Event Report Archives

August 8, 2001
Hot show

Well, the Indigo Girls show was great. Got there about an hour and a half before the show started and had a bit of a picnic. The place was packed. Even the lawn was already pretty close to full by the time we got there. The opening act was a fairly generic alternative group called Nineteen Fortyfive. They were entertaining enough, though. Especially because the bass player's bass was almost bigger than she was. And the sign language interpreter was really getting into it while she was signing. The Indigo Girls did a great set. :) Amy broke a mandolin string early on but they pretty much played for 2 hours straight without incident. They played a few songs from their forthcoming album as well as some old favorites. The crowd wasn't overly annoying and we had a great time. We even managed to get out of the parking lot pretty quickly. We had a great time despite the overwhelming heat. I think it was still over 80 degrees by the time the show was over at 11.

Posted on August 8, 2001 3:34 PM | | Comments (0)

August 28, 2001
Me 'n' Bruce... and Ryan... and other people...
Me and Bruce Campbell
Yes, that's me and Bruce Campbell at a book signing at Olsson's Books and Records in Arlington, VA. I had a much longer posting here, but blogger ate it before I even got it posted. I guess I took too long to write it, my login timed out, and there was no way to get the text back. I'll edit this later on and put back in what I remember of it. Or maybe I'll just leave you with this short version. I had a good time. Waited 2 hours to have my book signed. Sounded like a complete idiot when I sat and chatted with the guy as he signed my book. Pretty much what I expected to happen. :) But it was nice having my first celebrity encounter. And he seemed like a generally nice and easy-going guy who enjoyed being with his fans. Which is always good to see.

Posted on August 28, 2001 10:19 AM | | Comments (0)

August 29, 2001
Oh, Bruce...

Well, I decided to keep the short version of the post about the Bruce Campbell book signing. It was mostly just a long-winded account of our 3-1/2 hour stay at the bookstore. It was definitely worth the wait and it was cool meeting my first celebrity and all. I had plenty of time to come up with something witty to say, but I failed. It didn't help that he asked me a question right away. Damn that Bruce Campbell! ;) Still kinda wish I hadn't misunderstood the bookstore guy and had gotten him to personalize what he wrote in my book, but oh well. It's not like we're best pals or anything and he won't remember me anyhow. I still haven't washed my hand and I never will ever again. When disease overtakes it and they cut it off, I'm preserving that baby for all time.

Posted on August 29, 2001 11:12 AM | | Comments (0)

August 31, 2001
Boxers of briefs?

Well, Ryan's bachelor party was pretty nifty. Definitely different than I expected a bachelor party to be. Brian Regan was hilarious, as was his brother. And so was the other guy. I think his name was Andy Campbell. Something like that. I think Ryan was thanking God that we weren't torturing him the way this poor girl was being tortured by her friend during her bachelorette party. She looked positively mortified as her friend dragged her around on a quest for a pair of men's underpants. Women can be so very cruel... I didn't get to sleep until around 4am. I am dead today. Good thing it's a holiday weekend. The wedding's tomorrow at 4. I'll be sleeping until then.

Posted on August 31, 2001 5:07 PM | | Comments (0)

September 2, 2001
Wedding of love

Yesterday was Ryan and Huyen's wedding. It was truly a beautiful day and I'm happy everything seemed to go off perfectly for them. The weather decided to cooperate and we had beautiful sunny skies for most of the day. Earlier in the week, rain had been called for for Saturday, but by the end of the week, they were calling for partly cloudy skies. The church was very nice. I'm not a religious individual by any means, but I appreciate nice architecture and art. It didn't look like much from what I got to see of the outside, but the inside was really very nice. The ceremony was nice as well, though... I felt a bit uncomfortable. But I always do at religious ceremonies. And this was one where the congregation was supposed to respond. I didn't respond most of the time. I felt like it'd be more disrespectful for me to say something that I didn't believe in. So I felt a little uncomfortable. But it was Ryan and Huyen's day and I was just happy to be able to witness their wedding. Huyen looked beauiful in her dress. The whole wedding party looked really nice, actually. And then the reception at the magnificent Thomas Birkby House. Wow. This place was amazing. I couldn't believe it was right there in Leesburg. The house was just gorgeous and the outside was setup just right. And I don't think they could've asked for more cooperative weather. The place just looked amazing as dusk approached and then there was a bright full moon in the sky. I really don't think they could've begged for a better day. Thanks, you two, for letting me and Sarah be a part of it.

Posted on September 2, 2001 12:32 PM | | Comments (0)

September 7, 2001

My hand still hurts from bowling last night. Just right between my thumb and forefinger. Ouchies. And I got spaghetti sauce on my shirt today at Olive Garden. Just a little bit, but I KNOW it's there, so it's driving me nuts.

Sarah and I are planning to go to The Maize in Leesburg this weekend. It seems like a really bizarre thing, but it should be fun. Fun fun fun!

Posted on September 7, 2001 3:12 PM | | Comments (0)

September 17, 2001
Welcome to ye olde shoppe

This weekend, Sarah and I went to the Maryland Renaissance Festival, since the weather was so absolutely gorgeous. There were a ton of people there. More than I think we'd ever seen before. I was actually rather surprised at this. But it was a good thing. It was good for all of us to get away from our TVs. It looked like there was a little extra security there, but I can't be sure. Maybe I was just looking for it more. I guess any large gathering of people is a target for terror. We had a really good time, though. The Rogues, a pipe and drum band that we've seen many times there, did a special ceremony in honor of the victims. I don't think I've ever heard people cheer so loudly.

Posted on September 17, 2001 11:01 AM | | Comments (0)

September 24, 2001
Rummaging through the bushes

Sarah and I went to a rummage sale on Saturday. Unfortunately, we realized too late that the first day of the sale had been on Friday. I think Sarah would've found more stuff if we'd gotten there on the first day. She's a rummage sale veteran. I just thought it was fun because you could buy a bag for $2 and fill it with as many books as you could fit in there, which is quite a lot of books for a very low price. I also liked seeing all the old computer stuff and electronics gear. 8 track players, an ancient laserdisc players, old Polaroid cameras... it was groovy.

Posted on September 24, 2001 11:36 AM | | Comments (1)

October 1, 2001
We're going on a boat!

Well... I took Friday off and made it a three day weekend. Sarah and I went into Baltimore to visit the Inner Harbor. It was a nice day out, though a bit chilly. We ate lunch at the Hard Rock and then took a little boat trip around the harbor. Sarah had wanted to go on the two hour tall ship ride, but they were sold out. So we just took a one hour ride on an ordinary boat. The wind made it a little too cold, but I guess it was my own fault for not bringing a jacket. When 5:00 rolled around, we hit the aquarium. I don't know how long they're doing it for, but on Fridays, it's only $5 if you enter after 5:00, which is a pretty big savings. The dolphin show was cool. The seahorse exhibit was very cool. And seeing all those sharks was pretty amazing.

