Joel, yet I can't turn away."
Monday, December 29th 2003
And we're back! The cruise was great, and we still haven't unpacked. We got back yesterday afternoon without fuss or muss, and did Missy care? Not that much. Julie met up with us, and we went to see LoTR: Return of the King again (Julie hadn't seen it yet.)
Today, I took a vacation day to get some errands done, plus do some "settling in". I had a dentist appointment this morning, visited my parents, then came home. I've been cleaning ever since, and Num's been working on the wedding thank-you notes. Yeah, finally. Well, this is the first actual break she's had since the wedding, and we're hoping to churn them out this week.
I'll work on the honeymoon pictures this week, plus a cruise recap and my reflections of 2003. A truly momentous year for me. She's off the entire week, and I'm only working Tuesday and Wednesday. I'm off again Thursday and Friday. Wow, a 4-day weekend.
Sunday, December 21st 2003
It's 3:49am, and we stayed up all night. We done packing yet? Not quite, but we better catch that 6am flight. See you all in a week! Happy holidays!
Thursday, December 18th 2003
I saw my movie! Return of the King was good. The battles were so good. Okay, I'll admit that a 3 1/2 hour movie is kinda long, and if you're not a fan, it might be too long, but the fans shouldn't have a problem. I do see what some reviewers are saying about having many endings, but it's alright -- you need resolution to everyone's personal stories.
Did I mention the battles were really good? Phew! I also saw the new trailer for The Chronicles of Riddick (sequel to the so-so Pitch Black from three years ago.) The official site for the movie is up, but it really doesn't have much, except for a brief movie synopsis. And speaking of trailers, the SpiderMan 2 teaser is already out. I'm not sure I'm ready for Alfred Molina to play Doc Ock, but we'll see.
So my department holiday party is tomorrow night. Hope it's good. Argh, 1:52am. Time for bed.
Wednesday, December 17th 2003
One more day until the movie! I can't wait! It's killing me inside!
Funny little story. I fell asleep on the way to Penn Station, and I was jolted awake by this guy walking by and his bag banged me straight on my forehead. It's a jolt sometimes to just wake up, not realized you had fallen asleep. It's even worse when you just got clocked in the forehead by a big stupid bag, by a big stupid guy.
Tuesday, December 16th 2003
Who are we kidding? I'ts 4:03am Tuesday morning. I've spent a few hours working on getting my Quicken accounting all fixed. I know I started around 11:30pm, and only finished just now. After all that trouble, my Discover card account adds up, as does my 401(k), which took the most time. Actually, my Quicken and the online website are off from each other by one stupid penny, but I'm going to attribute that to rounding differences. It's a rounding difference, right?
You know, I actually wrote the Sunday post on Sunday, but I lost my broadband connection, and I couldn't upload the posting until this evening. Since I was delayed, I took the time to upload numerous pictures to go along with it. I hope it was everything you imagined and more. That reminds me that I think I'll start on my annual "Joel's Thoughts about the Past Year" this week. This way, you'll have something to read while I'm on the honeymoon.
So, you've hopefully read that I've been in MS SQL Server training all day. The instructor kept taking 10-minute breaks, because she realized that she had 41 pairs of glazed eyes in front of her, and we needed to stretch or something. I'll be in training all day Tuesday too.
After doing some shopping at Barnes & Noble and Pier 1 (yes, I got dragged to Pier 1 against my will) in Paramus after work, we came home, and I made beef fajitas and spanish rice. Yes, with real fajitas. Who da man?
Two more days until I get to see Return of the King. The NY Daily News movie reviewer gave it 4 stars. The movie review's title? "Crowning glory of 'King.'" How's that for a good impression. I can't wait to see all 3 hours and 20 minutes of it.
Sunday, December 14th 2003
The "Girlification" of my apartment has truly begun. I tried to ignore the flowerly shower curtain, the wicker baskets for the dirty laundry, and I really pleaded ignorance about the shoes. But now, there is no doubt in my mind that a woman lives here, and she's taking over. How did I arrive at this undeniable fact?
