Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another awesome Web site

Here's another great Web site, but instead of being a great reference site (like the one I listed below), this one is a game. The site is called Sporcle and it's filled with all kinds of quizzes. For example, I found out about it through a baseball blog that linked to a quiz where you try to name all 53 players that have ever had 30/30 seasons in MLB history (30 home runs and 30 stolen bases). Give it a whirl...

Good Web site

For my readers that are fans of board games (and I know many of you are), I stumbled upon a cool Web site today that I thought I would pass along: BoardGameGeek. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cheryl's conjugal visit

This weekend was awesome because Cheryl got to visit. We had to sweat it out though—it almost didn't happen. One of the parents in Cheryl's class offered her a standby ticket and, being that it was the weekend before Thanksgiving, open seats on flights were hard to come by. She got shut out on Thursday night and then three times Friday morning before catching a mid-day flight that allowed her to get here just before midnight. Neither of us cared because we were both just so excited that she was able to make it out at all.

On Saturday morning we had grand plans to head to Raleigh for a Christmas parade featuring Josh Hamilton, but we woke up too late. So we just chilled out for a little bit and then went for an early lunch at the Q Shack. Cheryl liked it a lot more this time around, since she listened to my suggestion on the beef brisket and the hush puppies didn't taste like onion rings. I love that place.

After lunch, we drove around Durham. I gave her the Duke tour that I hadn't yet discovered when she was out here the first time and then we hit up Locopos for some dessert. J.P, the guy that always works on the weekends, cracked up when I walked in because I'm always brining new people there. Cheryl got cookies n' cream and I tried chocolate pumpkin.

After that, we headed back home to chill out for a bit. Someone was supposed to come see the house (a potential roommate), but they never showed. At about 5, we headed to the mall for dinner and a movie. We walked around the mall for a bit and then headed across the street to P.F. Chang's for dinner. Buuuuut it was like a two-hour wait, so we made reservations for Sunday night instead and headed back to the mall...where we waited (only) and hour and a half to eat at the Cheesecake Factory.

We killed some time by walking hanging out in Barnes and Noble, where we looked at books, magazine and had some holiday-themed drinks from Starbucks. Cheryl had peppermint hot chocolate and I had an egg nog latte. Two funny things happened while we were waiting to eat. One, we saw an interesting old guy. He was decked out in UNC gear, which isn't weird in and of itself, but he had pajama pants pulled up under his moobs and he was wearing Tarheel slippers and, oh yeah, did I mention he also had earrings, two purses and maybe lipstick? The picture doesn't do it justice, but take a look for yourself...

I thought about putting his picture on a Duke message board, but that's just too mean.

Cheryl and I also were flipping through one of those books that lists 1000 things to do before you die. I just opened it to a random page and was taken back. One of the things to do before you die is apparently...

*69 someone

...which led to this conversation:
Me: Cher, check this out!
Cheryl: Oh my gosh, that's crazy! What does the star mean?
Me: OOOOH! Hahahaha! STAR 69 someone!
Cheryl: Oh my gosh, that is so funny!

Now, you can say that dirty minds think alike, but in our defense, that's a pretty crappy thing to make the book. This wasn't some dusty book we found on the shelf, this was a book out on one of their display tables, giving me the impression that it's a newer book. Who uses star 69 anymore? What else should I make sure I do before I die? Send a telegram?

After we got bored at Barnes and Noble, we headed back over to the Cheesecake Factory and by the time we were finally seated, we were both starving. Thankfully, the food was quick, tasted great and Cheryl said she hadn't been there in like three years. Then we saw Role Models. This weekend was pretty similar to the one I had the weekend before with Megan. The movie was just as good the second time and Cheryl loved it too.

After the movie, we hit up the grocery store so that we could make root beer floats. Then we went home, enjoyed those and watched SNL.

On Sunday, we woke up and headed over to Chapel Hill where we walked around Franklin Street for lunch guessed it...more Locopops! I got chocolate brownie and Cheryl got peanut butter chocolate chip. If you can't tell, I freaking love Locopops. I think I actually told Cheryl while we were at the Chapel Hill Locopops that it's my favorite place in the world.

I love it so much, in fact, that we went to the Durham location before dinner. Appetizers I guess. We had to go early because they close at 6 in the winter now, remember? And this was hilarious. We showed up at about 5:30 and as we walked up, we could see through the window that J.P. (the guy that works there) was sound asleep. We walked in quietly and were giggling watching him sleep. A woman and a kid walked in just after us and they told us to wake him up. So I started by quietly saying his name...which turned into almost yelling his name. That wasn't working. I wasn't worried because I could see him breathing, but I knew that just speaking loudly wasn't doing the trick, so I stepped behind the counter and walked over to him. I had to shake his knee for like 20 seconds before he woke up. Heavy sleeper! Even though we assured him that it wasn't a big deal, he was really embarrassed and gave us free popsicles.