Friday night, our friend Jason came down to visit. He used to live around here but we hadn't seen him too much since he moved back to New York. He stayed until Sunday afternoon, so we got to have a pretty nice visit. And it convinced Sarah for sure that she wanted a Gameboy Advance. ;)

Posted on October 1, 2001 1:28 PM | | Comments (0)

October 7, 2001
Completely not getting drunk

Well... this weekend's just been a BARREL full of excitement. Friday night was Michael's bachelor party. We went to ESPN Zone. I'd never been to one before. The food was how I'd expected the food at Hard Rock Cafe to be before I went to one. Overpriced and mediocre. Some other people had worse experiences with it. Ah... but the whole point was to get Michael drunk, which I think worked well. Ryan schooled me in duckpin bowling, which he'd never played before. I started off well with a strike in the first frame, but then I utterly fell apart. It must've been performance anxiety. At least I schooled Matt in Virtua Tennis for a little while. Coleman, Ryan, and I all left around 11:00. Lord knows what happened afterwards.

Last night was the Tori show. We had a good time. The venue was actually better than I expected. When we sat down and I saw that each row of seats wasn't raised one bit over the one in front of it and the seats weren't even staggered, I started to worry. But the girl in front of me must've been blocked by someone else in front of her and she leaned out of my way quite nicely. Rufus Wainright was the opening act and he was actually really good. I'd heard good things about him before, so I'd wanted to hear him but never really made an effort to. Tori herself was in top form. She played a few covers from her latest cover album, but she played a lot of older stuff, too. And, thankfully, some really old stuff like Crucify and Baker, Baker. All in all, it was a good show and we had a good time. Though the guy next to Sarah was very jittery and was making her motion sick until she asked him to stop.

And the $20 program we bought had stuff in it written by Neil Gaiman.

Good times, good times...

Posted on October 7, 2001 10:56 AM | | Comments (0)

October 15, 2001
One wedding and a viral infection...

Hello, my children! I'm back.

Actually, I would've been back yesterday, but somewhere along the way during the trip, Sarah caught a nasty little bug, so I took care of her yesterday. We're not sure where she got it, since we both ate the same stuff and hung around the same people. I guess my immune system is just mightier. Yay for me! It's kind of surprising, since I slept like hell the whole trip, as I had to sleep on a fold-out bed and the bar was extremely evident to my poor tortured back. Ah well.

The wedding itself was nice. Jennifer looked lovely and Michael cleans up pretty good. We left the reception fairly early, since we were driving back that night. Sarah started feeling sick on the way back and she deteriorated rapidly. I ended up driving the last couple hours back and I managed to not get lost. My driving ability isn't really wonderful, especially at night. My night vision seems to be a little off. Actually, I think what it is is that I tend to have to look at things a little longer to recognize them and I read signs slowly. So night driving is taken to a whole new level of fun. But the roads were pretty clear and we didn't die, so all's good.

Posted on October 15, 2001 10:15 AM | | Comments (0)

October 27, 2001

Sarah and I went duckpin bowling last night at the Falls Church Bowling Center with Ryan and Huyen. The alley was like something out of the 50s. Since I read somewhere that most duckpin equipment hasn't been manufactured since 1969, I'm not surprised. When we signed up for a lane, we were told that there was no mechanic there, so if the lane broke, we just had to go to another one. Cool.

I sucked hard. Really. We played two games and I never scored over 100. Ryan was the only one who did, on his first game. For a while, the best way for me to score was to whip the ball down the gutter and it'd bounce out at the end and knock down a few pins in the back. By the end of the second game, I'd gotten the hang of it a bit. I think I was throwing it a bit too hard, which made me pull to either side for some reason. My technique and form for bowling has never been good anyhow. What was interesting was that I did a much better job aiming for the pins instead of the arrows, which is completely opposite of how it tends to work for me in ten pin.

Afterwards, we hit the 29 Diner. Good, cheap food and fun decor made for a happy meal. Though I wish I'd gotten a strawberry milkshake, I think my tummy was happier that I didn't.

All in all, though, it was a good night. And I think Sarah was happy to finally get out of the apartment after being stuck inside for a couple weeks.

Oh. And I almost forgot to mention. Sarah beat us all in the second game pretty handily. After how things usually go when she bowls with me, this thrilled her to pieces. :)

Posted on October 27, 2001 11:08 AM | | Comments (0)

November 9, 2001
Puck it

Well, last night was what was supposed to be the company's hockey night. I actually ended up going because I'm anal about money and I never feel right not using something I pay for. Besides... it's not like I suddenly hate everyone who works for my ex-company. And there weren't any corporate people going. I kinda wish a few others who'd been laid off had gone, but I can understand them not going.

It's felt very nice to have so many people be supportive to me. Especially ex-co-workers. Just about everyone I've talked to that I actually worked with offered to give me a reference. And they've been really nice to me. For a person with incredibly low self-esteem and self-confidence like myself, this is good. There are days when I figure everyone hates me.

Posted on November 9, 2001 11:38 AM | | Comments (4)

January 1, 2002
Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Sarah and I had considered going to First Night Leesburg last night but ended up going to First Night Annapolis instead. The very first thing we wanted to see was already full 20 minutes before it was supposed to start. But we got to see some other really cool stuff anyhow and it was nice seeing the city lit up. The fireworks and laser light show were pretty pathetic, though. When a bunch of people are standing outside in 20 degree or so weather, they want more than a couple fireworks and a silly laser show. Oh well. It was still fun and we had a surprisingly easy time getting out of there.

But anyhow... Happy New Year to everyone. I hope this year brings many good things to everyone I care about. Hopefully everyone had a good time last night, whatever you were doing.

Posted on January 1, 2002 12:56 PM | | Comments (0)

May 31, 2002

Well, we're back from the show and it was actually very good. Our seats were surprisingly good for how far back they were. We were behind the sound guy, but everything was O.K. when he sat down. And when the main act came on, the sound was done from a booth a bit lower, so it didn't matter at all. The opening act, K's Choice, was great. Sarah was a pretty big fan and I thought they sounded pretty good, but they were really good in concert. The Indigo Girls, as usual, were awesome. Even the stuff from the latest album sounded better live, though I still prefer the older stuff. Great time, pretty good crowd, and it turned out to be a little cooler than I expected. Good show.

Posted on May 31, 2002 12:29 AM | | Comments (0)

June 3, 2002
Hisndon, Herndon...

This Saturday, Sarah and I went to the Herndon Festival. We basically went to see Mark Erelli, who we'd seen open for Lucy Kaplansky a short while ago. He was great and so was most of the other music we listened to. It was extremely hot out and Sarah got extremely burned. I actually burned surprisingly little and most of my burns have faded to tan already.

We got there around 12:30 or so and stayed until 3:00 or 3:30. We went to see Star Wars Episode II, then puttered around until around 8:00 or so. We went back to the festival in time for the fireworks. The display was actually rather impressive. A lot of fireworks pretty much non-stop for 15 minutes, choreographed well with the music they chose. A good, crispy time.

Posted on June 3, 2002 11:11 AM | | Comments (0)

June 27, 2002
Silk Road to my heart...

Today, Sarah and I went to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. It was incredibly hot out today, but we still had a great time. And neither of us got sunburned TOO badly.

The food was rather expensive ($8 for a stromboli and $6 for a thing of pasta), but I guess we sort of expected it at something like this anyhow. The other food areas may have been a bit cheaper, but I doubt it. One thing that was probably worth the price was the Frozen Silk Road Punch or whatever it was called. At $5 for a 20 oz. cup, it seemed expensive, but... it was so very yummy, so I didn't mind so much. I don't think I've ever tasted a better fruit drink. If you get a chance to go, try it.

