Thursday, August 30, 2007

Waking Up

At least when I came home, my new MacBook Pro was waiting for me. Ooh. Shiny.

Night Terrors

Boss runs in 20 minutes before I'm ready to leave, declaring a drop everything emergency. A piece of documentation HAS to make it in the next build. Crap.

After running around for 40 minutes and nearly finishing, I learn that this piece of documentation is not required to fix the bug after all, so I didn't have to do anything. Crap.

Nightmare Continues

I was halfway to work this morning when I realized that I left my headphones at home.

Nightmare Begins

The bed collapsed in the middle of the night . . . again.

Monday, August 27, 2007

T Time

I spent the morning revelling in the peace of quiet and solitude. There were no slot machine ringing away; no video screens threatening me with Rita Rudner or Carrot Top visits; no bright lights shining in my face.

Truthfully, I kind of miss it already, but it's great to be home.

Men live by a few simple rules; one of the most important is what goes on the road stays on the road; however, I'm going to share one tale, because it must be told.

If you're looking for a quiet spot to toss back a couple of martinis and reflect on the week, stay the hell away from the Hofbrauhaus. Imagine a giant room full of long tables, and each of those tables contains about 20 or so people, drinking from one liter steins full of beer. It's Vegas, so most people are already gloriously, raucously drunk. Oh, and there's a band playing "Sweet Caroline" and "Summer of '69" between bouts of "Ein Prosit" ( Zicke, zacke, zicke, zacke, hoi, hoi, hoi!) in the corner. And the room's singing along.

The room was full of energy; it was loud. It was crazy. It was a roomful of fools, and apparently, one or more of them needed pitying. Because Mr. T walked in the door.

Yes, Mr. T. Mr. motherfucking T.

At first, no one noticed, he walked in with a small entourage and took the seat next to us. I'm ashamed to admit that he walked right past me, and while I thought he looked familiar, I didn't recognize him (I just finished one of those steins and was starting on the second). But someone did, becuase I soon heard the buzz: "Mr. T! Mr. T!"

The house got wind of the celebrity and decided to celebrate, because the next thing I know, the house band is playing the theme to the A-Team, and Mr. T runs up on stage and danced along to it. Afterwards, he returned to the table and continued partying with his friends.

We moved on to further adventures in a sleep-deprived weekend.

And so, I add Mr. T to the top of my list of celebrity encounters. Seeing Mr. T in Vegas is far more interesting than pissing next to Bob Costas and not nearly as awkward as realizing that Bobby Bonilla was sitting next to me at a strip club.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Viva Las Vegas

I'm off to the happiest place on Earth for a few days of drunken debauchery and donkey poker for this guy. I'll be back Sunday.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Burger Reconstructed

I woke up Saturday with a spring in my step and a song in my heart; it was going to be a lazy Saturday. We had no plans; I could sit around in my shorts, drinking beer and slowly feel my brains ooze out of my ears while watching bad television all day.

Unfortunately, I failed to consult all the stakeholders in this particular plan, so an hour later, I was busy vacuuming the house after putting clothes away.

In any case, I wasn’t complaining; I still had a plan. I still had outs. I was going to wait until later in the day and fire up the grill.

As I sit and enjoy an early-evening summer breeze, burgers would be cooking not three feet from me, and nothing goes better with grilling than an ice-cold beer.

However, fate decided to go ahead and kick me in the shins once again.

I pulled the meat out of the freezer only to discover that the bag had split open, leaving a chunk of meat freezer burned. No problem; I could just toss that small piece after it thaws. After wrapping the meat in plastic, I dropped it in cold water to speed the thawing process . . .

. . . only to discover, 30 or so minutes later, that water had seeped into the plastic and waterlogged the ground beef.

Now I had soaked ground beef, and worse, the water washed away a lot of the juice from the beef. So we had cold, flavor-free beef soup. Not appetizing.

I considered going out, but I wanted to grill, dammit! I needed a plan . . .

Basically, the hamburger meat needed something to help it bind together, and some fat to replace the washed-away fat. I decided on a mixture of breadcrumbs and butter. The butter would replace some of the lost fat and the breadcrumbs would bind the meat together. And if it didn’t work, then what the hell? McDonald’s wasn’t that far off. After adding my patented mixture of garlic powder, kosher salt, pepper, onions and cayenne, I was ready for the experiment to continue.

Surprisingly, the grilling went fairly well. There was some flaring due to the butter content, but the burgers held together very well. However, due to crumbling fears, I decided to cook them up to medium-well to well done instead of my usual medium-rare.

The results?

Not bad. Not good, but not bad. The breadcrumbs gave the burgers an almost meatloaf-like consistency, which we didn’t really enjoy much, but the flavor was fine. Next time, I might use fewer breadcrumbs.

Or not dowse the beef in water without making sure it’s better sealed first. Or just not get out of bed in the first place.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Four days ago, I quit drinking soda. Four days. Four whole days. Ninety-six hours. For some of you, this might not seem too long. "Four days is nothing," you think, smugly sitting back and sipping at your Corona.

Well, for me, it's a nightmare. For a long time, I drank soda like it was water. I finally switched to diet about 10 years ago when I discovered that drinking a case of regular soda a week was a bad idea. Perhaps diet soda is as well, but in any case, I drink too damn much of the stuff. So I let it go.

And after the shakes passed on Monday, things weren't too bad. I apologized to one of the women I work with after I threw a stapler at her when she said good morning, and she seemed okay with it. (I'm not too worried - I'm so totally in with HR these days. After our fourth "discussion" about my temper, we're tight.)

Okay. I didn't throw a stapler. But I gave her a dirty look. And boy, it was a mean one.

But you know what makes a cranky mood really take off? Another crank. Fortunately, I met one today.

I was sitting around the Honda dealer, waiting for my car to be fixed. (Apparently, you have to actually CHANGE the oil in those things . . . who knew?) There were five of us sitting in the waiting room, all reading, as Judge Judy fumigated her wisdom upon several unsuspecting plaintiffs and defendants. And again, I'd like to point out for the record that everyone in the room was reading a book, magazine or newspaper. (I was also glancing at the soda machine, wondering if I could somehow reach inside it and get a Diet Pepsi out).

A young guy walked in, sat down and started reading himself. He glanced at the TV, then asked if anyone was watching it. Most everyone either nodded no or said so. The young guy stood up and turned off the television. As he sat down, he said "Now we can all read in peace."

"What's this all about?" piped up the older man sitting next to me.

The young guy said "I just figured since everyone was reading, I'd turn off the television. It was distracting."

"So you just decided this for all of us," the old man kind of growled, kind of sneered.

Already thinking of running up to the soda machine and shaking it until a sweet, sweet Diet Pepsi came out, I realized this horse's ass was annoying me. He'd been reading his paper. He wasn't watching television. Besides that, he should be thanking the kid for turning Judge Judy off. I could actually feeling the room growing smarter. On top of this, I was already jonesing for a soda, and his "speaking up" for my rights pissed me off.

"He asked if anyone was watching it. No one said they were. If you have such a big problem with it, then turn it back on. Otherwise, shut up." I said. The woman across from me nodded emphatically.

The old man kind of harumphed and growled then went back to his paper. A few minutes later, he finished the story he was reading and started pacing the room like an old, toothless caged lion, since I guess he figured we literary types weren't down with his "TV".

He left when his car was finished, with a final glare at the rest of us.

I guess someone else being cranky brings out my competitive nature. I'm not sure I would have said anything otherwise. Perhaps I would have been nicer. All I know is that I wasn't going to let someone out-crank me today.