Journal Entry: July 21, 2008

Thursday night, T– went to a church picnic with K– and N– (footage is available on her blog). I wasn’t feeling up to pretending to be friendly with churchfolk, so I opted out. Instead, D– and I grabbed a pizza from Falcone’s, and took it over to B– and E–‘s place.

You know, I really need to spend more time with them. We had a great evening. D– worked on B–‘s computer, I borrowed a couple of books from E–, and we watched Shakes the Clown. That was my first time seeing it. Just…bizarre. Hilarious, but bizarre.

Amazingly, B– failed to get us all smashed this time, so we made it home at a reasonable time without too much drunkenness. I think it was about 10:30 when I got in.

Friday was my RDO. I slept in, then spent the morning working on a writing project (and chatting with my little sister about her book-in-progress). Then in the afternoon I mostly lazed around the living room. T– did the same. We went to On the Border for lunch, and probably went out for dinner, but I don’t remember where. Friday evening just sort of melted by. We finished off Arrested Development, though.

Then, around 10:00, D– showed up and he and I went to see Get Smart. It was everything I hoped it would be. I also rushed home and added Get Smart: The Complete Original Series to the top of my queu on Blockbuster. It appears to come all on one disc. I’m baffled.

Saturday morning T– woke me up at the unthinkable hour of 8:30 so she could go shopping with N–. I watched AB for most of the morning, then D– called and asked if we wanted to go to the bagel place for lunch, and naturally we agreed. I have something against letting T– use our kitchen. I dunno. Right afterward we dropped AB off with the babysitter at our place, then we went up to the mall and got in line for The Dark Knight.

While D– and I held out spot, T– went shopping in the mall and got our niece a birthday present. Then, forty minutes in or so, K– and N– joined us, and a few minutes after that they opened the doors. The movie was pretty much fantastic. An artistic vision. It was dark — you’ll be amazed how much so — but the story was well told.

It was longer than any of us expected, too. We got out of the theater right at 5:00, and we had dinner plans with the Vickis — friends of ours from high school, plus their husbands. We went back to the house and T– got started grilling while I ran to the store for some last minute groceries. By the time I got back, the guests were well installed in our house.

We ate, we talked much and browsed nearly all of T–‘s scrapbooks. Then D– showed up (around 10:00, once again), and we talked some more, then we turned on the Wii and bowled some and golfed some and then we spent twenty minutes browsing YouTube. We finished up with some Christopher Walken from SNL, and it was after midnight by the time they left (and they had a drive back to Tulsa still ahead of them, the poor souls).

Over-socialized and late-to-bed, I slept in and skipped church Sunday morning. D– called and asked about lunch and he and I ended up picking up Taco Bueno for everyone. Afterward he went home for a nap, AB went down for a nap, and T– got on her computer to take care of some work stuff. Free to spend my time however I pleased, I decided (for some reason) to work on my To Do list.

I hung a picture in my office (an old drawing of a red fox that I’ve had forever, that T– had framed for me as a gift), replaced a burnt-out lightbulb outside the front door, cleared out some overgrown shrubs in a flowerbed, sawed some dead limbs out of the swinging tree in our back yard, moved some of AB’s baby stuff into storage in the attic, cleaned up my office workspace, and then enlisted T–‘s help and we hosed down the woodwork on the front of the house and gave it a thorough scrubbing. That last was an amazingly successful project. The house looks a lot better than it has since we moved in.

That list of chores took up all of Sunday afternoon. When AB got up from her nap, we took her with us to Wal-Mart to take care of some business there (shopping for a nephew’s birthday present, and getting a new key to the Tulsa house), and then we picked up some dinner from Popeye’s on the way home. That was an awful experience. They overcharged us, made us place our entire order twice, made us wait twenty minutes for our food, and then gave us the wrong food and none of the drinks we’d paid for. Ugh. Then T– tried to call the customer service number on the receipt, to place a complaint, and found it out of order.

The chicken was good enough, though, and afterward we watched Hot Rod (which I enjoyed more than T– did), and then got to bed at a reasonable hour.

There’s my weekend. We may have some developments on the Tulsa house (nothing to open champagne bottles over, but good news nonetheless), but I’ll wait until I’m clearer on the details before sharing that.

Journal Entry: July 16, 2008

My back hurts, and I’m tired all the time.

I try not to spend all my time on this blog complaining, but that’s a one-two punch right there that can really get a fella down. Ugh.

Last night I got home from work and we went to the gym. The weights area was crowded and, as I said, my back was hurting, so I just skipped that and did the cardio. T– suggested that we do the elliptical machines, since they might be easier on the back (and she was very, very wrong). I found myself falling back into my old pace, though, which is a pretty grueling one. I was impressed to learn I can still keep that up, and in fact my heart rate never got into the red (where it used to stay for 25 of the 30-minute workout). So that was good.

Afterward, I dropped her off at home so she could mow the lawn, and I took AB up to the mall to pick up another month’s worth of protein shake mix, and while I was out I dropped off a check and picked up some dinner. Then we watched Arrested Development until AB went to bed, and then some Boston Legal until we went to bed.