Anyhow... the festival was really enjoyable. We didn't see everything and we didn't watch each performance we went to in its entirety, but that gave us a chance to see a variety of acts. We never managed to find the dervishes that were supposed to be there somewhere according to the above-linked page, but that's O.K.

When we first got there, the throat-singing had already started, so we rushed over. Luckily, the place they were at was right by the metro stop. I couldn't see too well, but I could hear just fine. It was really interesting to hear. It just sounds like it has to be incredibly painful to do, but it's just so... fascinating. The music they were playing was great, too, and I really loved the female singer in the group.

After that, we pretty much just wandered all over the place, searching for stuff to see. And there was plenty. I think, for me, the highlight was the Asian mask theatre act at Nara Gate. It was very cool.

I'm definitely glad we went. There was a lot of great music and dancing to see. And great crafts in the craft area, too. There was this one woman doing silk work that was just amazing. The fine detail must've taken forever to do. Watching her work on even a small area was cool.

The crowds were pretty heavy today. But I expect they'll be worse on the weekend. And especially the following weekend, when it'll be a holiday weekend. So I'm definitely glad we went on a Thursday. I can't even imagine how bad it'll be on other days.

We managed to avoid any rain until we were heading home, so that was cool. :)

All in all, it was a great time and I'm glad we got to go. I highly recommend it to anyone in the area who has the chance to go. And now I'll stop rambling.

Posted on June 27, 2002 10:31 PM | | Comments (3)

August 21, 2002
Service service!

Well, today at school was service day. This is a day when all faculty and staff go off together to do some sort of community service. It was actually pretty neat and rather informative. My group ended up being put to work by the Washington Area Gleaning Network. We had to sort out the bad corn and put it in bags to be taken to local food banks. There was a LOT of corn. But it was fun and I got to talk to a lot of the people I'll be working with over the coming year. It was definitely a cool thing for the school to do.

Posted on August 21, 2002 7:36 PM | | Comments (0)

September 16, 2002
The Weekenders

I took this past Friday off to make up for the long hours and the weekend I worked. We went into the city and had a great time. In the morning, we hit the National Gallery of Art to see the Quest for Immortality exhibit. Though it was a bit too crowded for my tastes, it really was an excellent exhibit with a lot of excellent artifacts. There was a great mix of large-scale and small-scale items and I think it was organized fairly well. The highlight of the exhibit was the reconstruction of the burial chamber of Thutmose III. Just breathtaking to walk into a room like that.

Afterwards, we went to the new International Spy Museum. I'm so used to going to free museums in DC that it was kind of odd actually paying for a museum again. But it was worth it. Though we spent over 2 hours in there, we could've stayed for much longer. There is just a LOT of stuff in there and it's all interesting. Though I sometimes questioned the way it was organized, it's a fine museum and I think everyone should go if they get the chance.

Other than that, I spent more than I should've at the CD Cellar in Leesburg and the one in Falls Church. But at least now I only need one more stamp to get a free CD. Yay!

Posted on September 16, 2002 10:46 AM | | Comments (0)

October 1, 2002
I'm turning Japanese.

Well, last night was my first Japanese class. I left work about 10 minutes early so I could make sure to be there on time. You never know how 66 is going to be and I really wasn't sure how long it'd take me to get the rest of the way by metro. I left myself a little over 2 hours. It took me exactly 45 minutes from the time I left work to the time I was standing in front of the building where the classes were being held. So I had a bit of time to kill.

When I tried to get into the building, the doors were locked, but there was a little phone where you could talk to someone who, supposedly, would open the door for you. I saw a few other people do it and I probably should've just gone in with them then. Instead, I tried myself. When the person answered, I said I was there for the Japanese class and they asked me for a code word. I said I didn't have one and they said I needed one, but they'd make some calls for me about it. Then they hung up. This was bizarre. Others had been let through with no problems. Luckily, some other people came up and were let in, so I followed them.

The class itself was interesting. There were 6 other people in the class, 4 girls, 2 guys. Our teacher's only been in the country for a year now. Her English isn't quite there yet, but... it's far better than my Japanese, so I'm not judging. The first class went fairly slowly, but I'm a bit glad about that since the language seems rather difficult to learn. Though she kept stressing that English was much harder for a Japanese person to learn because of all the consonant sounds and consonant pairs, that really didn't make me feel more confident. Still... back in the day when I'd really gotten into astronomy, I managed to memorize the lower case Greek alphabet. I should be able to handle hiragana. Or so I've lead me to believe.

Posted on October 1, 2002 9:25 AM | | Comments (0)

November 13, 2002
Tori = bird in Japanese

Hey all.

Last night, Sarah and I went to the Tori Amos concert at The Patriot Center. Not the best place in the world to see a concert, since the floor seats aren't staggered in any way, so it's hard to see over anyone taller than you, but it was still a pretty good place. The sound system got a little wonky sometimes, but it held together.

The opening act, Howie Day, was a little bizarre. He was actually rather good, but most of what he was doing was pre-recorded and he spent an awful lot of time playing effects pedals with his feet. It sounded great, but it felt weird to watch a guy up there just bobbin' his head, mouthing the words nowhere near the microphone, and jabbing at pedals with his foot half the time. What made it really amusing, though, was when a complicated guitar part would come on the pre-recorded bit and people would cheer. Crazy.

Tori was excellent, playing a good mix of old and new. She was accompanied by a drummer and a bass player, who were both good but I didn't really dig the bass too much. The player seemed talented, but I don't often dig the kind of bass that seems really low and muddy and just sort of thrums. I can't really describe it well, I guess. It seems to just exist to vibrate people and not make music. But anyhow... the show itself was great. But I had a hard time getting into it. Partly because I was really tired but partly because I was pissed.

And why was I pissed? Well... soon after the first song started, a bunch of people pretty much rushed the stage. Maybe rush isn't the right word, since they did it kinda slowly, but you know what I mean. The staff people just stood there and watched them do it.

Now, at every other show I've been to, the staff stops that kind of thing and says it's a fire hazard and all that. And, seriously, it's rude. I don't think I'm saying that just because I'm older now or anything. It's rude and it's unfair to the people who either paid a lot of money, stood in line, or just did whatever to get the front row seats. You can enjoy the show just as well from a little bit further back where the seats you paid for are. It really doesn't matter whether it's a free show or one like this that cost $40 a ticket. They ended up getting in a lot of people's way.

And what really disappointed me was, when the staff FINALLY got around to making the people sit again, Tori noticed (and it was actually nice of her to ask what was going on, showing concern for her fans) and launched into a subversive little song about it. People around me were actually cheering and yelling "Sit down!" to the people that were being forced to sit down, which made it even more absurd that she sang about it like that. I'm sure a lot of artists feel powerful up there and maybe they feel like they have to stick it to "the man" for not letting people do what they want to do. Really, I'm all for people doing what they want to enjoy a show, just as long as it doesn't ruin anyone else's time. It's disappointing for an artist to choose one set of fans over another.

I don't know for sure if this has just started happening in the past few years or if I just never noticed it before, but this plague of rudeness is horrible. Too many people seem to think that they're the most important person in the universe. I've seen it at movies, at plays, at concerts... everywhere. We were at a really small show a couple weeks back. It was almost over and these two people came and sat down near us and proceeded to have a loud conversation (they had to talk loud enough to hear each other over the music, see...) and they really didn't care when I made it pretty clear they were being annoying. What is WRONG with people?

Anyhow... enough ranting. It was a good show. But it made me even further behind with my novel. Ah well. I'll catch up somehow.

