November 2012 Archives

Ho ho ho! Merry - hey. Hold on. Let's settle down a bit, ok? There are still like 26 days before Christmas, right?

So, what's up 'witchyall? Me? I'm fine, thanksferaskin', if not busy with work and the whatnot. But, just because I've been busy busting my hump for the man doesn't mean that I haven't had time to enjoy the view for a bit. Let's see what I've been up to over the past month or so, shall we?

I took a little trip down south to visit Amy, the animals, old friends, and the house down in Northwest Arkansas. It was really nice to get away for a bit and even nicer to hang out with Amy, the critters, and my peeps from down south.

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Poor 'ole Mrs. Squid (Monica) - she's getting to be so old. Her back legs are super wobbly and unstable; it's difficult to watch her try to walk around because she stumbles a fair amount and drags her back feet as she tries to maneuver about. She spends most of her time sleeping and/or lounging around the house. Poor girl... I realize she's nearly 12 years old, but it's still hard to see such a magnificent creature degrade like she is.

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The cats were as goofy as ever... Sulley and Kramer provided plenty of laughs as they "did battle" with one another. Kramer is such a geek and Sulley loves to pick on him. Ernie provided comic relief by bounding through the living room, hurdling the ottoman and leaping in his vertical/sideways fashion. Kosmo sniped us from afar, while grunting little "meows."

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Riley and Regis were as good as ever - Regis is such a beast. Strong, solid, and that blockhead of his... Riley still looks like a little tick and craves attention moreso than ever. It was really good to see them.

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Amy's doing well; the animal shelter is as busy as ever. She got a call one night stating that the police had dropped-off a chihuahua in an outside pen; she dutifully got-up and drove to the shelter so the little guy didn't have to sit outside in the cold night air. She also woke-up extra early one morning (like 4:00am early) so that she could meet a transport group and send some dogs to better homes. I don't know how she does it.

I worked on the house for a bit; replaced a leaky wax ring seal on one of the toilet drains, cleaned the roof and gutters, cleaned the yard of fallen leaves, sprayed for weeds, treated for bugs, and did a few other odds-n-ends.

I also got to ride my bike for a bit as the weather was truly excellent. Day time temperatures were typically in the 60s and low 70s, although a few days did dip down into the 50s.

We ate dinner with friends nearly every night, which means my belly is bigger than ever... I must - MUST - get back onto a plan here, because my pants are seriously in dire shape.

After a week spent south of the Mason/Dixon line, I loaded-up the car and headed north, my trusty co-pilot resting comfortably (for her) the entire way home.

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Upon returning to home base here in WI, I decided to revisit my musical side. I had been contemplating another guitar purchase for quite some time... I knew that I wanted an American-made, solid wood, electric guitar, but I didn't want a Fender. So, I started researching and decided that a Gibson Les Paul might fit the bill.

I searched high-and-low online at places like Craigslist, eBay, and countless retailers before deciding to visit the local Guitar Center. After a few hours of shopping, I left with a beautiful Gibson Les Paul Studio, in faded cherry finish.

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The thing is silky smooth and an absolute joy to play. I was surprised by how well I remembered my old chords, riffs, and songs. I was back to pickin' the likes of Queensryche, Metallica, and White Lion songs in no-time, although they were a little choppy.

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The body features a solid build; the thing is heavy and very substantial. The neck is silky smooth; the action is perfect. If only my fingers felt the same - calluses are an important "must-have" when playing the gee-tar... it feels like I've been pinch-rolling razor blades all day!

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I did discover the world of online guitar classes. Holy cow are there some great classes out there! I spent a solid 2-hours last night online, following along with a teacher and really picking-up on things. I spent another hour tonight taking additional classes. And they're cheap!! Just $15 per month gets you unlimited class time and countless options.

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Huge thanks to the fine folks at the local Guitar Center for the smokin' deal on this new set-up and for their patience and help as I pondered my options, tested various guitars, and asked countless questions.

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You just can't beat that good 'ole Made in the USA stamp... Thank you, Gibson for crafting such a fine piece of machinery!