There was an episode all about “On Civil Disobedience” by Thoreau, but they never actually made any reference to it, which thoroughly dumbfounded me. I don’t know if they really did come up with the concept on their own, and are ignorant of the text, or if there are some glaring flaws in his philosophy that they didn’t want to subject themselves to. It was strange, though, seeing such an explicit allusion in a show that almost always names its sources, and then getting only a reference to some anti-Communist piece during Allan’s closing.

I definitely need to reread “Civil Disobedience,” though. It was good material.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: Nickipendence Day 2008

If you check the “My Favorites” links over on the right, you can find picture (and video) illustration of pretty much all the following events. It was a friend-heavy weekend, so all of my friends are chronicling the same things.

Anyway, last Thursday night T– and I went to the gym fairly early, then got home to meet D–, who brought some BWW for dinner. D– had picked up a Sony Handycam camcorder as T–‘s birthday present (that he, his mom, and I had all gone in on), and we went ahead and gave it to her three weeks early so that she could get some footage of N–‘s birthday party on Friday. So we presented that to her, and she was suitably astonished. D– and I played several rounds of Heroscape while T– played with her new camera, and then we watched some TV.

Friday morning I woke up a little before nine, and T– and I ran up to Barnes and Noble to get the rest of N–‘s birthday present. Then…well, somehow by that point it was already 11:15, so we headed over to K– and N–‘s for her birthday party.

Everybody was there. Everybody. We had a delicious lunch, and the kids played in a bouncy castle that they’d rented for the party (so cool), and then we played some party games before all the babies started crying for naps. It was probably two-ish when the party broke up.

We stopped by D–‘s apartment and grabbed his new Fourth Edition D&D books on the drive home, and started working on making up some characters. Nap-time called, though, and we all dozed for most of the afternoon. Evening rolled around, I roused myself enough to order some pizzas, and we finally got around to filling out some character sheets.

It took several hours. The process is enough changed from previous editions and, more significantly, the entire Players Handbook describes the process of character creation. You can’t just turn to pages 20-24 and go through the process. There’s bits scattered throughout the book. Once we know what’s needed, it will actually be a quicker process than Second Edition character creation (and way quicker than the Third Editions), but our first two characters took all night.

Saturday morning AB woke up before T– or I. We were both laying in bed, not ready to get up, and AB was screaming in her room. I decided that, if T– would go ahead and get up (and let me sleep for another half hour or so), I would mow the front yard for her when I did get up. I was about to say as much out loud, when she threw back the covers and went to get AB. I rolled over and went back to sleep.

I finally got up around 9:30, and decided to honor my deal. T– put AB down for her morning nap and she went to the grocery store while I mowed. Then I went out back and, using my newly reacquired drill (K– had been borrowing it), I installed a waterhose hanger on the back of the house. T– had picked it up a couple months ago, and it’s a really nice one. Only took about five minutes to hang, but that’s the first time I’ve ever used a mortar bit or (most terrifying) drilled into the facade of my house. Everything went fine, though.

Sometime in the afternoon I got online and checked out our bank account, and discovered we didn’t have nearly enough money. Ugh. Between all the car problems over the last week and several big purchases, I’d kind of lost track of money running total, and here we are in trouble again. I hate that.

Anyway, I spent most of the afternoon working on our finances, trying to figure out when to pay what and what we should expect in terms of budget stuff. No fun, but I think I’ve got it mostly ironed out.

Saturday evening, T– had plans to go hang out with Rebecca, so I stayed home with AB. T– left about 6:00, had dinner at Chili’s, and then watched Get Smart with Rebecca. I’m jealous.

I didn’t spend the evening alone, though. K– and N– called, and I asked them to come help me with the baby. AB was easier than I expected, though, so they were mostly just there to keep me company. We had Olive Garden (they picked some up To Go), and watched 21, which was an entertaining flick. It had some pretty stupid plot holes, but it was still a fun hour and a half.

By the end of the movie, AB was in bed for the night. K– and N– went home, and I spent a couple hours reading Cat Who until T– got home, then I went to bed a little bit before midnight.

Sunday morning we went to church, and then El Chico for lunch with K– and N–. Afterward, AB and I took naps while T– went swimming with N– at my little sister’s community pool. Then Josh stopped in (he’d been in Tulsa for the weekend), and we watched Family Guy and talked for a couple hours before he headed back home to Little Rock.

Then T– and I headed to Edmond for small groups. K– and N– didn’t make it, so it was the rest of the young couples group (or whatever we’re called) at Brent and Celia’s, and AB running all over the place. Between chasing AB and social anxiety stuff (I am not comfortable among these folks), I had a terrible time. It was a nice enough evening, but I’m just not wired that way.

We got home around 8:30, and T– put AB down while I went back to my office just to be alone with my breakdown. I got over it soon enough, though, and T– and I watched three episodes of Boston Legal, and finally went to bed at 11:00.

Then, I couldn’t sleep. I lay in bed for about half an hour, then got up and played some video games for an hour or so, and came back and still couldn’t sleep. It was not a pleasant night.

I was a little late getting up this morning, but nothing near as bad as last Monday. Got to work, and it’s been a pretty nice day, in spite of the long night.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: June 30, 2008

We spent Friday evening with D– and his mom.

They came over shortly after I got home from work. We placed a take-out order at Abuelo’s, then D– and I ran up to a liquor store for a box of Chardonnay, grabbed a bag of ice so we could play MythBusters, and then picked up the food.