Posted on November 13, 2002 2:45 PM | | Comments (0)

January 28, 2003
The Exhibition...

We went downtown this weekend to spend some time in the cold. Well, that wasn't the real reason we went, but anyhow... While we were on the campus of Sarah's grad school, we saw this huge bird fly across our view and land in a tree. We think it was a hawk. It was pretty nifty seeing one that close.

We also went to two exhibits at the National Gallery of Art that I highly recommend going to see before they disappear in early March. The first was Deceptions and Illusions: Five Centuries of Trompe l'Oeil Painting. This was pretty incredible. Though most of them didn't really fool me (since you knew that you were going to be looking at a bunch of stuff that was meant to fool you, the effect was sort of lost), there were many pieces that looked real from a relatively short distance. It was truly amazing how realistic a lot of it was. I can't even imagine having enough talent to faithfully reproduce real life like that. The highlight of the show for me, I think, was the grandfather clock draped with a cloth. Except it wasn't a cloth. The whole thing was cut from one block of mahogany, so the cloth was just bleached wood. Even close up, it looked a lot like cloth.

The other exhibit we saw was Drawing on America's Past: Folk Art, Modernism, and the Index of American Design. This was a very interesting look at a New Deal program that I'd never even heard of before. Artists were hired to do watercolor paintings of various folk art objects including quilts, plates, pottery, store front figures, and various other pieces. In some cases, the original art has been lost and only the watercolor rendering remains. But in others, both still survive and it was fascinating to see not only how realistic the paintings were but also how time has affected the original art. I'd never seen watercolors so detailed and rich in texture. Some of them looked like photographs.

So... if you've got the time, I'd definitely suggest going to the National Gallery and checking these out. If you live anywhere near DC, that is. :P

Posted on January 28, 2003 9:45 AM | | Comments (0)

February 6, 2003
The Littlest Washington EVER!

Last night, I took Sarah to The Inn at Little Washington for dinner for her 30th birthday. Though her birthday was actually last Wednesday, the restaurant was celebrating its 25th anniversary that night and, though it was actually open to the public, it was also $1000 a couple (or maybe a person, I can't remember which) that night. Which is a bit out of my price range. So we opted to go a week after.

It took about an hour and a half to get out there, but it was really worth it. The inn seems to be in the middle of nowhere. The sky was absolutely gorgeous and looked even better when we left. Despite a bright crescent moon, we were still able to see a lot of stars. Certainly far far more than we're able to see from our apartment. Truly breathtaking.

The restaurant itself was very nice indeed. A guy in a top hat and coat came to our car and led us to the door then opened it for us. Someone was waiting for us and knew who I was when I mentioned that I had reservations for 8:30. He let us warm our hands by the fire before taking us on a little tour of the place, as we'd never been there before. We then were seated. Sarah got to sit on something almost like a couch with a little pillow to play with. While we were looking over the menus, they asked us if we wanted anything to drink and brought out some bread. After figuring out what we wanted and learning about how to order (since it was a multi-course meal and all), we ordered.

And then the food came. And what food it was. I've never had anything quite that good before. Since it's unlikely we'll be able to afford to go there again any time soon, we decided to try new things. Though I won't prattle on about everything we ate, I'd like to say that I tried rabbit for my main course and it was yummy. The desserts were also exquisite.

I also had some tea with my dessert (though it was a bit odd to have tea with my ice cream-y dessert, I wanted tea, dammit). Though I was completely flummoxed when he asked what kind of tea I wanted. I don't generally know the names of teas I like. I tend to stick with your ordinary black tea that you find in the supermarket or jasmine tea or something cinnamony and orangey. I probably should've just taken the one he suggested that he described as "smoky", though I wasn't thinking and that reminded me too much of... well... a barbecue. Though I know it didn't really mean that and I probably would've loved it. So instead of saying what I should've said, which is that I was looking for something spicy, sweet, and citrus-y, I said I wanted something sweet and fruity. :P So I ended up with an interesting black tea that was cranberry flavored. I forget the name of it. The woman who brought it said it was African something-or-other, but I totally forget what the something-or-other is. But it was very tasty.

We were allowed to keep our menus and the second page of the menu actually mentioned Sarah's birthday, which was a nice touch.

I think I under-tipped the coat check guy. I don't know for sure. But I'm not used to having my coat checked, especially at a fancy place, so I had no idea what was too little or too much. At least I left more than a 20% tip for dinner. They definitely deserved it. We were treated very well, especially for people who were obviously clueless and who didn't drink any of the expensive alcohol. :)

If you have the time and the money, I'd definitely recommend the place for a really special occasion. It's pricey and you may be able to get food that's just as yummy for cheaper, but the ambience and the treatment are worth it.

Posted on February 6, 2003 11:29 AM | | Comments (2)

March 31, 2003
It's not REALLY a farm now...

Hey there. Sorry I've been so quiet lately, but I was enjoying my 2 week long spring break. Much of it was spent sleeping a lot, but that was nice. Now I'm back at work, which isn't nearly as much fun.

This past weekend to end our spring break, Sarah and I went to The Ivy Creek Farm Bed and Breakfast. We had a really great time. This is the only B&B I've seen so far that has an indoor heated swimming pool. I can't even remember the last time I've been swimming. We were in the pool quite a bit.

The drive down was really nice. It was a bit cloudy, but the scenery was great. Lots of blossoming trees and wildflowers along the way. In Lynchburg itself, there were a lot of really beautiful old homes of various architectural styles. According to one of the hosts, Lynchburg was one of the most prosperous places in the country between about 1890 and 1930 and it really shows.

Breakfast was excellent and filling both days. The hosts recommended some yummy restaurants to go to, including a very spicy Indian restaurant that Sarah especially liked. Yummy yums.

On Saturday, we drove up to Crab Tree Falls. It was in the 70s and we wished that we'd brought shorts. We tried climbing to the top, but I think we only got about halfway. We got up to what appeared to be the top from the starting point, but when we got there, we discovered that there was still a long way to go. Sarah was starting to get a sunburn, so we headed back down. The falls were really beautiful, though. It's just amazing how long they are. And even on a beautiful day like Saturday, there were hardly any people there.

Afterwards, we got on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which was also pretty deserted. It was a really nice drive. We got off at the Peaks of Otter and started heading towards the National D-Day Memorial. Just as we got off the parkway, we saw 3 deer by the side of the road. They weren't especially skiitish and we were able to stop right next to them, so Sarah could get a picture.

The memorial itself was the only real bust of the trip. It was $10 per car to get in. Which would've probably been fine if they'd actually mentioned that the memorial wasn't entirely finished. It was like walking into a ghost town. Several things mentioned on the brochure weren't there. Exhibits had no plauqes explaining what they were for. And several plaques mentioned the fact that a lot of the statuary was temporary or in temporary positions. I think it's fine to open an unfinished memorial to the public, but it would've been nice if they'd told us that before we went in. It was only, "Here's your brochure, you can purchase guided tours at the gift shop." I don't even want to think about what the guided tour was like.