Cheryl and I then went to our dinner at P.F. Chang's and it was the bomb...really hit the spot. Unfortunately, we somehow forgot to take our leftovers with us when we headed home to watch some movies. Cheryl brought our latest Netflix movies out with her and we watched an awesome Zach Galifianakis standup DVD and the movie Charlie Bartlett before hitting the sack.

It was a great weekend, filled with laughter and love. I'm so glad Cheryl was able to make it out here. She's absolutely my favorite person in the world and I can't wait to see her again in 23 days!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Great News

I'm too tired to do a weekend recap, but I wanted to pass along some awesome news from the weekend. On Saturday, I got an e-mail from my buddy out here in North Carolina inviting me over for Thanksgiving dinner with his wife's family on Thursday. It was such a nice surprise and made me feel great because the alternative was to just pretend the holiday wasn't even happening to dodge the disappointment. So, that should be fun. I'm not bringing any food because, let's get serious, I've become a better cook out here, but I'm not that good! I am bringing flowers though...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Meg's Visit

My sister was able to come out and visit this weekend and it was awesome. She arrived Friday at about 5, so I took off from work a little bit early to go pick her up. Having skipped lunch that day, I was starving, so we headed straight to dinner. I really wanted to take her to my favorite little Mexican place here in town. Remember, it's the place that shares a location with the Jamaican restaurant that I found on accident? We got there and I was really bummed out to find that the Mexican part of the place had gone out of business. We tried the Jamaican and it was pretty good (awesome pineapple soda!), but it's too bad about that Mexican place...

After that we headed over to Locopops for some dessert, where more disappointment ensued. Don't worry...Locopops is still in business (with a lot of help from me), but they changed to their winter hours and close at 6 now. Boo! With that plan squashed, we headed over to the mall to get some ice cream and see a movie. We got there at about 7:30, which meant we had to decide between rushing into the 7:25 showing of Role Models, or waiting until 10. We decided to wait because that would allow us to get some ice cream, wander around the mall and not get stuck with horrible seats. The movie was hilarious—so good that I told Cheryl that I would see it again with her. We got home and kept the movies rolling by popping in Mallrats.

We slept in on Saturday, hit up Starbucks and then grabbed lunch at my favorite restaurant, The Q Shack. Megan loved it! After that we drove around Duke's campus while the food settled, before grabbing some dessert at Locopops. They must only have one employee on the weekends, because it was the same kid there that was there all three times Kelly, Matt and I visited. He laughed when I walked in and said, "You're always bringing in different people!" I had chocolate horchata and Megan chose the mighty mojito. Mmm! We then zipped over to Chapel Hill for a little campus comparison. We parked the car and walked around Franklin Street, which is nice. We found another Locopops and couldn't resist stopping. I had trail mix (banana, coconut and nuts) and Megan tried pomegranate tangerine. I saw a cool sign on the window of a pizza place, but we didn't eat there...

After that we came home and took a little nap before heading to a party at one of my coworker's place. He just bought a condo with his girlfriend and his birthday was the next day, so there were many reasons to celebrate. We only stayed about an hour and a half, but it was a lot of fun. Because we forgot to find a UNC store for Megan to find a sweatshirt that afternoon, we headed over to the mall again to get her a Tarheels hoodie. After that we grabbed some food in the food court and then headed home to watch Saturday Night Live, which was pretty good but we turned it off after Weekend Update to watch a movie we picked up that day, John Tucker Must Die. I told Megan to buy it because I remember it being really funny. I think I owe her $5...

We slept in again on Sunday and then headed to brunch at Elmo's. It was really busy and we had to wait about 20 minutes before ending up at the counter next to a semi-crazy woman and a couple that reminded us of Screech and Lisa Turtle. We both had the apple-stuffed cinnamon french toast, which was pretty good, but a little too soggy. Since Elmo's is so close to Locopops, we had to have a little post-brunch dessert, so we headed over there and continued choosing the same food, with my recommendation of Mexican chocolate. Delicious! After that we got a little silly and decided to go to Chucky Cheese's! Good times! As we pulled up, my heart sank.

That's right, Boston Market has closed. Cheryl said she'll still come visit though. Meg and I had a great time playing some skee-ball and video games before heading back home to chill. We took another nap and then headed out to a place called Tomato Jake's for some pizza. Kind of a weird place. It's in a strip mall near Target and the decor is funky neon, like an old Trapper Keeper, but the menu has a mafia theme. It doesn't really mesh, but the food was pretty good.