Dinner, of course, was delicious. As far as the MythBusters thing went, we took the plastic inner bag out of the wine box (which contains the actual wine) and soaked it in a bath of ice-cold saltwater. That’s supposed to be the fastest way to bring a liquid beverage down to chilly temperatures without access to a chemistry lab.

It worked…pretty well. Ten minutes in or so, it was about as cold as several hours in the fridge could have achieved. D– and I had several large glasses, and his mom had more than one.

We talked a lot, listened to some music, and then ended up playing Karaoke Revolution for several hours. It was nearly one in the morning by the time they left.

Saturday morning I woke up late (of course), and went with T– to [somewhere] to shop for [something] for [s–‘s] birthday. It’s all terribly hush-hush, so I can’t tell you any more than that.

Then I spent the afternoon working on the house. I replaced the tub faucet (which had a faulty shower diverter), I rewired the light-switch in our master bath so that the light doesn’t have to be on to provide power to the switch, and while I was at it I replaced the regular outlet there with a GFCI outlet, just because.

I also discovered that I’d lost my drill, and spent most of the next 24-hours in mourning, and then learned all of a sudden that K– has been borrowing my drill for a couple weeks now. So that’s all taken care of.

Saturday evening T– had a crop to attend, and we’d discussed doing a guys’ night at County Line BBQ, but K– ended up working most of the weekend, and B– was out in San Francisco all of Friday and most of Saturday, so when he got in he wasn’t really up to doing much. So it ended up being just D– and me.

We went to see Wanted which would have been a pretty cool movie (albeit cheesy in a Fantasy Action flick kind of way) except that the main character is a total dumbass and the character playing him is a major loser — you end up hating every moment that he’s on screen. And, him being the main character, that was something of a problem.

After the movie, we grabbed some Freddy’s for dinner, then went to D–‘s apartment and watched another awful movie: The Covenant. This one was somewhat intentional — it struck me as the same basic story, except with warlocks instead of assassins. A better description, now that I’ve seen it, would be The Craft with dudes. It was not good.

To make up for all the terrible movieage, we went up to Henry Hudsons for a few drinks, and that was pretty fun. I get home a little bit before one in the morning.

Yesterday morning, quite unintentionally, I slept through church. T– came home right after and called out to ask if I was awake, and I discovered then, at 11:40, that the answer was no. She also mentioned that K– and N– were coming over for lunch, so I jumped up and grabbed a really quick shower.

We went to Jersey Mike’s for lunch, which I had just told D– I didn’t like, but once we got there I discovered I’d been thinking of Winston McDougals, and Jersey Mike’s is quite all right. So there’s a little story for you.

After lunch, K– and N– went home to take naps, and I went home and should have, but instead I watched a ton of Boston Legal with T–, and then suddenly it was 6:00 and D– showed up for dinner and a few minutes later K– and N– showed. T– made some great sloppy joes, and I made salsa, and after dinner we watched an 80’s movie, because we were all gathered together.

This time it was one of K–‘s picks, and we chose Bladerunner over Tron in a split decision. Mostly, it made me want to read the book. The premise was great, but I felt like they left out most of the action inherent in the story so that they could focus more directly on the malaise and inner turmoil — two things that don’t translate well to the TV screen, even if they were central to the written work.

It was fun, though. Our guests cleared out right around nine, and T– and I watched three more episodes of Boston Legal before we finally gave up and went to bed. I had a lot of trouble falling asleep, though, and it was probably around one in the morning before I finally drifted off.

Then I slept late again this morning. Very late. I think it may be a side effect of some painkillers I’m taking for my lower back, but it’s more likely the result of all those ones in the morning. Either way, it’s a nuisance. Hopefully I’ll be back on schedule tomorrow morning.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: Father’s Day

This was Father’s Day weekend, and we treated it with the respect and gravity such a significant holiday deserves.

On Friday, T– and I went to dinner at Ole (temporarily my favorite Mexican restaurant, for set-up anyway), and then went back home to wait for her parents to show up. They got in around 7:30, and we talked for a while. We had made tentative plans to go out for a movie Friday night (and let her parents act as babysitters), but T– was concerned they would get bored, showing up so close to AB’s bedtime.

Well, first thing after they came in the door, T– suggested we go ahead and do Father’s Day, so she gave John and I our cards, and handed out presents. John got the first three seasons of Hill Street Blues on DVD, and I got a wireless mouse I wanted and a 3 pound bag of super Twizzlers. The bag is almost as long as AB is tall. Seriously.

Anyway, after that we discussed the movie situation (we had a coupon for free movie, drink, and popcorn that was set to expire that day), and T–‘s parents told her she was being silly. So they stayed home and watched Hill Street Blues while we went to watch Kung-Fu Panda.

Fantastic movie. Probably my favorite Pixar movie. Hilarious, with a strongly developed storyline (even for some of the secondary and tertiary characters), good action and great dialogue. And Jack Black, of course, is awesome. There is no charge for awesomeness.

Even though we picked the 90-minute movie, though, it was after midnight when we got home, so naturally I slept in on Saturday. Still, I had to get to the gym before going over to K– and N–‘s for lunch, and it was set to be an early lunch, so I was up by 8:00, and as I was heading for the door, T– brought up several complications that delayed my leaving by another 15 minutes. I also ended up tasked with getting a coolerful of foods to K– and N–‘s place, when we didn’t really have enough ice to keep it cold.