Of course, we woke up Sunday to snow, which was bizarre. So it made the trip back a bit daunting, but it wasn't as bad as it could've been. All in all, we had a great time. And we'll probably go back at some point, especially for the pool. :)

Posted on March 31, 2003 11:35 AM | | Comments (1)

Birches and surly waiters

To finish off our spring break, Sarah and I went to The Birchmere last night for the first time to see Tracy Grammer and Richard Shindell. The Birchmere's a pretty decent place to go. The food's O.K., though the prices are predictably high. Surprisingly, some of the best seats weren't taken at all and some of the worst ones were scooped up readily. Maybe people just like seeing the stage head on, no matter how far back they were, but we got seats just to the side of the stage that provided a perfect view. It may not have worked out so well had it been a full band, but there were never more than 3 people on stage at any one time and quite a lot of the time, it was only 1.

Anyhow... the show was great and we had a really good time. Sarah's been a big fan of Tracy Grammer (and the late Dave Carter, who wrote all of the duo's songs) ever since she saw her at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival last summer, so she really enjoyed her set. She played with a stand-up bass player most of the time, though Richard Shindell came out to play on a few songs.

After her set, there was a brief pause before Richard Shindell came out to play. He played by himself for a while, then Tracy Grammer came out to play mandolin, violin, and guitar on a number of his tunes before she departed. She returned for the encore.

The sound was quite good and the music was great. We had a good time. Our waiter was a bit surly, and I'm sure he was even more pissed that we only ordered some snacks. But oh well. We probably tipped him more than he deserved.

We'll be returning to The Birchmere on Friday for a Kris Delmhorst show, so hopefully that'll be just as entertaining.

Posted on March 31, 2003 12:54 PM | | Comments (0)

May 21, 2003
Ecks Two

Well, I finally got around to seeing X-Men 2 last night. I was going to go see it this weekend but then I realized that the free certificate I had for it was in my car... which was in Ohio with Sarah. However, she returned safe and sound on Sunday and my car came with her. Luckily, she didn't take the certificate herself to go see it, the scamp.

Anyhow... though there were some flaws with the movie, I found it to be much more enjoyable than the first movie. I admit that some of my problems with it come from my knowledge of X-Men lore, but there were some other little things that bugged me, too.

Let's start with the stuff I didn't like... Wolverine. Jeez. I know he's an interesting character because his powers are cool, his attitude is cool, and he doesn't remember anything so there's a LOT to play with there. I also know he's a fan favorite. But come ON. It just seemed like he was in every scene. Hugh Jackman's excellent in the role, but everything just seemed too Wolverine-centric. Magneto's quip about Wolverine thinking everything is about him is apt.

Cyclops and the chemistry, or lack thereof, between him and Jean. I don't know if he's just a bad actor or just trying to play the Boy Scout WAY too much or something, but it's just wrong. And there just doesn't seem to be any chemistry there at all. It's possible that that's only because they rarely get any decent screen time together (Cyclops probably clocked less than 10 minutes in the whole movie). I don't know. It just doesn't make the whole thing believable. And makes the set up for the next movie that much more disturbing, since I think the whole power of the Phoenix storyline rested in the characters and their relationships. If the main romantic relationship isn't believable and you don't give a care about the characters, it won't work.

Storm... she's gotten better. Really. But that's still not Storm. I don't know if it's the writing or the acting or what...

Nightcrawler kept saying that he couldn't teleport without seeing where he was going... and then proceeded to do it several times, not even counting the one time he did it at the crucial moment. When he rescued Rogue, when he popped the Professor into the jet... Nightcrawler's power isn't necessarily line of sight. As I recall, it still worked if he'd been there before and could visualize the place he was going to. Then he was only limited by distance. It was a little more dangerous that way, but... still... Maybe I'm being nitpicky.

Now the good... Nightcrawler. Wow. As he's always been one of my favorite X-Men, I was unsure about his inclusion as a major character. But Alan Cumming did an excellent job. I can't picture anyone else in the role. His facial expressions and everything were perfect and really captured Kurt. The religious aspect was, perhaps, a little overdone. Otherwise... great job.

Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen... what can I say? These guys certainly bring class to their roles. And these are two rather classy roles, despite it being a comic book movie. Both intelligent powerful men with a long history together who believe strongly in their divergent ideals and goals. These guys can say more with their eyes than many actors can with their whole bodies.

It feels like Hugh Jackman's really found Wolverine. He was almost there in the last movie, but he really has him now.

The little inside stuff that only comic book fans would appreciate was abundant this time and that made me happy. And it was nice seeing Magneto being as cruel as Magneto can be. Last time he was nasty... but he takes it one step further this time.

I'll stop babbling now. I really enjoyed it. And, though I'm hesitant about where things seem to be going for the next movie, I think everything will be O.K. And if it's not... at least I have this movie to look back on.

Posted on May 21, 2003 2:36 PM | | Comments (0)

May 28, 2003
Sunflowers EVERYwhere...

Yesterday, Sarah and I hit the Sunflower Cafe in Vienna, VA for lunch for the first time. Not being a vegetarian (and loving the heck out of chicken), it was an odd experience. Particularly since I opened up the menu and had no idea what half the stuff meant. :P Luckily, they provide a little glossary at the back of the menu so you have some idea what you're eating.

Sarah and I both got adventurous. I tried the General Tso's Surprise (the surprise being, of course, the fake chicken) and Sarah got the Curry Supreme. Both had soy protein masquerading as chicken. Both were rather tasty. I found the Tso's sauce to be rather weak, though. I expected either sweet or spicy, but I got something only mildly sweet. On the other hand, Sarah's curry seemed WAY too salty to me. However, on the whole, I preferred hers and she preferred mine, so we switched. Though I ended up eating quite a bit of the Tso's, too, since Sarah got full.

I was a bit surprised at the texture of the soy. It was a lot closer to chicken than I expected. You can't really say much about the flavor because of the sauces and the way they were cooked, but the texture's probably more important anyhow.

The side salad's dressing was a bit too sour and/or vinegary to me. I couldn't quite tell what the dressing was, but I tasted some soy sauce in there. It was just too much for me, I think.

I don't know if my tummy just wasn't used to just vegetables or if I ate too much, but SOMEthing didn't agree with me, though. However, I think we'll go back at some point. We're both trying to eat healthier and this is a good way to do it. With such a varied menu, I think we can both find something we'll enjoy.

Posted on May 28, 2003 10:05 AM | | Comments (2)

June 4, 2003

Last night, Sarah and I finally watched the production of The Gin Game that we'd taped off PBS a few weeks ago. Maybe I'm too dim or something to "get" it, but something about it was entirely unsatisfying.

Sarah had been more interested in it than I. But when Dick Van Dyke started cursing up a storm (on PBS, no less), I decided to keep watching. The characters seemed rather interesting and were getting more so as time went on. But then I started to wonder why the woman, played by Mary Tyler Moore, kept hanging around with the guy. And that question was never really satisfyingly answered for me. You get some hints and there's always the answer of just being lonely, but... something just seemed wrong about it. It almost made ME feel stressed just watching it.

But the thing that really made it not work for me was the ending. It didn't seem very conclusive to me. We hadn't learned enough. It felt like we left the story just as it was starting to get interesting, just as we were learning the important things about these characters and what drove them.

I didn't discover until today that this was originally a play. Maybe I'm too common to understand a play like this and its "deep meaning". Or maybe it's just not to my tastes.

It was a treat seeing Dick Van Dyke calling Mary Tyler Moore a bitch, though.