We have curtains now. And even worse? Art.
I spent a better part of my Sunday afternoon putting up the brackets, trying to make sure they were all level, drilling holes in the wall, etc. Now, we have curtains (sheer green & whites) in the dining room and living room. I also heard we'll need some in the bedroom. I also heard we'll need some "holdbacks" (must be the technical term) to hold the curtains open.
I can't believe we had snow again this weekend. It took us 30 minutes to get to church this morning, and we missed the sermon. Being late beforehand doesn't help the situation.
Let's see about a recap. Friday, Num took the day off to work on her passport update. She came by around 11, and I gave her the tour of my office (she also thought my cubicle was small, but I pointed out the window view.) We then went for lunch at Dos Caminos (excellent fresh guacamole, btw.) As I dropped her off @ the 23rd St. subway station, they were filming Sex & the City at Madison Square Park. I saw Kristen Davis, and lo and behold!, she has a really nice butt. In the evening, I met up with Num in Chinatown, where she was getting this Japanese hair straightening procedure done. 6 hours in the chair, and still not done. I got tired of waiting, so I got a haircut too. From a guy named Nelson.
Saturday, we picked up her mom, and went to a dual baptism in Long Island. Yes, dual, but they're all related to my friend Tabitha. Sorry, no pictures, since I left the camera at home. Doofus.
In the evening, did a little shopping at Target to get some groceries, including the curtain rods, and mundane things like cat litter and 36 cans of Fancy Feast. Stupid cat. After grocery shopping, we went to St. Paul's & Resurrection (her dad's church) for their holiday Lessons & Carols service. Very nice singing. Forgot the camera again. Why did I even bother to buy a digital camera, if I was going to keep forgetting it.
After that (long day already), we drove to Loew's Ridgefield Park and finally saw Elf. Not a bad movie, and Will Ferrell was pretty funny. Not "Old School" drop-dead funny, but it had its moments.
I have so much to do this week, before the honeymoon. Also, I have two days of Microsoft SQL Server training starting tomorrow. I hope I retain all this stuff in my head.
Thursday, December 11th 2003
Uh, uh, what time is it? It's 6:50am. Why am I up this early? Before you assume that I stayed up all night, let me tell you that you couldn't be farther from the truth. I came home last night at 7:30, I changed, and went to bed. Before I knew it, it was 5:30am, and I had slept the entire night. Didn't eat dinner, didn't enter the living room, I didn't even take out my contacts! I was out!
Missed my parents' anniversary yesterday. I'll call today from work, but I'm going to get the guilt trip from them.
Got a text message from Julie in New Orleans. She wrote something about enjoying the clubs, but considering that she's at a pharmaceutical conference, I'll assume that she's just being sarcastic. She's arriving tonight @ Newark around 7pm, and I'm picking her up.
Ah, I think wifey is out of the shower, so that's my cue to get ready for work.
Tuesday, December 9th 2003
Just one of those days. In my haste, I left my weekly train pass on the train this morning. What a waste.
Monday, December 8th 2003
What did I say? The "Average Joe's" didn't stand a chance when they brought the pretty boys. She went for the pretty boy. And now they're going to have another show in January? And they're already revealing that they're bringing another set of good-lookin' guys? What's the point of watching? It's just going to be a repeat of this show. I mean, look, you're comparing a regular guy (but he was rich? I missed that.) vs. a "model/wannabe weatherman." A model? Please, there's no competition.
For this average Joe, life is good. For the first time in 2 months, this apartment is clean. I mean, I can actually see the floor. The living room, the bedroom, even the bedroom closet. I have my home theater setup, I'm going on my honeymoon in 2 weeks, and best of all, I'm married to my gal. Pretty sweet.