So I called them both but, it being so early, got no answer. I went ahead and went to the gym (which is right by their place), and about 30 minutes in, just as I finished my strength training, K– called me back and said, sure, I could come by early and dump some food in their fridge.

I went ahead and left then, took the food over and dropped it off, and then decided to try running in their neighborhood instead of going back to the gym. I had been wondering for a while how well my training would translate into real-world running, and it seemed like a good chance to try it out.

There are a few things I hadn’t considered, like the fact that the outdoors isn’t at all air conditioned, and that everyone in the neighborhood was out mowing that morning (which meant a nasty allergy attack). Worst of all, though, I’d never realized their house had been built in the midst of a damn mountain range. What’s a man to do?

No, really, I haven’t been using any incline when I’ve been doing my running on the treadmill, and even the slight elevation of their neighborhood was enough to knock me back a couple weeks in my training. No problem. I’ll go back to the gym tonight, get back in where I’m supposed to be (week 5, day 2), and finish up my training in the gym. At week 9, I should be running 25-30 minutes at a time, and then I can start fancying it up, gradually adding things like incline and increasing my speed. That’s really been my plan all along.

Anyway, lunch was delicious, burgers and dogs, and we had a fun crowd. Afterward we took AB home for a nap and sat around talking for a while, then headed out to do some shopping (Wal-Mart and Michaels, oh joy), and then out to a kitschy Americana restaurant called Pops! for dinner.

It was good. We had an hour wait which was brutal, but the food was good and the place had a fun feel to it. It was far enough out there, though, that it was easily AB’s bedtime by the time we got home. I spent a couple hours played AoC while we watched some more Hill Street Blues, and then got to bed around 1:00.

Sunday morning we went to church, and then T– grilled up some steaks for us for lunch. They were fantastic. After that, I spent pretty much the entire afternoon playing AoC. Her parents headed home around 2 or 3, and we ordered pizza for dinner sometime around 6 (and it was delicious), but pretty much the whole time I was on the couch playing AoC.

Overall, definitely a relaxing Father’s Day. A great weekend all around, really. Thanks to those who made it so.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: 80’s Movies Spectacular

Yesterday for lunch, as has become my ritual, I went to Buffalo Wild Wings for some cheap boneless wings and some AoC on the laptop. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the wireless network on. I’ll give them another week to see if they fix that nonsense, and then I just may cancel my ritual. Jerks.

I’d had the presence of mind to bring a book, though, so it wasn’t a bad lunch. And the chicken, of course, was delicious.

Then after work I took AB to the gym, and T– stayed home to get some work done (she’s been in a frenzy all week, getting ready for her parents to come visit). After strength training, I did the first day of week 5 in my running program, and it went really well. The second day is going to be tough, and the third is going to be a nightmare, but I’m anxious to see if I can manage it (this is the first week that the various days involve different requirements).

Anyway, after the gym, I got home to find K– and N– already there, and D– showed up shortly with a big batch of boneless wings from Buffalo Wild Wings. (Yes, I did know that we’d be having the same thing for dinner, and no, I didn’t mind at all.) I suggested that we watch the next movie in our 80’s marathon, and we settled on Flight of the Navigator, one of N–‘s picks.

Okay, here’s the thing with that. D– suggested over dinner a couple months ago that we should spend the summer watching our favorite movies from the 80’s.

The idea evolved gradually. We started out with a pretty simple rule: our “favorites” should be movies that we liked during the 80’s, not just movies made in the 80’s that we like now. The reason being, movies that we like now (with the availability of DVDs and whatnot), we watch pretty frequently. Not a season goes by that I don’t watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and usually some subset of this group of friends is forced to sit through it with me. Same goes for The Three Amigos and any of the Fletch movies.

So, 80’s movies that we liked back in the 80’s. When we started throwing out names, there were way too many, so we decided on 3 movies apiece. Some negotiations were made whenever more than one of us wanted to pick the same movie, so that those with longer lists wouldn’t have as much difficulty narrowing it down.

And then, as we got further into the selection process, it became more of an evangelistic endeavor. When K– said, “Well, there’s Tron,” and I said, “Never seen it,” and he said, “You’ve never seen it?!?!” like that, well, he had to pick Tron because, come on, everyone should see Tron.

So that pretty much became the next major rule: out of our lists of childhood favorites, we narrowed it down by polling everyone to find out how many people had never seen each film. We’re not required to pick the least viewed films, but we’re using that as one of our selection criteria.

Anyway, T– hasn’t settled definitely on her 3 yet, but she’s hoping her parents’ visit this weekend will help spark her memory. Once that’s done, we’re going to go through a voting process to determine the viewing order, but so far I’ve just been using the right of imminent domain (we’ve watched all the movies at my house) to pick the ones I thought we should see.