Posted on June 4, 2003 12:07 PM | | Comments (0)

June 30, 2003
Lazy B

One of my weeks of vacation ended yesterday. It was a very lazy vacation. I did very little, which was actually probably a good thing, as I'll be doing quite a lot over the summer at work. Jason came down from New York to visit with us for the first part of the week and then it was mostly nuffin' for the rest of it. Just playing oodles of Dynasty Warriors 4, which Jason got me addicted to. Then we went to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on Sunday, which was oodles of fun, even if it was really hot out. Had some pretty tasty, but expensive food, too.

Since we didn't feel like getting on a crowded metro train right away, we popped into the Natural History Museum, since it's open until 7:30 during the summer. We caught the Cirque du Soleil IMAX movie, which was very spiffy. It's just stunning how strong those people are. They truly are freaks. :)

So now it's back to work. Shorter work days until things really get crazy, though, so that'll be nice.

Posted on June 30, 2003 5:02 PM | | Comments (4)

July 28, 2003

Hi! We're back!

I'll post a full report shortly, but first I wanted to get up this little picture of Sarah with Dar Williams. Despite how it may look, no, Sarah isn't sitting on Dar's lap.

Sarah and Dar Williams

Posted on July 28, 2003 4:37 PM | | Comments (0)

Falcon Kick!

O.K. Here's a slightly longer report about our little trip to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. To start with, I'll say I had a much better time there than I expected to. It's not that I dislike folk music or anything like that. It's just that I'm bad with crowds, dislike being dirty, and hate porta-potties greatly. I also tend to get sick in the heat and burn easily, which isn't really a good thing when you're talking about a completely outdoor event spanning several days where there's no way to truly get inside.

We arrived Wednesday night and, just after we got our tent up, it started raining. Since we hadn't properly sealed the seams of our tent, Sarah had the idea to lash one of our tarps to the top of the tent, which I think helped out a great deal. We then put up a canopy that she'd bought at a flea market, but it was sort of flimsy. By the time we came back from getting a quick bite to eat, it was pouring and one of the poles on the canopy had bent. We quickly turned the canopy into a lean-to (which I think also helped keep the rain out of tent) and dove inside. Sleep came pretty quickly for me, but Sarah wasn't quite as lucky.

Thursday brought much better weather. We were both pretty groggy, but we had a good time. There wasn't TOO much going on that first day, but we saw a few good acts and had some excellent (though somewhat pricey... but, really, not TOO bad considering it was a festival) food.

Friday was a scorcher and you could feel it from the moment we woke up. Friday was also a day when a lot more people showed up, including a rather annoying family that set up right next to us. The kids wouldn't shut up at night and the parents weren't what you'd call disciplinarians by any means. There were a lot of good things to see that day, though, so we braved it, but both Sarah and I got completely cooked. At least we both showered that day. We'd brought a little solar shower bag. Unfortunately, we didn't leave it out in the sun long enough since we'd wanted to get to an early show, so it was an extremely cold shower. Still... it felt kinda nice. Around 2pm, we were joined by Sarah's friend Susan, who set up her little tent right by ours. A definite highlight of that day were the stars at night. It was breathtaking seeing so many stars. Since it was in the middle of nowhere up in the mountains, the only light around was the light being generated by the festival, which was fairly minimal. The skies were perfectly clear (which was probably why it was so bloody hot). I've never been in a place where the skies were clear enough to actually see the Milky Way. It was too cold for us to stay out and look at them for a long time, but it was beautiful and we saw many shooting stars (I'm guessing they were part of the Perseids, though I couldn't remember at the time what Perseus looked like to make sure...). Despite the burnt flesh, it was a good day.

Saturday turned out to be another hot hot day and the crowds were even bigger than for Friday. Sarah and I both had to retreat to the shade for a few hours during the middle of the day and Sarah actually had to hit the first aid tent, since her sunburned hand had started to swell. Some ice and an antihistamine helped bring the swelling down, but it remained an angry purple during the rest of the trip. We braved the sun that stung our delicate burns and saw some great shows on Saturday, though. A highlight for me, at least, was the Fab Four Forever workshop where a bunch of the artists did Beatles covers. Though sometimes words and whole verses were forgotten, it was still quite cool. Probably the best was Nerissa and Katryna Nields' rendition of Dear Prudence.

Sunday started with rain. I woke at 6am to rain spattering against the top of our tent and tarp. Luckily, Susan had stayed out later than we had to see Arlo Guthrie and the rain had started just before she'd gone to bed, so she moved our chairs and such under the lean-to. The rain had stopped by the time we'd gotten up for good. Sarah had planned to stay until Monday morning, but the rain and her sunburns changed her mind. So we packed up our stuff Sunday morning and moved our car down to the parking lot. We saw a few shows, got rained on a bit during Richard Shindell's performance, and decided to leave before Lucy Kaplansky's set because we'd seen her before and the skies were looking ugly. Of course, after we'd gotten on the road, my tummy (which had been behaving brilliantly the whole time, no matter what I threw at it, which was a true miracle) decided to start acting up. I think the sun, the heat, and the somewhat heavy food finally got to me, so I felt sick for most of the 7 hour drive home. But oh well. My stomach was quite a trooper during the whole thing, which astonished me, so I guess it deserved a little time off.

It was surprisingly a good experience, really. One thing that sort of struck me, though, was a bit of a contrast. While there were some truly friendly, generous, and kind people there, there also seemed to be far too much of the "me" thing going on. For a subculture that seems to be all about activism and helping and treating everyone as your neighbor and your neighbor like your best friend, there was quite a bit of rudeness going on. People smoking despite the numerous no smoking signs and the announcements about same, people walking in front of us during shows, people standing in front of us for several minutes during shows, people walking all over our stuff and not bothering to stop to say sorry... Sometimes it seems like a lot of people think freedom is the same as acting like an ass. It seems like people at festivals and shows want to have a good time, which is fine, but far too many don't seem to care about other people's enjoyment. I guess it's all part of our growing culture of rudeness.

Posted on July 28, 2003 6:33 PM | | Comments (0)

August 5, 2003
A Day in the Woods

While Sarah and I were at Falcon Ridge, we saw on the tour schedule for one of the artists that something called A Day in the Woods would be happening shortly after at Merriweather Post Pavilion. I decided to look for more information on the event when we got back. While doing so, I stumbled upon a couple radio stations' sites that were running contests for tickets. Since the pricing was a little funky for the show and we'd just spent so much at Falcon Ridge, I figured I'd enter them to see what happened.

And I actually won tickets. Decent ones, too. Not great ones, but good ones. I was shocked. I rarely win anything. Winning something worthwhile seemed out of the question. But I did.

And we had a great time. We didn't stay for the whole thing and didn't really feel obligated to because of the freeness of the tickets. We saw the acts we wanted to see (mostly Dar Williams and We're About 9) and left. There were a surprisingly small number of people there anyhow. When we arrived, we were afraid that we'd gotten the wrong day somehow. There were more people by the time we left, but it was still nice to see a show at a place like Merriweather with very few other people.

Posted on August 5, 2003 12:16 AM | | Comments (0)

August 19, 2003
Roy G Bel Biv Devoe

Last night was another Indigo Girls show at Wolf Trap. With the way work's been lately (and since I felt a little ill during the whole thing), it was hard for me to really get into the show. Still... it was a very good show.

The opening act, Cordero, was a lot better than I expected them to be given the MP3s and description on their site. I don't know if I'd ever go out and buy any of their CDs or anything, but they were entertaining.

