Today marks my 33rd revolution around the sun courtesy of this fine earth. I appropriately spent most of the weekend not on the computer for a change, and even rewarded myself with sleeping in very late Saturday morning – late being 8:15 am, however. Unfortunately, due to the nasty dry, pollution- and allergen-filled air, I woke up today, my birthday, at about 5:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep. Not fair, not fair at all.
Speaking of dry, this weekend marks 130+ days without rain in the valley. I don’t even know how that’s possible, but one look at the struggling plants all around, you know it’s true. What I find scary is that we’re now only a mere month away from breaking the record – 160 days – with only the slightest hope of rain in the near future.
Last night was spent with Alissa’s family celebrating our nearly shared birthdays (hers is the 27th, believe it or not.) Dinner at Cicio’s – great “family style” Italian if you’re ever in Phoenix – and cake and presents later at their house. I came away with a slew of DVDs that I’ve been needing and two of the four latest Talking Heads remasters (True Stories and Naked) plus the astounding remaster of one of my favorite Brian Eno projects, his album with John Cale, Wrong Way Up. Seriously, if you like Brian Eno’s pop works (his four great solo albums in the 70s, his work with Talking Heads, James, and U2,) you owe it to yourself to pick up this album.
Alissa got a surprisingly fun gift from her older brother – season 1 of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. She had apparently mentioned it in a discussion one day a while back and John took it upon himself to take a chance. It was a good decision – watching a couple of episodes that we hadn’t seen in years proved very rewarding. It was even funnier than I remembered it, and I’m guessing that John will be out picking up his own sets sometime soon – he found them as funn as we did. Now I wish we had more gift-receiving occasions coming up so we could get the rest . . .
Today, as I stated before, I woke up feeling pretty dire. I took some Sudafed and my head cleared out a bit, but it wasn’t until many hours later that I realized why I was feeling so dull and lazy – Sudafed gives you the sleepies, and being already tired probably didn’t help any. I did next to nothing all day, basically, which now makes sense in light of my realization about the Sudafed, but sure made me feel lame at the time for being so slow and groggy. It’s my birthday, afterall!
This evening we went to Claim Jumper for massive portions of food, then back to my parents’ place for more cake and ice cream. It was all too much and both Alissa and I are feeling a bit overindulgent at the moment. We came away with some badly needed cash as a gift (my parents’ usual gift – and more on why it’s “badly needed” in a moment) and yet more cake to fill the fridge with.
Alissa gave me the much-desired second installation in the Guided By Voices Suitcase series – four more discs of very raw demos comprising 100 additional previously unheard songs. It’s an overwhelming amount of music, but that’s what makes GBV so much fun. Grab it all now and discover the gems at your own pace. On top of that, she also got me Talking Heads’ Speaking in Tongues remaster, and I’ll be picking up Little Creatures shortly to finish the collection off. And I know some film-buffs may scoff, but I was thrilled to see a copy of the much-maligned 2010 (the sequel to the beautiful and mysterious 2001: A Space Odyssey, one of my favorite movies of all time, if not my all-time absolute favorite. 2010 may not be so beautiful or mysterious, but I thought it was very effective and absorbing. The first time I saw it, the 11 year old me was completely mesmerized by the special effects and extremely realistic and thoughtfully designed space craft.)
It was Friday on the way home that I realized something a little worrying – our debit cards are due to expire in February, and with only a few days left and no replacements in sight, we had a little problem. Alissa called our credit union and checked on the situation – they claimed they’d been sent out in January! So where are they?! Well, there’s no answer to that so the CU did the safest thing – they cancelled our debit card numbers and are issuing us new cards with new numbers. Unfortunately, we won’t get those cards for a week or more, so we’re basically living on cash for a while, and checks when we can actually use them. If there’s one thing you take for granted, it’s the ease which the invention of the debit card makes in our lives. Paying cash for everything is considerably more annoying and clumsy than I remembered it. The gift-money from my parents comes just in time.
You’ll be seeing a new feature here at the site in the next few days. I’ve decided that I would find it interesting (if not you, Dear Reader) to keep track of the projects I’m working on. I don’t mean house projects, I mean hobby-related projects, so soon you’ll be seeing some stuff about building my RC truck that arrived the other day. At the moment all I have are pictures of parts laid out on the table (which includes a LOT of screws) but there will be more interesting things to come later as I start getting this thing together. After that . . . I don’t know – I’m hoping to revive my interest in modelling (kits, not clothing) because it’s a wonderful diversion.* I don’t need any more excuses to be on the internet than I already have, and I have a talent that I’m not taking advantage of. (May I toot my own horn? Thank you. I won Best In Show at the Arizona State Fair many years ago with a painstakingly detailed recreation of Titanic as it rests on the ocean floor. I’m still blown away by the months I spent building that out of a large kit and a role of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Pics are around somewhere, and I will locate and scan for your perusal someday soon.) I’ve got a number of things I’d like to take on, not the least of which is a painstakingly detailed replica of one of my all-time favorite obsessions, the space shuttle (if I want to be really geeky, I would say “orbiter” instead of “space shuttle” because the latter refers to the entire system – tank, boosters, and orbiter – but I will save face instead. Oops, too late.)
I’m also hoping to get back to a more daily updating of this site – it’s far too easy to let many days go by and too many little daily events get backlogged to really keep track of.* I’m annoyed in looking back that I don’t have as many day-to-day details as I’d hoped to have since Amanda came into our lives. So keep checking back – there will be more than usual going on, and I hope to keep it up.
* (for both asterisks) I do realize the contradiction there – that I wish to spend less time on the internet but also wish to document my projects and life more on the internet. In short, it’s about the quality of the time spent on the internet.