The list we have so far (not including T–‘s) goes, in no particular order:
The Abyss (N–‘s pick. 2 people have never seen it)
Adventures in Babysitting (My pick. 2 people have never seen it)
An American Tale (N–‘s pick. 1 person has never seen it)
Bladerunner (K–‘s pick. 3 people have never seen it)
Field of Dreams (N–‘s pick. 1 person has never seen it — me)
Flight of the Navigator (N–‘s pick. 2 people had never seen it)
Goonies (D–‘s pick. 2 people had never seen it)
Ladyhawke (My pick. 2 or 3 people have never seen it)
The Last Starfighter (My pick. 2 people have never seen it)
The Lost Boys (D–‘s pick. 3 people have never seen it)
Real Genius (My pick. 2 people have never seen it)
Running Man (K–‘s pick. 2 people have never seen it)
Tron (K–‘s pick. 2 people have never seen it)
Young Guns (D–‘s pick. 3 people have never seen it)

There’s an extra movie in there for me (Ladyhawke) and N– (An American Tale). We haven’t fully narrowed down our lists to three yet. I toyed with suggesting that we expand our selections to our favorite four movies, but then I looked at a calendar, and realized that would stretch our summer to the end of October.

We’re sort of watching a movie every Saturday night that we’re all in town (T– and I being the ones most often missing). I like Thursdays, too, but it can be tough to talk K– and N– into staying out too late on a school night. Luckily, 80’s movies tend to be in the 75-90 minute range, instead of the 2 hour plus stuff we’re making today.

Anyway, that’s our 80’s movie thing. Now you know what’s going on. We watched Flight of the Navigator last night, and it was pretty good. I can definitely see why kids would have loved it back then. I was pretty critical of it during the movie, but that was the Crown Royal talking.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry: June 2, 2008

Thursday afternoon, on my way home from work, I stopped at Ace Hardware to pick up a new garage door opener remote for T– (one of our old ones just stopped working, and new batteries didn’t fix it). It was cheaper than I’d expected, and I’d figured I would have to order it online, so all in all, it was a pleasant surprise. Worked right away, too.

Anyway, I got home about 5:00 and found T– working in the yard. I set up the new remote, then took AB to the gym so T– could finish up her work.

I met K– and N– there, and N– suggested a new ab workout that might not leave me quite so exhausted as the hanging leg raises (and she was right), but it works muscles I haven’t really been working before and, yeah, I spent all day Friday cursing her name.

After weight training, though, K– and I did the second day of week 4 from my jogging program, and I saw a definite improvement. On day 1 I’d extended the last walking break by 30 seconds just to get through the final jogging bit. We didn’t do that Wednesday, and it was still overall easier. That was rewarding. Now I’ve taken a four day break, and the strain in ankle seems to be all better, so I’m hoping I can finish out the week strong, today.

After the gym K– and N– went home to grab some dinner, and I picked up some Bueno for us, then I grabbed a quick shower before I ate. Right around the time I finished, D– and K– and N– showed up, and we all watched the season finale of Lost. Good stuff. It ran until 10:30, though, since we were watching it DVRed, so I headed to bed as soon as everyone left.

Friday, I came in to work for the morning, then left at 11:00 to pick up T– and the baby and head for Little Rock. Mom hadn’t been able to make it to town the last couple times Dad came, so she hadn’t seen the baby in over a month (and, as a result, was starting to get panicky). We had actually promised to go up to Little Rock for Memorial Day, thinking it was this weekend, and had to cancel on that for K–‘s birthday party (among other things).

Anyway, we made good this weekend. We made it to Mom and Dad’s place around 5:30, and sat and talked for a while while Dad heated up the grill, then Mom and I ran up to a liquor store to pick up some wine for dinner while Dad grilled the steaks. Sirloins and filets mignonnes, my favorites.

Dinner was awesome. Getting to see my parents was cool. I ended up spending most of the evening downstairs with Dad, him playing WoW and me playing AoC. Finally gave up about 11:00 to head to bed.

Saturday morning, Mom took T– and AB to the Little Rock zoo. I slept in. Around 10:00, I finally got up and stumbled downstairs, and Dad offered to take me out to breakfast. We went to IHOP, and took along his laptop so we could discuss my markup of his novel. It was fun. We were also leisurely about it, so when Mom and T– called us around 11:30 asking about lunch plans, we had to admit that we were only halfway done with our breakfasts. They settled for Wendy’s, and we went out for an early dinner later in the afternoon.

Meantime, though, we went back to the house and watched Stranger than Fiction, which I had lent them because Mom had never seen it. She finally got around to it on Saturday, and we all watched with her. Such a good movie.

Then we went out to dinner. The plan was to visit a dive of a pizza joint that Mom and Dad had heard much about, but when we got there found it “Closed for Marcus’s Graduation! Congrats, Marcus!” or something to that effect.

So we went way out of town to some other pizza place that Mom and Dad like, but they weren’t offering the buffet because it was Saturday, so we tried the nearby barbecue place, and found it closed (with chains across the entry drive), and by that time there was much talk of a dinnertime curse. Josh mentioned another barbecue place Dad had twice tried to take him to (on Mother’s Day and Memorial Day) and it had been closed both times. I’d been there before, and it’s some fantastic barbecue, so I petitioned for that, and eventually we drove the twenty minutes back into town — probably nearly an hour of driving around trying to find places, total — and ended up at Whole Hog less than a mile from my parents’ house. It was good, though. So good.