The Indigo Girls show turned out to be what I was hoping for from a non-album tour... just Amy and Emily with acoustic instruments. They played quite a lot of new stuff from an album they just finished recording but won't be out until early next year. Because of that, though, I kinda wish they'd balanced it out with older stuff a bit more. Though they played a few songs off of the first few albums (including the ubiquitous Closer to Fine), it wasn't quite enough for me. With such a huge repertoire now, though, I guess I can't expect that to happen. I don't think anything will ever match the show I saw during the Swamp Ophelia tour.

Still... I had a good time and we had great seats (row M, best we've ever done for the Indigo Girls, I think) and this is the way I like to see Amy and Emily play. And the weather cooperated so it wasn't QUITE as stifling by the time the show started. Huzzah!

Posted on August 19, 2003 12:15 PM | | Comments (0)

August 31, 2003
Where the heck are the animals?

On Saturday, we got together with my older brother, his wife, and my very cute little niece and went to the National Zoo. We didn't manage to get there until around 5:45. Buildings close at 6, but the grounds were open until 8, so we thought we'd be O.K.

What we didn't understand was that when the buildings close, the animals pretty much disappear. No gorillas. No cats. The one cheetah we saw was lazing around in some tall grass, so we could barely see it. Two hippos were hiding in some murky water. Giraffes and elephants had been moved indoors.

Basically, the only wildlife we saw were the squirrels that dashed around all over the place and a couple of arthritic camels. In fact, we saw more wildlife trying to get back to civilization afterwards in the form of three deer in the forest bordering the zoo.

We'd been to the zoo only once or twice before during the day and that was a great experience. This was not. But at least I got some good pictures of my niece.

Posted on August 31, 2003 10:19 PM | | Comments (0)

September 6, 2003
Road trip!

Since it was such a gorgeous day, we decided to pick out one of the road trips that the Washington Post has had in its Sunday paper for a little while. We collected a few that looked interesting, picked one that wasn't TOO far (since we didn't decide to go until, like, 2:00) and set off.

Well... we didn't end up making it TOO far down the map. It was a lot more driving than it looked like. But we still had fun. We made it to C.M. Crockett Park and had a great time. It's a big, beautiful park with a pretty big lake. We got in a paddle boat and paddled around for about an hour. Fun fun.

Then we drove a bit more and realized we were a bit hungry, so we went up to the Frost Diner. This was obviously because of Ryan's influence. I had some of the best fried chicken I've ever had there, though. Very tasty.

That was pretty much all we got to do, except for a quick stop at a farmer's market/antique store where they had a pair of very cute 2-1/2 month old kittens that they were giving away. We were tempted (and Sarah got to hold one of them), but it's just too expensive for apartment living.

Hopefully next weekend will be just as nice, so we can pick another one. Or try going further on this one. Or just go back to that park.

And here are some pictures of the day.

Posted on September 6, 2003 9:28 PM | | Comments (2)

October 16, 2003

Well, I was hoping to get the pictures uploaded, resized, and put up on the website before posting about our weekend, but that doesn't seem like it's going to happen any time soon, so I may as well just post now and add the link to the pictures later.

On Saturday, I surprised Sarah by taking her horseback riding. Neither of us had ever had a whole lot of experience (I'd only been on a horse once before that I could remember), so it was definitely... interesting. We had troubles getting the horses to go where we wanted them to or to even go at all. But we still had a great time and the weather cooperated nicely.

Saturday was also the day we found our new couch. Just have to wait a few weeks for it to get here, but it'll be nice to have a couch without holes in it.

On Sunday, we decided to take another Washington Post Roadtrip. This one took us towards the mountains. Our first stop was the Wat Lao Buddhavong temple in Catlett, VA. Not exactly the type of place you'd expect to find a Buddhist temple. But there it was. When we got there, the place seemed deserted with no one around outside, so we decided to just take some pictures and go. We felt a little odd just waltzing it, as if we were invading their privacy. And it was obviously a holy place, so it just didn't feel right. Perhaps we'll try again some time, maybe when they're having a festival or something.

We then hit the Graffiti House in Brandy Station, which was fascinating and sad. It was really awful to see such an important piece of history decaying and hearing that it was so hard for the foundation to find funds to try to repair, restore, retain, and understand the graffiti. Didn't take any pictures of that, except for the outside.

After that, we'd planned to hit the Graves Mountain Lodge, since they were having an apple festival of some sort. But there were tons of people there and we didn't get there until about an hour and a half before it ended, so we decided to just drive on.

That was pretty much the end of our trip. We drove around a bit more, enjoying the nice weather, then headed home.

On Monday, Sarah decided she'd liked the riding so much, she wanted to go back. So she called and got us reservations for the time we wanted (which just happened to be the only time they had available) and off we went. This time, Sarah got the horse that I'd had on Saturday. I got a horse that really fought me the whole way. We weren't very successful this time and didn't make it very far. The horses just refused to go. Still... we hope to go back some time and give it another go. They can be stubborn, but so can we.

All in all, a relaxing and fun weekend. I'm sure my UK fans won't agree, but that's O.K. if it makes them feel special.

Posted on October 16, 2003 11:42 AM | | Comments (2)

October 30, 2003
Pixie Stix

Finally put up the pictures for Columbus Day. Also put up the few we got for our trip to Ohio this past weekend to help Sarah's grandparents celebrate their 60th anniversary. Of course, both of us forgot to grab the camera for the actual celebration, but we got some pictures of Sarah's cousins' new babies.

Posted on October 30, 2003 9:44 AM | | Comments (0)

November 16, 2003

Well, my birthday weekend was really nice. My boss let me off work a bit early on Friday, which was good, since I needed to get my car inspected before going away for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, that took an hour and a half because the guy did it wrong the first time and then did two other cars ahead of mine before doing mine again. But anyhow...

I came home to find gifts from my mom, my brother John, and Sarah. Since I'd been desperately needing clothes since I lost so much weight, my mom got me a nice pair of Dockers and a polo shirt for work. Sarah got me a few work shirts, some t-shirts, and some nice jeans. John got me The Cure's Trilogy DVD and The Grateful Dead's Closing of Winterland DVD, which both look excellent so far. Sarah also got me Tekken 4, Guilty Gear X2, the first two volumes of Risky/Safety on DVD, the 30th anniversary release of Bowie's Aladdinsane, little clone trooper ornaments for my office, the Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of WWII expansion pack, and a stuffed owl. Quite a good haul. And my older brother, Mike, left me a message telling me that he'd bought me gifts, too.

Also as a gift, Sarah took me to see The Innocence Mission at Jammin' Java. The show was to start at 8, so we got there around 7 and the place was packed. I'd never seen quite so many people there before. Sarah had reserved, so we signed in, found some seats, then went to get some yummy chili. At 8, the opening act, Don Conoscenti, came on. He was quite good, playing banjo, guitar, and piano. We both liked him quite a bit, but not enough to buy his CDs. We just didn't see ourselves listening to them often. However, the second opening act (which we hadn't expected) was better. A lovely and talented girl with a guitar, Mila Drumke had just moved to the area from NYC... without her band. So, for this show, it was just her, which worked quite well. After hearing her, seeing how much the CDs were, and seeing how much the CDs would've cost if we bought them online and had them shipped to us (about $15 more for the three she has), Sarah decided to buy them.