After that we came home and...watched more movies! I guess it was the weekend of popsicles, movies and out-of-business restaurants! We watched some classics: Superbad and Forgetting Sarah Marshall before heading to bed. In between the movies, Meg gave me a haircut and ended up with some furry socks...

It was another awesome weekend!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

2 Funny Photos & 2 Funny Stories

The other day I was eating some Cheetos and one fell on the floor. I picked it up and set it on a piece of paper that was on my coffee table. The next day, I came home from work, sat down and went "Eeeewwww!" Check out what happened to the piece of paper...

That's not a shadow, that's grease. I didn't need to see that.

Next up is a picture of the fridge at work. We may not always agree on baseball prospects, but we all agree that there is no need for a legitimate lunch bag when you have old grocery bags lying around your house...

Now, two quick funny stories (hopefully these aren't had-to-be-there stories)

1) A work buddy asked me today if I wanted to go to Starbucks after lunch, which was a no-brainer. He happens to be writing the Mariners chapter for the Prospect Handbook, so we started talking Mariners baseball on the way to his car. When we got in, he was listening to a Pearl Jam bootleg from 1994. So, here we are, talking about the Mariners, listening to Pearl Jam and driving to Starbucks. Too funny!

2) After work I headed to the grocery store to pick up a few necessities. One thing I needed was deodorant. Instead of going with my usual Old Spice (Fresh or Swagger), I decided to see what else was out there. It's not that I don't like Old Spice anymore, it's just that I was in the mood for something different. So, here I am, sniffing different deodorants when a grocery store employee turns the corner and says, "You know, you wouldn't want to buy those if everyone did that." I laughed before realizing she wasn't kidding. "What, am I not supposed to sniff them?" I asked. "Well, no, but're already doing it. I'm just saying that you wouldn't want to buy those if everyone did that." She replied. "Yeah I would because I already know that everyone already does this." I said as she walked away. I laughed to myself because I felt like Larry David. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get into a good stare down...

As a house update, a guy came by tonight to check out the open room and he seemed really nice. I'll obviously keep you posted...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Total Bummer

This morning I drove through Starbucks to get my morning coffee. After the employee handed me my drink he kind of looked at me funny and said, "You remind me of someone!" This is always kind of an exciting thing to hear, because you always expect the best. "Who is it?" he thought. " YEAH! FRED DURST!" My heart sank.

Quick back story for those that weren't there/haven't heard about it: When a bunch of us went to go see Nikki Glaser and Doug Benson a while back, we were the first ones there and ended up sitting right in front. I had my hat on backward and was enjoying Doug's awesome set when all of a sudden he called me out. "Glad to see Fred Durst is in the audience tonight," he joked. I then made the mistake of looking behind me. He thought that was funny and kept referencing my presence the entire night. It sucked.

"Ah man!" I groaned.
"What, isn't that him?" the guy asked.
"You mean the guy from Limp Bizkit?"
"That sucks dude, that guy's a tool!"

He just laughed and I drove away. I'm sure he didn't mean it as an insult and he obviously didn't know my history of being likened to Fred Durst, but it was a crappy way to start the day. Not that I really care—at least it makes for a funny story. But, here's a tip for everyone out there: Don't tell people they look like assbag celebrities. Telling a woman they look like Heidi Klum? That's fine. Telling them they look like Janet Reno...not so much.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Redmond Reunion

Friday after work I grabbed some clothes, made a couple PB&Js, burned a CD with some Adam Carolla clips and headed off to Winston-Salem where I was going to spend the weekend with some dear family friends, the Harbaughs. As a bonus, another family friend would be there as well—Phil Brown!

I got in at about 9:30 Friday night. We just chit-chatted for a while and then I headed upstairs and went to bed. The next morning, We hit the town. First, Larry gave us a tour of his building at R.J. Reynolds. The first thing I noticed when we walked in was that is smelled like a smoking hotel room. Turns out, employees are still allowed to smoke while they work. It made me joke about people at Budweiser running around drunk all day. Aside from the smell, the building was actually really cool. It was actually used as an architectural model for the Empire State Building and had some beautiful marble, woodwork and art on display.