Then Josh and Dad and I spent the rest of the evening downstairs, playing games and working on Josh’s laptop (which is having some weird problems). I played Mom’s WoW account for a couple hours and it was a strange experience. It hasn’t been that long since I’ve played, but playing another game with only-slightly-different-controls since then made the whole thing a bizarre experience.

Sunday morning we went to church, and in class we talked about raising children (and how much different it was in the good old day), and I objected to nearly every point the guy was making through the first half of the lesson, but I didn’t feel like derailing the discussion just to bring up my objections. Besides, he had the whole class on his side, so it would have been a hard-fought debate and I wouldn’t have won.

Then the sermon was on the passage in Matthew where Jesus suggests cutting off your arm if it causes you to sin…and I gained a flash of insight (entirely unrelated to the preacher’s take on that passage) that made good sense of the passage for the first time, to me. I’ll probably write up a little sermon of my own on the topic to post up here, today or sometime this week.

Then Mom and Dad took me to lunch at P F Chang’s, because they finally got one in Little Rock and they know it’s one of my favs. It was delicious, too. Then it was already 2:00 by the time we got home, and a storm was rolling in, and we had a five to six hour drive ahead of us, and it was time to go. We packed our stuff, said goodbyes, waited out a major downpour, and got out the door at 3:00.

As part of a complicated favor for my sister’s in-laws (who are good friends of my parents’), we’d agreed to drive the in-laws’ minivan from my parents’ house to OKC. So T– took the minivan (and AB, thankfully), and I drove the Honda back home. As a result, I got a long stretch of alone time, and nothing to do but think.

I listened to all three of my French CDs (Patricia Kaas’s Tour de Charme, George Brassens’s Les Copains d’Abord (1 de 2), and Francis Cabrel’s Samedi Soir Sur la Terre). I haven’t listened to them in at least a year — it’s generally only on long drives like this that I do. I love songs on each of them.

Actually, Cabrel has a song, Je t’Aimais, Je t’Aime, et Je t’Aimerais (which means “I loved you, I love you, and I will go on loving you”) that is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard. It may be my favorite song. Right now it is, anyway.

But I got home and looked up the lyrics, because I can only translate so much of that at high speeds, and one of the lines that I’d thought was “nous se regardait” meaning “we watched it all happening” (which, I now realize, would have to be conjugated “nous se regardions”), instead appears to be “nu sur les galets” which, close as I can tell, means “naked on wheels.”

That’s not quite the same romantic imagery as the rest of the song. Maybe there’s some prettier way to translate it.

Anyway, “naked on wheels” or not, it’s a beautiful song.

Also, I noticed that dude uses the word “tellement” (“too much”) in every single song on the CD. Odd.

But, yeah, we made good time despite the storm and got in around 8:30. We had some dinner, I got some stuff ready for work this morning, and then it was already time for bed. That’s a weekend come and gone.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.

Journal Entry

Wednesday, October 17th
Last Wednesday I got sick.

Well, on my drive home from work, I got a call from K– asking if I could help him try something out on D–‘s 360 (which was temporarily sheltering at my house) when I got home. I did, and the long and the short of it is that he and I spent all evening playing Halo 3 over the network. That was a lot of fun.

Meanwhile, the minute I walked in the door T– asked if she could just order pizza for dinner, and I met that suggestion with enthusiastic agreement, but as the night wore on she kept second-guessing herself and thinking something else might be tastier than pizza. I never disagreed, and in the end she so-kindly offered to go pick up some Braums for us both, and left me home with a sleeping AB, which also let me keep killing alien scum with K–.

She brought me a burger deal and a medium chocolate malt, and it was all (of course) delicious. She stole some of my fries, but by the time I was done I didn’t much mind because I could tell I’d had way too much malt, anyway. I felt over full, and kinda queasy, and that didn’t go away as T– and I watched Heroes (or something of the sort). I stretched out on the floor, and as soon as the show was over, I went to bed.

Thursday, October 18th
That’s weird, see, because it was relatively early and I didn’t have to be up on time Thursday, because I had a doctor’s appointment. Still, I felt sick, so I went to bed early assuming it would pass and I’d feel fine by the time I woke up. Somehow, though, I didn’t. I woke up feeling worse than I had the night before. I was queasy, and my stomach hurt.

I got dressed around 8:30, and headed up to my doctor’s office at 9:30. The appointment was just a follow-up to my annual exam that I got a month ago. He wanted to discuss my labs (fantastic), and see how the blood pressure medication was going (really good). It was definitely a positive review, but while I was there I mentioned the nausea and he noticed (and commented) that I was feverish, so he went ahead and prescribed a nausea medication for me, along with my BP refills.

The day just got worse from there. I spent the next eight hours in bed or in the bathroom. Around 6:30 I finally felt up to going out in the living room to lie on the couch for a couple hours, and I watched some of our Thursday night sitcoms with T–, then went back to bed by 9:30.

Friday, October 19th
Friday, I was back at work. I still felt a little off, but nothing like Thursday had been. I made it through the day at work, then went home to watch some TV with T–. I also did some of my homework for the week, and I worked on some music stuff on my computer while T– was pushing AB in the backyard. Just a general sort of busy afternoon/evening, while we waited for T–‘s parents to show up.