At about 9:15, the Innocence Mission came on. And they were phenomenal. Karen's voice was just as beautiful live as it is on the CDs, perhaps more so. I love Don's style of playing and both he and Mike played great. It was so nice to see them all up there having a good time, smiling at each other, giving each other little looks. Though they don't tour often, you could tell they really love playing together. And Karen's smile is lovely and truly infectious. They played a good mix of songs from all of their albums. And came out for three encores. After the first three song encore, I thought there was no way they'd come out for more, but they did. The crowd was really great and obviously huge fans. Everyone was calling out songs they wanted to hear. And everyone was very forgiving during a pretty humorous moment when Karen started playing a song in the wrong key (and both Mike and Don apparently switched keys to play the wrong ones right along with her). A great show.

After the show, Sarah chatted with Mila for a bit and got her to sign the 3 CDs. I'd brought along Glow, Christ Is My Hope, and Sarah bought me Befriended there at the show. I got each of the band members to sign the cases for them. All of them were really nice and kind and sweet and I got to chat with each of them for a bit. I felt really dorky telling them all it was my birthday, but I was just excited to finally be seeing them after being a fan for over 10 years. I wasn't fishing for Happy Birthdays (thought I got that from each), I just felt like it was a great birthday present for me to have them come to my favorite place to see a show on my birthday.

By the time we got home, my birthday was almost over. But it was really great. And now I don't feel quite so bad about being so close to 30.

Posted on November 16, 2003 8:27 PM | | Comments (0)

December 2, 2003
Spank you

My Thanksgiving went pretty well. I left around 1:30pm on Tuesday and got to my parents' place at 11:30pm, so it was a nice 10 hour drive. I only hit traffic at the beginning of my trip, so I guess I shouldn't complain. I was really tired by the end of the trip and my eyes were hurting, but I managed to make it without causing an accident.

Since my mom has a newish job, her hours are different than years past, so I got to spend a lot more time with my parents than usual. It was nice seeing my family. And the food was great, too. I cheated a bit on my no sugar diet and had some apple pie and coffee bread, but... I just couldn't resist. I didn't gain any weight from it anyhow, so there.

I left on Saturday around noon. I wish I could've stayed longer, but I knew the traffic on Sunday would be hellish. I hit quite a bit of traffic in Massachusetts, but once I got out of the state, the roads were fairly barren. The weather cooperated most of the way with just a bit of rain and snow falling. Somehow, despite the traffic and weather problems, I got home in about 9-1/2 hours.

It seems I'm not cut out for long distance driving, though. My back started hurting about an hour into the trip up and my neck and shoulders started hurting about two or three hours into the trip back.


Posted on December 2, 2003 12:39 PM | | Comments (0)

December 30, 2003
I got paid in puke!

Yeah yeah... haven't written much in a while. But the holiday season's busy.

On Sunday the 21st, we went to Ohio to visit Sarah's family. This also gave Sarah an opportunity to catch up with a friend of hers who lives in Seattle now, but who was visiting family and friends in western Pennsylvania.

When we got there, I discovered that it really was Sarah's grandparents' cat that made my eyes burn. I never felt all that great afterwards, though part of that is because every single kid there (and there were 4 of them) plus Sarah's cousin were sick. And also because Sarah's grandparents don't believe in heat at night. But anyway... for me, it was just sniffles. For Sarah... it was more. But I'll get into that later.

We had oodles of fun playing with the kids. Both of Sarah's cousins had new additions to their respective families very recently, so those two were tiny little cuties. The other two were cute, too, but they were also coughing, sneezing, runny nosed menaces who seemed to enjoy hitting me and stepping on me in rather unpleasant places. But Emma, the older of the two babies, was an adorable little thing who was pretty well behaved most of the time. Especially if she was being held by an adult who was standing up. We didn't get to see Libby as much, but she slept oodles, which was good, too.

Anyhow... on Christmas Day, we got to have brunch and a nice dinner and we got a few nice presents. And Sarah got to hold Emma for most of the day, since her mommy was so sick. However... the germ factory would soon finally take its toll on Sarah.

On Friday, we met up with Sarah's friend, had a little lunch, and then went off to visit Stan Hywet, the mansion built by F.A. Seiberling, the co-founder of Goodyear. It was a very cool house and it was all decorated for the Christmas of 1940. I had a good time. However... this is when Sarah started feeling ill.

After a dinner where Sarah ate next to nothing, we all went back to her grandparents' house only to discover Sarah had a 102.6 degree temperature, which is especially high for her considering her temperature usually hovers around 97.4 or 97.8 or so. She went to bed soon after we got home. But a rather unpleasant choking dream woke her up in a very messy way. After a change of clothing, she went back to sleep.

We were supposed to leave on Saturday, but Sarah wasn't up to travelling and still had a temperature a little over 101 degrees. So I drove us back on Sunday through some slightly yucky traffic. But at least the weather was good.

A pretty good trip, but the sickness was bad and Sarah still doesn't feel all that great. But... it could've been worse. I'll have some pictures up soon, mostly of the little ones.

Posted on December 30, 2003 10:28 PM | | Comments (0)

January 19, 2004

Saturday night, we went to a Tet party at Ryan and Huyen's place. Sarah and I don't tend to be extremely social, so it was nice getting out and hanging out with people, even if we didn't know most of them.

The food was delicious and we had a great time. My pictures came out O.K. I wish I had taken more of them, but I didn't want to intrude and blind people with my flash of doom. I'm glad we went. And we got to pretend that everything Huyen touched was Vietnamese.

Now we just have to grow half a brain and figure out how to drive to Eden ourselves, so we can find some of the "fruit whose name can ne'er be mentioned", since Sarah liked it so much.

Pictures from the shindig are here.

Posted on January 19, 2004 2:38 AM | | Comments (4)

July 5, 2004
No Eating!

I've put up some pictures from our little trip to Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary. Ryan, who volunteers there, showed us around the place and introduced us to a lot of the animals. Well... at least the ones he could remember the names to. All the other ones he just pointed at. We had a lot of fun feeding the animals.

Afterwards, we went off and ate some meat, but don't tell any of the animals that.

It's a really nice little farm and we plan to make a donation. They do good work rescuing animals that would otherwise be slaughtered or left to die.

It was also pretty neat going on the ferry. I'd never been on one before, so it was cool. We had no idea there was a ferry so close to us. And this one's an historic one. It says so on the sign!

Posted on July 5, 2004 11:33 AM | | Comments (0)

February 15, 2005
Cupid's weekend of love

Been quiet around here, I know. Nothing exciting has been going on. Not that that's stopped me before, of course.

To celebrate Valentine's Day, I surprised Sarah with a night out at the 2941 Restaurant in Falls Church on Friday. It was a bit pricey, but it's a really nice place with a lot of atmosphere and hospitality, so it was worth it. Sarah really liked it and liked being surprised. Well... she knew we were going SOMEwhere. She just didn't have any idea where. And I managed to keep it to myself for over a week, which is a miracle.

On Sunday, we went to a Tet Party that Ryan and Huyen were throwing at Four Sisters in the Eden Center. Parking was outrageously terrible and people that go there need to learn some parking lot etiquette. Otherwise, though, the party was oodles of fun. Great food and good company.

I've had a lingering cold that varies in severity daily. Today it seems to be O.K. Just a little stuffed up at the moment. What will tomorrow bring? :P

Posted on February 15, 2005 12:20 PM | | Comments (0)