After that we headed over to Old Salem, then went and ate lunch at a place near Wake Forest's campus called the Village Tavern. It was a good spot and it was really crowded because Wake Forest was playing Virginia in their homecoming game that afternoon. After lunch we headed back home where we chilled out, watched some football, played some cribbage and then ate a great, home-cooked meal. My chicken fajita burrito the other night might have been the best thing I've ever prepared for myself, but it pales in comparison to a real cook. Marcia, Larry and Phil all called it a night pretty early and I went up and watched some TV. I was bummed that SNL was a rerun, so instead started channel surfing. TLC's show "17 Kids and Counting" has to be the most stressful program on television. The episode I saw had family friends visiting the family, and they had 16 kids of their own. That's insane and just watching it had me nearly hyperventilating.

This morning, I woke up and Marcia and Larry took me out for breakfast at a 50's-style joint called Billy Bob's Silver Diner and then I hit the road and headed back home. It was a great weekend. I am still feeling sick, so I stopped at Target to get some medicine and yogurt. I actually found a Target that's a lot closer to my house than the one I had been going to and I saw a guy from work there, which marks the first time I've seen someone I know while out and about, so that was kind of cool.

Before I headed home though, I wanted to go take a picture of this business I noticed the other day. To preface this, you must know that the cities of Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill form an area called Research Triangle...often simply referred to as The Triangle. I know that a lot of businesses like to put their location in the name of the business, but I think this one is giving off the wrong impression...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Let's keep this streak alive...

With my success in getting Fernando to start a blog, I figured I'd try my luck again. That being said...

C'mon, Jen — get with the program! Scrapbooks are so 2003; 2009 is all about blogging! If Jon can start a Facebook page, you should definitely follow in the footsteps of the Pioneer Woman and start a blog already. I even took the first step for you — I checked and (thankfully) is still available!

You always have hilarious stories and plus...these girls are too cute to not be blogged about...

Keep Track o' Flaco!

Thanks to my suggestion, Fernando has started his own blog! Boo yeah! It's nice to see all five members of the old crew blogging from their respective parts of the globe. Keep up with Fernando's thoughts at Hopefully he'll post lots of pictures and stories from Guyana, bust out some silly fiction and puts together a list of his top 25 favorite albums of all time!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Cooking Update

Despite being somewhat under the weather, I came home from work today motivated. I did the dishes, but then something weird happened. Instead of having cereals or leftovers for dinner, I decided to go all out and try to cook make a chicken fajita burrito. With an assist from my mom, who assured me it was okay to grill vegetables and chicken in the same pan, I began my quest.

I chopped up the vegetables (green bell peppers and an onion) and defrosted the chicken breasts. After that, I cut the chicken breasts in to strips. Is there anything more disgusting than raw chicken? I grilled the chicken and when it was all cooked, I added some water, the vegetables (including some corn) and the fajita powder. After the veggies cooked, I added the mix to a warm tortilla with some shredded cheese and sour cream and I have to say it's probably the best thing I've ever made for myself. Granted, it doesn't have a lot of competition...maybe a good steak? S'mores?

And, get this, after dinner I even cleaned up my mess and put my leftovers in the 'fridge. My husband rating is going way up!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yet Another Awesome-Weekend Recap, Part 2

Cheryl and I woke up early on Saturday morning because I wanted to get down to Renton and vote before spending the day with my family. We drove down there and got into the parking lot at 8:45, but it was already packed. Apparently there was a mob of people waiting outside at 8 a.m., so they opened early and I headed to the back of an already-long line. Most people were just getting their absentee ballots, but there was also an option to vote early using the touch-screen electronic machines and that's what I chose to do. Why King County only had seven of them available is beyond me and I ended up waiting about an hour and a half before being able to cast my vote, but it was worth the wait.

After that, we headed back up to Redmond to hang with my fam for the day. Initially we had plans to go to the Pacific Science Center, but everyone was a little luke warm on that and we instead decided to head over to U-Village for a little shopping. I liked that idea better. Check out the hoodie I found at Fireworks, of all places...

Too perfect! Cheryl and I got a little early Christmas shopping done and then we all headed over to The Ave for some lunch. As I used to work on The Ave, I was excited to visit one of my favorite restaurants, a little Vietnamese place called Thanh Vi. I ate there very frequently when I worked at The Dawg Den because the food is great, it's cheap and the people there are as nice as they come. They would always greet me by name and, despite not visiting them for several years, when I walked in, they were like, "Oooh! It's been so long!" They freaking remembered me!!! Not only that, but they asked Cheryl if she was still teaching—and that's just based on the fact that I talked about her and she had been in one other time. Amazing! The food was even better than I remembered and it was so cool that they remembered me. I certainly won't let two years pass until my next visit!

We headed home after lunch and chilled out for a bit before Horia's big Halloween party. At about 6:30, Cheryl, Meg and I began getting ready. Cheryl and I were a cute gnome couple and Meg was a gypsy.

