Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Before the Bash and other topics...

Hello hello dear friends! Welcome back to my little space... I haven't forgotten about it, but I just can't make it back often enough to clear out all the cobwebs. They seem to haven taken over the corners and are now trying to take over the center of my brain. And dammit, I hate spiders.

I've been avoiding the internet and all things computer outside of work lately. I had been playing some online poker, but after getting my ass handed to me on some brutal hands and going on some serious tilt, I stepped back and stepped away from the keyboard. It was a good move. I needed the time away. I'm still only coming back in small steps...

I've taught a few friends to play Razz. I love Razz. I thank Felicia for introducing me to the game and giving me some great pointers to get me started. Such a simple game to learn, but a really tough game to master. And I love introducing new people to it. Teaching someone else makes me feel like I have something to give back to people, instead of always taking from others. I don't think I'm any good, but it's a start!

My Mom came to visit as a combination birthday celebration - both hers and mine. She just turned 60 on Sept. 9th, and I had my birthday on the 14th. (It wasn't a milestone birthday, so you don't get to know how old I am. LOL) My friends took me out for dinners the few nights before my birthday, but the weekend was all about making sure Mom had a good time. Although I had to work on my birthday, I made sure to take her to dinner that night, Atlantic City the next day, and on a fishing boat on Saturday.

Yes, you read right. A fishing boat. Mom loves to fish. She's where I get my lack of respect for propriety when it comes to girl/boy-type activities. Fishing is not just something for guys... and Mom proved it. Although she had a slow start and didn't catch anything for the first few hours, she came back with a vengeance and caught 9 huge bluefish. More than anyone else in our group that went, and probably more than anyone else on the boat. We brought home about 80 lbs of fish. And don't bother listening to Al - if food isn't bacon-flavored, he won't eat it half the time. We finished cleaning the fillets that night and threw a test batch on the grill. It tasted great! (Yes, I made Al try it. He didn't make faces... and he'll probably say he lied to me when he said it was good.)

Mom also ended up being the catalyst for me getting in touch with an old friend from high school. Long story short, she had me searching for someone's profile on myspace from my hometown - who was causing a scandal by starting a soft porn website with her husband. (For growing up in a small town, we sure had some fun!) I found the profile for one of the guys that I went to school with from grade school up. I was never a popular kid, but he was always nice to me. Even though I haven't spoken to him in about 15 years, I sent him a quick email to say hi. He sent back a note saying hi and all the normal niceties. I don't know if we'll end up keeping in touch, but it felt good to reconnect with someone from my past. I've had a lot of stress and change going on in my life recently, and it felt like a grounding force. By looking at myself in the same way he would see me, it made me realize just how far I've come in my life and will help me figure out where I'm headed. Then again, he's got a far more exciting life than I do... I think I'm just jealous. :)

So, it's just a few days before the Bash. So much to do, so little time. I'm gonna get to see so many friends that I haven't seen since the last Vegas trip. It always seems like forever in between visits. It's awesome to see so many people come together to get shitfaced for a good cause. I'm so horrible with linking stuff up, or I'd put in all kinds of great links to the charities and the cool people showing up. I guess you'll just have to trust me - or go to Al's website. See the links on the right... I'm even too lazy to link him up. LOL

Here's to using your powers for good instead of evil! And I'll see many of you in just a few days!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Time to catch up

I've started over a half of a dozen posts over the last few weeks. I'd just get into it and something would come up. Work, friends, random stuff... Now it's Friday afternoon before Labor Day weekend. Most of the sane world has today off. Not me... but that would have to mean I was sane or something. LOL

I'm sitting in my office, finishing up last minute adjustments to a brand-new server I built last week. That was a major drain on my time. We had an extremely short timeframe from the point of when the customer signed contract to when we had to deliver a completed server. Anyone who works in a large corporation can attest to how long it takes to get ANYTHING through purchasing. Then, try spending $150K at the end of the fiscal year. Yeah, good luck. It's done though. All that's left to do is yell at Development for doing what I told them not to do (they're on vacation this week) and finish updating my documentation so the next schmuck can do the job when I leave.