D– and K– and N– went out to Kang’s for sushi and karaoke for the night. They wanted me to come along. I kinda wish I could have, because I like spending time with all three of those people, but I don’t like doing either of those other two things, so it wasn’t too bad. We talked with T–‘s parents for a couple hours, then everyone went to bed.

Oh! I also got a new game running sometime in there, and started playing Portal. It’s awesome. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, October 20th
Saturday was supposed to be a Fall Festival at the park across the street from our house, and T– had big plans for it, but when we finally got everyone ready to go and drove over there, we saw the sign indicating that the Festival was, in fact, next weekend. No good. So we went garage saling instead. We ended up splitting up, and John and I went down to the south end of town to check out a hobby shop while T– and her mom went to the mall to buy some shoes.

Just as we got to the hobby shop, I got a call from Dad about his writing project. He’d hit his first big speedbump, and he was worrying about the implications of it. Luckily, the only reason he’s hitting it now (instead of this time next month) is because I’d predicted that sort of thing could happen, and I set him an assignment to help him track it down now. That worked out even better than I expected.

Anyway, we talked for over half an hour, about writing and the writing process and what to expect. I loved that. I’m really excited about next month, and all the opportunities it implies, for connecting with Dad and Heather, on things we haven’t really had in common in the past.

More than that, I’m excited about Dad and Heather and Gwyn all finally getting their novels finished. That is going to be awesome.

After the call, though, we headed back to the house to pick up D–, and took him with us over to K– and N–‘s to watch the OU game. It was a tense one, but we pulled it off. I don’t need that level of drama, though. Ugh.

After that, we came back home and had enchiladas for supper, and then watched Evan Almighty. Frankly, better than I thought it would be. I think I said the same thing about Bruce Almighty, now that I think about it. Same reaction, really.

Sunday, October 21st
On Sunday, after church we went to Texas Roadhouse, because T–‘s parents wanted to take me out for a birthday lunch. It was delicious, nevermind them making me get up on a saddle on a sawhorse so they could shout “Yeehaw” by way of “Happy Birthday.” Forget about that. It was nothing. The steak…the steak was amazing.

Then I went over to K– and N–‘s a little late in the afternoon (after seeing off T–‘s parents), to watch the Cowboys game. Not quite as bad as the OU game, but not a lot better, either. It was fun getting to see Adrian Peterson on the field, but when we got a real lead on the Vikings they had to pull him (for reasons made clear in an article I read last week), and then we just cleaned up. I’m not a fan of the trailing-for-the-whole-first-half strategy, even if we are usually pretty good about winning-out-in-the-fourth.

Anyway, we won, and T– came over and K– bought us some always-excellent barbecue from Steve’s Rib, and you just can’t beat an evening like that. T– and I went home and talked about doing our homework, and watched some TV instead.

Monday, October 22nd
Yesterday was back to work, and my big deal for the day was coming up with a plan to restart the Remnant project as a web game. B– made the mistake of asking me about that project, and I talked at him for like two hours. But, yeah, if you’re interested feel free to ask. For now, suffice it to say that you can expect me to spend a lot of time in the near future complaining about having too many projects to work on. The Shepherd and Oberon’s Dreams were already going to make that happen, but adding in a Sims version of an MMO that’s web-playable isn’t going to help the situation any.

I got home from work, checked the mail, sat down on the couch, and then B– called and asked if we could come over. T– was jumping up and down, she was so excited about the opportunity. So we went over to their place last night (they just got rid of the in-laws yesterday afternoon), and spent some time with the new parents giving our advice and (as aforementioned) regaling half of them on the nuances of a web interface for a highly-automated role-playing game.

We also had pizza, and ostensibly watched MNF, although we really only saw the kickoff. We had a great time, though. It was nice to get the invite, and great to see them.

Afterward, we came home and talked about doing our homework, but watched some TV instead.

Journal Entry

Tuesday, October 16th
Yesterday was a good day.

November is rapidly approaching, and I’m coaching three or four folks in preparation for the terrifying marathon that is National Novel Writing Month. These are all people who have told me (often) that they want to write a book, but have never been able to get it done. National Novel Writing Month is a great project to get that done, but it’s also a really brutal way to write your first book. The sheer amount of writing per day is just…unbelievable. Unreasonable, certainly.

So, anyway, I’m taking people who think they want to write, and daring them to participate in an event that will scare them off it forever. To try to avoid that, I’ve set up this whole regimen of intensive pre-writing work that will help smooth the transition. I hope.

But, yeah, I’d meant all along to be doing my own assignments, to provide as samples for them to go off (Table of Contents, short synopsis, character descriptions, long synopsis, that sort of thing), but I never actually got around to sharing those with them. Yesterday, I decided enough was enough and sat down to type all that stuff up in one place, so that I could share it out. I’d done everything but the two synopses, and the long synopsis isn’t due until Friday of this week, so that wasn’t really that bad.

Anyway, I sat down with the intent of doing just the short synopsis on The Shepherd, my next Sleeping Kings novel, and it just, all on its own, turned into the long synopsis. And what I mean by “short” (according to the assignment) is “1-page” and what I mean by long (according to actual, living history) is “12-pages.” So, yeah, I wrote out the whole plot for The Shepherd yesterday, when I had no clue that I’d figured out that much of the story.