And finally, I got to attend another Yelp elite event earlier tonight. It was sponsored by a new local restaurant called "DLux" and it featured 6 - count 'em, six - new and intriguing burger offerings, tasty appetizers, extravagant french fries (truffle oil, bleu cheese, bacon, and parmesan, just to name a few options), and complimentary beverages. And, like all of the other Yelp events, this one was completely free-of-charge.

The staff at DLux went all out - they even drafted "Yelpy" greetings on various food dishes... here's their Alsum Farm Spicy Sweet Corn dip, adorned with a Yelp signature. It was served with Frito's Scoops, and was simply divine.

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Great event, great food, fun people, and free. What more could a guy ask for?!

And with that, I'm off to play on the guitar for a bit before I head to bed. Take it easy, everyone!

Go Pack Go - Part ???

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So, I realize I've been lucky enough to attend a bunch of Packers games, but no matter how often you visit Lambeau Field, it's always a good time. Even more so when you can hang with good friends, and even more so yet when the Pack wins.

Such was the case a few weekends ago, when I was invited to attend a game with my friend (and co-worker) Chris, his brother, and their friend Eric.

We started the day by firing-up a proper tailgate, complete with brats, sauteed peppers and onions, cheese dip, and a few adult beverages...

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Now, I enjoy a refreshing brew as much as the next guy does... but it takes a special occasion to crack open a cold one at 9:15am on a Sunday morning, in 40-degree weather, while sitting in an old K-Mart parking lot.

We managed to score an excellent spot from which to park and tailgate - entry was swift and efficient, and we were blessed with plenty of warming sun. By 10:00am, things were fairly warm; the brats were ready and things were good.

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Well, they were good until we had a slight incident with the cheese dip.

You see, our grille was a tad on the petite side, so space was at a premium. We managed to squeeze everything onto the cooking grate, but due to one slightly careless lift of the lid, we lost all of our cheese dip to a spill. It was truly a heart-wrenching moment... desperate for cheese, we sunk to a new low as seen here:

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Another nice benefit of our parking spot was that we had less than a 5-minute walk to the stadium... so at around 11:30, we cleaned-up our space, packed-up the car and bid farewell to our fellow tailgaters. Here's a photo of our motley crew as we prepared to depart for the game:

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That's me on the left (eeek, so fat!), Chris, Mark, and Eric.

Gotta' love the sea of green as you make your way into the stadium:

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And here's the hallowed grounds - it's such a magical place.

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Even more magical when you encounter "enthusiastic" fans like this guy:

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That's Chris with a guy that we met while waiting to get into the stadium. The camera crews loved that guy - he was on the big screen(s) almost as much as Aaron Rodgers was. :-)

Once inside the stadium, we found our seats, which were super awesome - I'd say we sat just about on the 35 yard line, on the Packers side. And, we were lucky (again) to have the sun at our backs, so we stayed warm.

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We had no sooner found our seats than the national anthem kicked-off, which was followed by a fly-over with a pair of F-16s. Those things are super awesome - they were flying really, really low.

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The game kicked-off and we cheered with the best of 'em. Our section was a bit rambunctious - there was a guy sitting a few rows in front of us who stood and waved his arms after nearly every play. He also liked to high-five everyone around him... I think I must've given out at least 140 high-fives.

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Before we knew it, the game was over, and the Pack had gotten the job done - they managed to win (they were playing the Jaguars, who only have the worst record in the league), so all was good. To say our section was happy would be an understatement...

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With the game over, we made our way back to the car and Mark chauffeured us back to Watertown, where I picked-up the Flea and we grabbed a bite to eat at Culver's (mmm.... Wisconsin Swiss Melt).

After a quick dinner, we were back in town, where we bid each other farewell. Back home, the Flea looked to be quite happy - here she is sitting on her Packers blanket with her favorite toy (which is, ironically, a cat toy).

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...and you may be wondering why I'm writing a blog entry at 4:00am on a Saturday... it's because I'm at work - one of my projects is going live this weekend and the team is converting a system. I'm keeping them company but not doing much in terms of production - the guys are doing coding and development work - I'm just here to provide food, drink, and moral support. With any luck, we'll be done by around 6:00pm on Saturday.

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2012 is the previous archive.

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