I haven't found a new job yet. I'm looking though. I need them to pay me what I'm worth. Or at least the minimum for my position. My immediate management keeps telling me that they're trying to do something. I don't see where there's any question or argument. I'm a level 3. I'm not making the minimum for a level 3. I don't care what the difference is between my current salary and what the minimum is. I'm doing the job, so I deserve it. Actually, I'm doing above my job. I was told by my manager that I'm really doing level 4 work, so they want to give me a promotion. They can stuff their promotion up their asses unless they want to pay me for it. I won't get into my whole reasoning behind it, but if I can't make up the money during the transfer, I'll just put myself (or let them put me) into a deeper hole.

Ok. Enough venting on that. Next topic. :)

I went fishing. I love fishing! A couple of friends had their birthdays in August, on two consecutive days. As part of their birthday presents, a few of us were taking them fishing. (Actually, I really wanted to go, and I knew they'd say yes, so...) Our original day was stormy, so only one of the birthday boys were able to go on the second date. We had a blast! We call caught several fish, but I was the only one who caught a flounder large enough to keep. Chicks rule! My Mom is coming down to celebrate our joint birthdays (hers is Sept. 9th and mine is Sept. 14th), and we're going to take her fishing. I know where I get my fishing genes from... Mom!

The second part of their birthday present was enough to make up for me stealing the fishing spotlight. I cooked for the guys. Now, that doesn't seem like much for some people. The thing is, I can cook. And I can cook well. I made a kick-ass summer dinner grilled and eaten outside on a gorgeous Saturday night in August. I made the guys a dinner of ribs (boneless, fell apart when you put the fork to them), grilled fresh zucchini and peppers, grilled portabella mushrooms with roasted red peppers and fresh mozzarella (even the guy who didn't like mushrooms couldn't stop eating them), and fresh tomato/mozzarella salad. The only thing that was left of the meal was one piece of the 5 lbs. of ribs I grilled.

That was good, but it was the dessert that made the meal. I made a cheesecake. I swear, this thing must have weighed 10 lbs. and was 4 inches thick. My Mom is the queen of cheesecake (she will sell them to restaurants), and I used her recipe and my cheesecake knowledge. It sounds funny to say that, but the recipe is just the starting point. Depending on the ingredients, the weather, the moon cycle, whatever, the batter comes out differently. You need to know how to adjust it by adding in more heavy cream or other ingredients to bring it to the right consistency. It seems that my memory was good enough to make a kick-ass cheesecake. It came out a little brown on top - not burnt, but my Mom's is a perfect cream color - but tasted amazing. I don't know how anyone was able to eat it after the meal, but they did. They keep me around for a reason.

Our pool session ended too. Our team made the playoffs, but we didn't make it past the first round. The team that we played has a reputation for playing dirty and only enforcing rules when it suits their needs. During the tiebreaker match, their shooter called a foul on our guy - a foul which ONLY he saw, even though there were a ton of people watching. That gave the guy ball-in-hand, which meant our shooter lost his turn, their guy could place the cue ball anywhere on the table, and take his shot. With that advantage, he sank his last ball and the 8-ball on that turn. I've been a first-hand victim of their tactics too. The next session starts after the holiday. I need to get some serious practice in. I'm slipping...

Preparations are coming along for this year's Bash at the Boathouse. Go check out Al's website for details. It's his brainchild - and obsession. He and BigMike, along with Bobby Bracelet, are setting up all kinds of great things for two really great charities. Do what you can to help out. It's good Karma. :)

I've been playing poker online, but things haven't changed much. Some days, I get rivered unbelievably badly. Some days, I get to suck-out on people once or twice. (I do my best to always be in with the best hand, but...) I hope to start a couple of homegames with some of the bloggers coming to the Bash. I need to be on the top of my game to play against these sharks. Or at least stock up on LOTS AND LOTS of booze! I have to even the field somehow. And I know bloggers can't resist SoCo and Long Island Iced Teas. Does anyone even remember Brad-o-ween? LOL

It's almost 2 PM here. I think it's almost time to go home. Many people in my hallway already have. I haven't eaten lunch yet... worked right through it. I think I need to take a late lunch. A very long late lunch. Like, until Tuesday morning. I won't let the door hit me on the ass on the way out. It won't even have the chance.