Thursday, November 30, 2006

Delivering the Rock

Today my group at work went over to the St. Paul Curling Club for an afternoon of curling. It was a really fun time, considering virtually no one had ever curled before.

The St. Paul Curling Club is apparently the largest curling club in the US and possibly the world (they claim the title and no one has disputed it). They have a cool 90+ year-old building complete with 8 'sheets' of ice.

After an awesome catered lunch (with some of the best sausage I've ever had), we broke into teams of four and spent a little over two hours curling. I ended up being the captain for my team, which was pretty fun. Being captain, you don't get to do as much sweeping, but you do get to throw last and so can play a big role in how your team does.

I turned out to be pretty accurate with the rock, and so I did pretty well. I scored our team's points in 5 of the 8 rounds, including the last four rounds straight. The highlight was using my throws to turn what would have been a 4 to Zero point score for my Boss' team into a 1 to Zero point score for us by knocking their rock out of the center of the house and leaving mine closer then all the others. That was good payback for when we were in Cambridge and my Boss was torching me in Cribbage.

I was somewhat less useful as a captain for yelling sweeping instructions. It took several ends before I felt like I had even a vague idea of how much sweeping a given throw was going to require. And even then, it was difficult to tell.

Regardless my team ended up winning 7 to 3 after eight ends, and I think everyone had a good time. I know I did. If you have a chance to try curling, I highly recommend it.


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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Spoilers Ahoy

Last night my entertainment while running on the treadmill was watching the Season 2 finale of House. Yes, I really am that far behind in the show.

Basically, I don't watch any TV shows 'live' or even during the season. I just save up all the episodes and then during the winter when I can't bike anymore, I watch through the previous season(s) at my own pace. This works pretty good, with the exception that I have to be somewhat careful not to read or see too much about the plot twists and turns.

Normally, I've been pretty successful at avoiding any major spoilers, although there have been two fairly major accidents.

Once a major news site had a headline saying something like "Character A dies on latest Lost episode", complete with a headshot of the character on the front page. Whoops.

Then, this summer I was reading a magazine that had an article about Fox Corporation, and randomly in the middle of the article they said something like "Major hits for Fox include House, where the title character XXXXXXXX in the season 2 finale". Nice. No warning, just a giant random spoiler in a more-or-less unrelated article.

But I guess that is the price I pay for being able to watch an entire season of a show over the course of 2 months.


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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Overtime Lawsuits

I watch with mild interest all of the overtime lawsuits that get computer companies are settling these days.

International Business Machines Corp. said Wednesday it will settle a class action lawsuit with certain IBM current and former employees for $65 million.

...alleged that certain employees in IBM's Technical Services Professional and Information Technology Specialist job categories were improperly classified as exempt from overtime.

IBM is just the latest of course. Earlier this month, Oracle (on behalf of Siebel) settled a similar lawsuit. And CSC, EA and others also settled cases in the last few years.

My interest is, obviously, at least somewhat self-centered in terms of wondering if and when my former employer will face a similar lawsuit. Over the years, I mentioned several times the excessive hours I worked to get things done on the necessary schedules.

Now, I don't have any issue with extra hours within reason as required, and I've never been accused of not being a productive worker. But as the company spiraled further and further into financial difficulties, the pressure to 'do more with less' rocketed upwards. Certainly when you institute a policy of only replacing one out of every two people who leave (or less) and don't reduce the workload, something has to give. And we wouldn't be talking pocket change here. Based on what I recall of my average hours per week just for the last year, we'd be talking over 50 grand.

I did note with some interest that many of the lower-level technical positions that were salaried at my previous company are hourly at my new company. I assume that's directly related to overtime lawsuits.


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Monday, November 27, 2006

Dinner Marketing

Last night, one of the chores we didn't get around to completing after our trip home from Duluth was the grocery shopping. That wasn't a particular problem, until dinner sidled closer and closer, and we realized that we had done an..efficient..job of cleaning out the house of food before leaving for Thanksgiving. So, taking the lazy man's way out, we just went out to eat.

What was interesting about our dinner was that the restaurant we went to was party to an interesting marketing scheme. At each table, in addition to the random condiments and usual flip-display of ads of appetizers, drinks, and dessert options there was a little cardboard display advertising a board game: Buzzword.

That little cardboard sign actually contained about a dozen sample cards for the game. Since the game is a relatively simple word game, this let you try out the game during the time you'd normally have to, you know, make conversation.

Not that Linzy and I have problems coming up with things to talk about, but the game was actually mildly amusing and perfectly suited to provide a little entertainment while waiting for our meal to be cooked.