Back to the cleanliness. The reason everything is so clean is because my in-laws finally made it over for dinner last night, seeing the apartment for the 1st time. Now you know why we've been cleaning since Thanksgiving weekend. I'll show you some pictures, I'm so proud. We're still not completely done.
Oh, back to dinner last night. We were really rushed. Her parents were only 10 minutes away, we had only cooked the soup, and I didn't even finish vacuuming. Doh! Luckily, we did a lot of prep work hours before. I had already cut the chicken, breaded it, and set it up on the cooking sheet. I had also sliced and diced all the vegetables. You get the idea.
Anyway, our Thai dinner turned out excellent. The menu?
wheat crackers with a spicy jam and cream cheese.
Dessert: sticky jasmine rice with mango
What a menu! Rave reviews all around. Don't you want to come over now for dinner? :)
Afterwards, Julie came over to work on her resume, and sleep for a while. I was taking her to Newark Airport for her resheduled flight (3rd time's the charm) at 6:09am, which meant I had to drive her at 4:30am. Yikes! I came back and slept, then I was in training all day (and tomorrow) learning "Data Analytics." Fascinating, I tell ya.
Finally, the cable guy came over (yes, somebody actually showed up.) The verdict? The signal is screwed up at the source (at the pole) and it IS affecting the entire building. 75+ apartments, and I'm the only one to call in a problem? Well, he said he'll have to call an engineering team in, and it should all hopefully be resolved by Wednesday.
Holding my breath? Right.
Thursday, December 4th 2003
Snow? This weekend? But I'm supposed to go to my friend George's party tomorrow night @ Savannah Lounge. Argh.
Spoke to the supervisor from Comcast Cable this morning, and he's gonna send his "best guy" out here on Monday evening to figure out the situation. We shall see, but I'm not holding my breath.
Guess what came in early? My X-Men Collection (X-Men/X2 - Widescreen Edition.) I just finished watching X2. Good movie. Again, love that true home theater feeling.
Oh, so I used my new wok for the 1st time. It's interesting, but the dynamics of cooking stir-fry is different than using a regular skillet. I made a chicken stir-fry with snow peas, broccoli, celery, and carrots, flavored with a Korean BBQ stir-fry sauce. Put the whole thing over white rice, and you have an Ipe gourmet meal. I'll keep practicing this weekend, especially if we get snowed in.
Wednesday, December 3rd 2003
You can't blame me: I conked out on the loveseat last night around 9 or 10pm. Woke up in the middle of the night, realized that I still had my contacts in. Don't you hate that?
My dad had surgery (again) today, so Num and I went to visit him. He's home already. He can only take baby steps, but I'm hoping he'll heal fast. He's all hopped up on painkillers at the moment.
You know, I'm still having problems with my tv cable. The lower channels are still getting interference. I called yesterday, and scheduled an appointment for today, but they could only give me 3-5pm, so I had to take a half-day. I call up the system on the way to the train, and the automated system confirmed that I had a Dec 3rd appt for 5-7pm. 5pm to 7pm? What? I asked the service rep about late afternoon appointments, and she said they had nothing.
So, I'm sitting around this afternoon, and around 6:59pm, I decide to call and see what's up. The system still tells me that I have an appt. I speak to a rep, and she says, "Uh, they already came. They did pole work during a window of 9am-6pm. No other appointments in my apartment."
Say what? "Then why did I have to stay here from 3-5 (or 5-7...whatever)? Even the automated system still says that I have an appointment."
She doesn't know, so she leaves a message for the Glen Ridge supervisor. Hopefully, I'll find what to do next by tomorrow. This is absolutely ridiculous. I wasted an entire afternoon that I have to make up for this week. Argh.
BTW, that Tuesday meeting I stayed up all night for, so I wouldn't be late to? Yeah, it got postponed.
Again I say: "Argh."