It’s good, too. That’s the part that really surprised me. I decided nearly a year ago what would happen in Sarah’s story, but I didn’t know exactly how, or in what order. When I sat down to jot down some ideas yesterday, everything just fell into place. That’s one of my favorite things about writing, when that happens. And then, when I was done, I read back through it and fell in love with the story. It’s got its weak spots, and I’m going to have to do a ton of research (after November, for the rewrite) for accuracy’s sake, but it’s a really good story.

And…that still really gets my blood pumping. I was really on a kind of high, all evening yesterday. As soon as I got home, I found T– in the back yard, and told her all about it. D– came over, and I told him about it. T– and I went to our marriage class last night, and I told K– and N– all about it. I’m sure everybody else is bored sick of it now, but I’m still in a good mood over it. I can’t wait to get started.

Oh! After class, K– and N– came over to our place, and we all watched The Transformers on D–‘s HD-DVD player. So awesome. That is just such a fun movie. It was a blast, and I think we were all satisfied with the decisions made, that kept us up a little too late on a week night. It was fun.

Journal Entry

Ugh, I hate these long catch-up posts as much as you do, but part of my goal with the diary-style blog is to be able to look back a year in my life to see what was making daily news for me, and it helps with that for me to put in everything. I don’t remember much terribly exciting apart from football games, though, so maybe this will be a short one.

Wednesday, October 10th
Oh, see, look how wrong I was! Oh, wait, never mind. But, yeah, something extraordinarily exciting happened last Wednesday, but I’m not going to tell the internet about it. Sorry, internet.

We skipped church for it, though, and ended up at the hospital, and it was awesome, so you can probably draw inferences. Congrats, guys.

Thursday, October 11th
Thursday, I took off work early because I was just ready to be gone. I had Friday off as an RDO, so I decided to get my weekend started at 2:30 instead of 4:30. Definitely a good call. I spent some time playing with T– and the baby, then played on my computer some, and ended up making us some chili for supper. It was fantastic.

Then I suggested that we watch one of the Thursday night sit-coms, and save the rest for Friday (I had the whole day off, right?), but we ended up watching all three. It was a lot of fun, for a quiet evening.

Friday, October 12th
Friday really flew by. I slept late, I mowed, I went grocery shopping with T–, and…I dunno, one more thing useful. Oh! I helped her with a lot of preparation for her scrapping thing on Saturday. Apart from that, though, I spent most of the day playing Heroes. It was fun.

Saturday, October 13th
T– had a scrapping thing with Rebecca down in Norman from 9-3 on Saturday, and I’d agreed to watch AB so she could do that. As I always do when I’m watching the baby, I sent out a rather general request for help, and D– brought over his XBox and some breakfast at 9:30, and stayed around to help with the baby. While she was napping, we played Halo 3.

I’d invited K– and N–, too, but K– was stuck at work all weekend, out of town, and N– had no vehicle because they’d had to drop her car off at the shop for some maintenance. So, noon-ish, D– stayed with AB and I ran N– up to the shop to pick up her car, then she came over and hung out, too. D– got us all some lunch, and we watched the pilot of Chuck and a little bit of King Kong on his new HD-DVD player. King Kong was unimpressive, but the D was definitely H.

J– called a couple times inviting me to go to the OU game with him, but I just couldn’t figure out a way to make it work out timing-wise. T– had a good suggestion when I mentioned it to her, but by then it was probably too late. It’s a shame, though. The game was awesome.

Anyway, we went over to N–‘s place to watch the OU game, and it was kinda sad that K– couldn’t be there. Working weekends sucks. The game was awesome, though. Fun stuff. T– left partway through, to put AB in bed, and after the game D– asked if I could go to the blues bar downtown with him. We did that, and it was a pretty good time. I got in late, though.

Sunday, October 14th
Sunday…ugh. It was second Sunday, so we had a pot luck fellowship lunch at church. D– came with us, which was pretty cool, and I actually managed to find a full plate of good food that met my ridiculous demands, so that was a pleasant surprise. After lunch, N– went to a parade downtown and we were planning on going, too, but T– started feeling pretty bad (allergies), so we went home instead and she and AB took a nap.

D– and I watched some TV, and when T– woke up, we watched V for Vendetta on the HD-DVD player. Awesome, awesome. So awesome. I’d go so far as to call it boss.

All of this was while waiting to watch the Cowboys game. Ugh. It started at 3:15, but around 2:00 we started hearing rumors that K– might be back in town 5-ish, so we all decided to wait to watch the game with him. Ugh. That game….

Anyway, so, we watched the movie and just sort of burned the afternoon, then met D–‘s mom for dinner at Abuelo’s (so good), and then D– and I went over to K– and N–‘s place to watch the game.

Ugh. Y’know, it’s not like college where, when OU lost a few weeks ago, it seemed like that had put them out for the season. An undefeated season in the NFL has only happened once, and I wasn’t particularly expecting us to get one, but it was fun having that streak while we did. It’s just…argh, I hate the Patriots so damn much. Why’d we have to lose to them (and let them keep their streak going)? Bah. Ugh. I went home with a bad mood.

Monday, October 15th
Yesterday…I dunno, I had a good day. Work went well, in some indefinable way. Afteward, T– and I worked on our homework for our marriage seminar, and that was pretty unpleasant, but I think it was ultimately very productive. After that, we watched Heroes, and that was my night.