I certainly won't be running out to buy the game, but the marketing definitely managed to make the game's existence memorable. Of course, I'm sure I will get tired of the ploy when sample-cards-from-board-games-at-the-dinner-table reaches over saturation. But for now, I thought it was clever.

[ Update: And no, this is not a cheap ploy to get the game for Christmas. It wasn't that good of a game. ]

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thanksgiving Weekend

Linzy and I spent this weekend up in Duluth spending Thanksgiving with her family. The weekend was fairly relaxed, and a lot of fun.

I had Wednesday off of work, so we took a leisurely (or slow, depending on how you look at it) drive up to Duluth in the afternoon. We spent most of the remainder of the day assisting with preparations for the big day. That evening, Larry and I watched "Find Me Guilty", which was not particularly noteworthy.



As usual, Thanksgiving day festivities were held at Linzy's parent's house. Sandy's side of the family came over, although now that Linzy's cousins have gotten older, there were a lot fewer people then there have been in past years. It was a fun time, with lots of good food. Although Stacy and I spent hours doing all of the dishes afterwards.



On Friday, Linzy spent the morning hitting the Black Friday bargains while Sandy worked, and then they both spent the rest of the day shopping. Larry and I spent the day visiting car lots looking for a used pickup truck for Larry. In the middle we stopped to see Casino Royale. I enjoyed the film, although I had some quibbles with it. Surprisingly, Larry liked it too and even acknowledged that Daniel Craig 'might not be too hard to get used to'. That's high praise from Larry. That evening everyone met up with Lonny and some of his friends for dinner at Timberlodge.



Saturday was a bit more laid back. Larry and I spent the morning installing a new doorknob and deadbolt on Linzy's Grandparent's house. Then after lunch Larry, Linzy and I went up to Two Harbors to check out their used car lots. After dinner, we all watched Cars. Which was better then 'Find Me Guilty', much better, and a big hit with everyone.



Today we made the trip back home, and did most of the chores that pile up when you've been gone for a long weekend. All in all it was a very enjoyable and relaxing holiday weekend.


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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Today we're headed up to Duluth to spend Thanksgiving, just like last year and the year before. Unlike last year, however, I'm not expecting any work intrusions into my holiday this year.

It should be fun to see everyone and eat a bunch of good food. I'm sure we'll spend some time with Linzy's grandparents and hopefully with friends who still live in the area. Plus I'm going to try and talk Larry into going to see Casino Royale with me on Friday.

Have a good Thanksgiving!


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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sell Out

One of my favorite songs to play (very poorly, if we are talking expert difficulty) on Guitar Hero 2 is Beast and the Harlot by Avenged Sevenfold. This wasn't too much of a surprise, since I already liked their latest album. In fact, as soon as I heard that Beast and the Harlot was going to be among the songs in GH2, I started listening to the guitar solos with new appreciation, dreading trying to replicate them even with five-buttons.

Anyway, the other day I happened to be reading a random article that mentioned in passing how the band had changed their sound with their latest album and were being called sell-outs by their former 'fans'.

I thought to myself, well that's pretty much a textbook example of what would get labeled as selling out.

1) They sign to a major label
2) They significantly change their sound (primarily having actual singing instead of just screaming for vocals)
3) Someone who is dangerously close to 30 likes your new album and didn't particularly care for the previous indie ones.

If that doesn't get you tagged as a sell-out, I'm not sure what does.


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Monday, November 20, 2006

Mount Mess

When I was in fifth grade, we had an assignment to create a volcano at home. Then everyone was supposed to bring them in and we would make the erupt (with some sort of chemical concoction that would spew red liquid out of the top). Pretty standard stuff.

As was typical for my entire education career, I started making my volcano the night before it was due. And by 'started', I mean that I didn't even have any sort of material for making the volcano so the whole nights work started with a trip to a local store to buy volcano-making supplies.

I assume the intention was for us to make the volcanoes out of something like paper maché. I don't know exactly what it was that we bought, but it wasn't paper maché. It was white, with the consistency of rice pudding. I worked the giant, slimy, chunky pile into something that was vaguely the shape of a volcano and called it complete.

A few hours later, the soggy, gently vibrating mess didn't look any different. I started wondering exactly how long this stuff took to dry. I don't recall exactly but I think it was somewhere in the 24-48 hour range. I had about 10.

