enormous number of animals involved, rescue costs are estimated to total $40,000. We are in need of immediate donations to raise funds for this emergency rescue. Your contribution will pay for: spaying and neutering, treatment for bacterial infections, mange, and other conditions, blood tests for Brucellosis and Pseudorabies required for transport, and transport from Wildomar, California to permanent, lifelong homes.

As we write today, these animals are still living in miserable conditions. . .please help us come to their rescue!

Please call 607-583-2225, ext. 221 with credit card information, mail donations to Farm Sanctuary, P.O. Box 150, Watkins Glen, NY 14891, or use our secure online form to make an emergency donation to fund this and other urgent rescues.

If you are able to temporarily foster any of the animals currently living on Mr. Blackwell’s property, or if you are able to provide a permanent home for one of these very needy animals, please contact our placement coordinator at 607-583-2276 ext. 223 or write to

Are you a veterinarian living in California with experience neutering potbellied pigs and/or goats, or a kind individual with experience handling potbellied pigs, goats, waterfowl, and/or chickens? If so, we need your help! To help us treat these suffering animals and transport them safely to their new homes, please call 607-583-2276 ext. 223 or write to

Farm Sanctuary is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to ending farm animal abuse through direct rescue and protection campaigns. For more information about Farm Sanctuary or our programs, please visit or call 607-583-2225. To become a Farm Sanctuary member or to make a donation today using our secure online form, please click here. For updates on previous action alerts, please click here.

Please forward and distribute widely! Thank you
Farm Sanctuary, P.O. Box 150 Watkins Glen, NY 14891.

Economics lesson: the US deficit

Friday, December 10th, 2004

Want a better understanding of the US deficit? explains here in a highly readable way.


Thursday, December 9th, 2004

Just got back from lunch at Grins with — we are officially Ladies Who Lunch!

What fun! We talked about dog puke, wet tile saws, wakeboarding, people who revel in their own weirdness, New Year’s Eve parties, tight hamstrings, and much much more! Don’t you wish you’d been there? :-)

I’m hoping for many repeat performances. Only perhaps not at Grins. Still, there’s something decidedly right about eating at a kosher restaurant during Hanukkah.

Thanks, ! Like I said yesterday to , anytime you want a lunch buddy, let me know. :-)

Another SB comparison

Thursday, December 9th, 2004

Just got back from the dentist.

I’m sitting there in the chair, the hygienist is working on my teeth, and out of nowhere she sits back with a satisfied look and says “I know who it is! You favor Sandra Bullock a little. Has anyone ever told you that?”

Pardon me while I roll my eyes.

Planning the planning of the plan to plan the plan

Tuesday, December 7th, 2004

We’re about to have a meeting to plan to plan our next release.

No, that wasn’t a typo. The goal of this meeting is to define what our planning phase of the project will look like and how long it will last. The goal of the meeting is not, however, to put together any kind of plan for the project. That comes later. During the planning phase. Which we’re planning to plan in just a few minutes.

OK, I mean, it’s not like I don’t understand why we do this. In an organization of this size, it gets very expensive not to do things right the first time. So the Strategy and Planning department (yes, there’s a whole department for it) puts together guidelines for us to follow on how to manage projects so that they have the best chance of getting done right.

It’s just that it can really seem like overkill. And I know I annoy people around here when I make fun of it, but hell, I’m used to working in software startups, where an enhancement can be dreamed up over morning coffee, mocked up by lunch, and working in the production code by dinner. With maybe some functional specifications (for posterity’s sake) the following week or later, if anyone ever gets around to it.

I’m not saying that’s the best way to develop software, but man, there must be a happy medium.

Web-based PIM with calendar sharing?

Monday, December 6th, 2004

I’ve always loved having everyone at work be able to see my calendar in Outlook and thus, at least in theory, be able to schedule meetings appropriately. (There are plenty of people who don’t bother using this feature and schedule meetings with me over top of other meetings. Annoying.) I can lock down private events if I don’t want the whole world to know what I’m doing.

I would love to be able to do the same thing with my friends and see what they’re up to. Does anyone use a site that allows you to do this?

Here are the use cases I’m envisioning:

  • synchronizing from my PDA to some web-based PIM that includes calendar and address book
  • setting different permissions for different events (like Friends Groups on LJ, or Groups in ACT!) or at least being able to mark events private
  • being able to select some set of friends from my address book and comparing their schedules (just like the meeting function in Outlook)
  • invite friends to a “meeting” or “gathering” or “event” or whatever (like
  • track the responses to the meeting request through the web-based interface (like

Anyone know of anything that fulfills these requirements?

Hair annoyance

Monday, December 6th, 2004

I’m annoyed with my hair. It takes so much effort to make it do anything I like. Isn’t the Sinead O’Connor look old enough now to be retro? Maybe I should consider it. Blah.

Fun night!