Monday, December 1st 2003
Guess what? It's exactly 4am on Tuesday morning. I polished off nearly a liter of Pepsi, so the caffeine has got me up and about. I have a meeting with my manager for my annual performance review at 10am, and I really don't think it's advisable to nap and even take the slightest chance that I might oversleep. I'm going to leave for work around 6-something, and get to work bright and early. No joke today.
Yes, my system has arrived. It took me a long time to put together, but I had a pleasant surprise when I read the outside of the box it came in. Apparently, it's 750 watts: the 6 speakers equal 600 watts, plus the 150 watt subwoofer. That equals 750 watts. Wow.
Anyway, here's a picture of the components. It's actually two separate Onkyo components: the HT-R510 AV receiver (to plug all my current and future components into, plus the AM/FM tuner), and the DV-CP701 6-DVD/CD changer. I haven't got the complete hang of the whole thing, and I think the DVD player instruction manual sucks big ones. When it's "walking" you through the initial setup, there are numerous options, and the manual just says, "Choose your option, and hit enter on the remote controller."
Yeah, thanks. Like I even know what half the features are being shown on the tv screen. Anyway, the AV receiver is on the middle rack, and the DVD player is on the top.
I tried out scenes from Saving Private Ryan (DTS edition) and LoTR: Fellowship of the Ring, and everything is pretty cool so far. I'm still tweaking the subwoofer and the surround channels. Private Ryan sounds a little light, and I have to boost the volume up, but when I do, it's excellent. I can hear the bullets flying on all sides, and the floor vibrates when the shells explode.
We also bought two wicker laundry hampers from Linens 'n Things tonight. Now we can keep our dirty laundry in style.
Sunday, November 30th 2003
Is this glorious 4-day weekend over already? Back to the daily grind.
Thanksgiving went well, albeit a little boring, at my parents'. I say it's a success when there's no screaming, crying, or active guilting. I think the highlight of the entire weekend was all the cleaning and rearranging we're finally doing. We never did get to completing our wedding "Thank You" cards. Suppose we'll keep trying. :)
Much has been cleaned, trashed, rearranged, donated, and what-not, during these past few weeks. While my clothes spin in the dryer downstairs, let me recap.
See? We're on a tear. Tomorrow, after my equipment gets here, we're buying some new hampers from Bed Bath & Beyond. Saturday is when I picked up the A/V rack. Interestingly enough, the brand is "Maxim Magazine" with "Z-Line Designs." Well, it's the best that Num and I could agree with. First a magazine, then hair-coloring for men, now furniture? I'm also really happy about getting speaker stands. I never liked just leaving the speakers on the floor, but now I'll have some cool stands for them.
I didn't get a new CD/DVD tower, since everything we saw was kinda lame. Instead, I kept my original IKEA CD tower, and I put all the DVDs under the tv (since I don't have A/V components under there anymore.) You can see them in the big living room picture above. You'll also see some grey/black equipment piled on the floor next to the couch on the left. That's all going to my sister later this week. See? Donations too.
Speaking of which, I checked the UPS site, and my system has been sitting in Parsippany since Wednesday. If I had only ordered it one day earlier!
I also got a new replacement wok from Crate & Barrel on Saturday. My original wok (wedding gift) from them kinda caught fire (never a good thing), and I asked them for a replacement. The story is, it comes with this protective plastic coating for protection during transportation. You're supposed to cover it with vegetable oil, heat it for 3-5 minutes, then rub off the coating with a sponge. All of a sudden, it starts smoking and turns brown. Yikes!
I took it over to Short Hills Mall, and as I mention it to the salesperson, she turns to the manager and says, "This is the 2nd one this week." So, she tells me that they have a cast-iron wok, and has no coating. I pay the extra 15 bucks, and now I have a real wok. I'll take a picture later; it's already 12:55am.
We postponed dinner with the in-laws from today until next Sunday. By then, the apartment should be in tip-top shape, new furniture should be in place, garbage should be out of here, and they'll think we're naturally this hip.