We went to the party and it was a blast! It was great to see everybody and there were some awesome costumes. Horia made an awesome Ninja Turtles costume so, fittingly, Caroline decided to dress up as April O'Neil. I didn't get a picture of Brent, who went all-out with his Ghostbusters costume, but Sonia dressed up as Amy Winehouse and, in my opinion, had the best costume of the whole party. The funny thing is that she said she had everything necessary in her closet!

Things got a pretty crazy right as we were leaving. As we left, our car was stopped at the entrance to Horia's apartment complex by Redmond Police Officers...armed with machine guns. Turns out they were looking for "a man with a gun." Well, it was someone at Horia's party. One of his friends was dressed in all camouflage with a machine gun of his own. A neighbor saw him, got worried and called the police. It could have been really scary, but it turns out that everything ended well. No one got in trouble or got hurt, so that was a relief.

After an awesome breakfast Sunday morning, I flew back to North Carolina. On the first leg of the flight, I was a little worried when the woman sitting next to me moved her barf bag to the front of the pocket and said, "I hope I don't get sick!" She then proceeded to take some dramamine, eat a Snickers bar and talk my ear off. I had a layover in Detroit and the next leg was shorter and quieter.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Yet Another Awesome-Weekend Recap, Part 1

I'd been looking forward to last weekend for months. Cheryl and I were able to find an affordable plane ticket, so I got to go home for the weekend. It was perfect because I got to spend Halloween at home and it split the time between when I got to see Cheryl in DC and when I'll get to head home for Christmas.

I took off work a bit early on Thursday and a buddy drove me to the airport. RDU is nice because it's a small airport. My flight left at 6 and I got to the airport at 5:15 and still had time to spare. Nice! My flight had a layover in Minneapolis and, although I don't hate flying as much as Cheryl does, it's still kind of annoying. It's just so cramped and I always come away with a cold, or so it seems. The first leg of the flight wasn't that great. There was a baby crying behind me the entire flight and I was on the aisle. A lot of people like the aisle, but I would rank my preference as window-middle-aisle. I'm not a fan of the aisle because you get bumped about 15 times an hour. I got to Minneapolis, chilled out for an hour and then it was on to Seattle. I got into SeaTac at about 11. Cheryl picked me up and it was so great to see her. She looked absolutely beautiful and we couldn't keep our hands or eyes off of each other the whole way home. We stopped by my house to say hi to the fam before heading over her house to call it a night.

She woke up early the next morning to go to work and I had a busy day planned as well. The twins slept over that night so that I could see them in the morning. They came in and woke me up at 9:30 and it was so great to see them—they're so stinkin' cute! I was able to play with them for about a half hour while they ate breakfast and then Liz and I took them to preschool. They were a little confused when they found out I was coming home because when I left, I told them I wouldn't see them again until they're five years old. They remembered that and when they found out I was coming home, they would ask, "Mom, am I five now?" Too cute! The funniest thing that happened while I hung out with them was when I was helping Pax get dressed for school. They were watching a movie while they ate breakfast and when I helped him take his pajama shirt off, I pulled it over his head. Right after it came off (and keep in mind it only crossed his face for about a second!) he asked, "Ali, what did I miss?" Adorable!

For Halloween, the twins dressed up as Optimus Prime & Island Princess Barbie (with some butterfly wings).

We took them to school and then Liz dropped me off at my house. My mom had the day off, so I borrowed her car to go down and have lunch with my dad and our buddy Ken. We went to my dad's favorite sushi spot, which was great because sushi basically doesn't exist in North Carolina. We had a good time with some good food and baseball talk. After that, I went to the King County election office to vote early—because the absentee ballot I requested never showed up. The place was absolutely packed and there was a two hour wait and I wasn't about to get in line. One of the volunteers told me the office was also open on Saturday from 9 to 3, so I decided I would try again the following day.

I headed home to meet Cheryl and we went back to her house to hang for a little bit before heading out with our friends. Although it was Halloween, our party was planned for Saturday night, so we met some friends and checked out the new Kevin Smith flick, Zack and Miri Make a Porno. I love Kevin Smith movies, but it was just okay. I would recommend it to my friends, but maybe just as a rental. As far as funny movies I've seen recently go, it certainly ranks behind Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Step Brothers, but probably ahead of Sexdrive, Pineapple Express and Tropic Thunder.

After the movie, Cheryl, Megan, Horia, Caroline and I walked to 7-Eleven for some Slurpees—another one of my dietary staples that don't exist in North Carolina. Then we headed home and got some sleep...a lot was planned for Saturday!