Sunday, December 5th, 2004

It’s 3:30 AM, I just got in, and I’m feeling great.

Karsten (, even though he doesn’t use the account) and I met up with tonight at Bar Twenty 3, which is somewhere we’d all been meaning to check out for some time now. It has a reputation as one of the hippest nightspots in town, with some of the most beautiful people in Nashville. It was, indeed, a fun scene, and there were plenty of beautiful people, but it was also a fairly predatory environment: I got felt up several times just walking from the bathroom to the bar.

When we’d had enough of Bar Twenty 3, we decided to head to On The Rocks, where Karsten and I had had such a great time two nights ago. offered that we could park in the Cumulus lot on Music Circle, which is right across the way from Demonbreun. And since we were parking there, also gave us the late night nickel tour of all the radio stations and offices, which was fun and fascinating.

On The Rocks was way too crowded and too loud, so we went to Gravity instead (thanks for the tip, !), which was far less crowded, but still a little loud. At some point during the night, one of us made a reference to pancakes, and I got all crazy about wanting pancakes, so we decided to go to IHOP next. :-)

IHOP was really fun. We could finally talk and joke around without having to yell, and the atmosphere was just the right kind of absurd after the pretentious, yet sexy, ambience of the other three venues. For all its charms, there is nothing sexy about IHOP. ;-)

And I have to say this: is quickly becoming one of my favorite people. He mentioned something at Bar Twenty 3 about having been in town only about six weeks, and I realized we’ve only known each other two or three weeks. Which is weird! Because it really feels like I’ve known him forever.

And I’ll admit this here even though he’ll see it and it’ll go right to his head and he’ll be insufferably egotistical: he’s at least — at least! — the funniest person on his side of the table at IHOP.

Another great thrift score!

Saturday, December 4th, 2004

Goodwill had another 50% off everything sale, so we got there when they opened at 8 AM. Here’s a summary of my haul:

  • black zippered hip-length cardigan with knit belt from Casual Corner (suitable for work) 
  • indigo boot-cut dress pants from Esprit (suitable for work)
  • stretchy gray straight-leg dress pants from The Limited (suitable for work) 
  • ivory sateen straight-leg dress pants from The Limited (suitable for work) 
  • pink/orange/beige paisley print mid-length skirt from Apostrophe (suitable for work) 
  • black nylon/spandex mid-length skirt with abstract white pattern (suitable for work) 
  • gray thick-ribbed fitted sweater with zip-up neckline from Old Navy (casual, but suitable for work) 
  • tan corduruy slim boot-cut pants from Calvin Klein Jeans - new with tags! (possibly suitable for work, but only on particularly casual days) 
  • another pair of tan corduruy boot-cut pants, but with subtle gold sparkles - fun! 
  • denim-like stretchy boot-cut pants from Zara - for wearing out to bars, etc
  • long denim skirt with knee-high side slits from Union Bay
  • dark gray comfy athletic-looking 3/4-length T-shirt with “00″ print on front from Old Navy
  • hot pink and gray plaid flannel micro-mini skirt with sewn-in hot pants from Candie’s - for parties and going out dancing! 
  • black bra - looks brand new!
  • and some children’s books for Karsten

Grand total? $34.05. Whee!

Now I have to go weed out my closet and figure out what’s getting retired. But I always discover new outfits when I do that, so that should be fun.

Friday miscellany: lunch at Baja Fresh / holiday party

Friday, December 3rd, 2004

reported that Baja Fresh may be closing, so I called him and got him to join me and Karsten for a possible farewell Baja Fresh lunch. Well, it was as good an excuse as any for meeting up with him.

Tonight is the holiday party for my contracting company, and I don’t know yet what I’m going to wear. I’ll leave work soonish and go home to rest, and then shower and primp for the big par-tay. They always do a nice do.

Hope everyone else is facing a fun Friday night!

On The Rocks

Friday, December 3rd, 2004

After seeing Lair Morgan, Matt Ramsey and Trevor Rosen at Tequila Reef, I met up with Karsten and told him John Rich (from Big & Rich — he’s the short one in the dark hat) was in On The Rocks, so we popped in there to get a beer and to check out that scene. I happened to end up standing at the bar shoulder-to-shoulder with John Rich, waiting to order a beer, and he let me order my drink first. Very gentlemanly. ;-)

A band called Tennessee Trailer Choir started playing, and John Rich and Karsten and I and half the bar ended up standing around the front of the stage because this band was so amazingly good. They played a cover of “Free Fallin’” that was wonderful, and a cover of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” with an old-school hip hop break in the middle where some guy who was in the audience jumped up on one of the speakers and was given a microphone to rap along with the break.

But when they finished that song, it was after 11, and I was about to turn into a pumpkin. So we headed for home, agreeing that we hoped this was just a taste of what we’ll be able to do on a regular basis someday not too far in the future: hang out ’til late listening to great music, surrounded by colorful people, having a wonderful time.