There was only one solution, and that was heat-assistance. So into the oven went my wobbly pile of mystery material. Whatever it was didn't smell particularly good as it was baking. It also didn't seem to be actually drying. There was a slight crust forming on the outside edges, but that was it. At this point, there wasn't a whole lot I could do. So I went to bed hoping the stupid thing would dry by the next morning when I had to bring it to school.

Despite my lack of planning on the volcano project in general, I did manage to arrange for my Mom to give me a ride to school in the morning, so I didn't have to try to take the still-not-dry volcano on its rather large board on the bus.

We arrived at school just before all the buses showed up. For some reason I headed up to the building by myself, backpack on, balancing the volcano on its board with my two little stubby fifth-grader arms.

Somehow, during the struggle to hold the wiggling, soggy volcano on its board and open the school door, disaster struck. The volcano started slide of its board, and while trying to recapture it the whole volcano/board tipped out of control and I dropped it.

I was not a particularly tall kid, but I was plenty tall enough for the board and volcano to reach a substantial velocity before striking the ground. Upon which, the still-undried-volcano shot off the board and splattered all over the ground.

At precisely that moment, every school bus in the city pulled up and disgorged hundreds of kids just in time to see my volcano splatter all over the front sidewalk of the school. With me standing there with my mouth open, in stunned silence.

The odd nature of whatever it was I had made my volcano out of meant that there was a large, white, chunky puddle immediately in front of half the doors to the school. Even better, the wet material had an odd odor. Basically it looked like three or four kids had thrown up half-digested rice pudding all over.

My teacher was somewhat disbelieving of the whole ordeal. She nicknamed my stinky, soggy volcano leftovers Mount Mess, and the name stuck. I believe my yearbook from that year even has some 'kind' fifth-grader comments about 'Mount Mess'. It was the talk of at least my grade for weeks. Which is approximately a lifetime in fifth-grader time.


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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Pickup Line

Last week over lunch I was walking through the skyways over by the Target Center. I passed a guy wearing a big fur coat and what looked like pajama bottoms.

After I got a little way down the hall, he started yelling "Hey slim". I have to admit I was thinking "Shoot, what does he want". After repeating the call, he called "Hey you in the black jacket", which clarified that he was in fact talking to a lady a little ahead of me. They had this conversation (held by yelling back and forth):

Dude: Hey, I've got some shoes you should take a look at.
Lady: What?
Dude: I have these shoes, you should check them out.
Lady: I am going to work.
Dude: Oh, you don't look like you should have to work. Where do you work?
Lady: St. Paul.
Dude: Oh, you ride the bus?
Lady: Yeah.
Dude: Hey, what's your name?
Lady: Mrs. <whatever>
Dude: What?
Lady: Mrs <whatever>
Dude: Oh, I thought you said "Ms". Are you married?
Lady: Yeah.
Dude: Oh, well I don't want to talk to you then.

I have to admit I've never heard "Hey I have some shoes you should look at" as a pickup line. Based on a highly-scientific sampling, it works about as well as you might expect.


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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Crosswords

I ended up one person shy of a seat on the bus on the way home today (although that one seat would have been in the middle of the sardine row, so perhaps I didn't want it). As I was standing for the ride home, I noticed the lady to my left was busy doing a crossword puzzle.

One of the rows I watched her enter was "TSFJADC", the next one was "OIQW".

That's not doing a crossword, that's putting random letters in squares.

I'm not quite sure what the reasoning behind bringing a crossword as your only entertainment on the bus, if you just going to slap random letters in the grid until it's filled up. You might as well just bring some scratch paper and draw sketches of Ligers.


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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

No Damage Here

I mentioned last month that back in August my neighborhood had a relatively severe hail storm. Since then, we've had a number of people out to look at the property to inspect for damage (though not Integrity Plus, of course, because they're idiots).

I was shocked, shocked I say, that every single one of the people who came out toed the party line.

Roofing companies: Damage to the roof, needs to be replaced.
Insurance Company: No hail damage from this storm, no need to replace.


It's hard to imagine that there might be a bit of bias on both sides.

Eventually, after we sicced the roofing company on the insurance company, some appeals and other gyrations the insurance company eventually admitted that perhaps the roof does need replacing.

Of course, in true insurance company fashion, even when they did send us a settlement check, it was for less then the estimate we submitted. Meaning more back-and-forth while the roofing company and insurance people haggle out the actual price for replacing a roof.

I fully anticipate next August to be looking for a new insurer, after this one adds 50% to my rate for renewal to recoup their costs.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Exactly one year ago today, I posted about the pointlessness of making sullen high schoolers running the cash registers at retail stores ask whether people 'found everything ok'. The inspiration for the post was during a disappointing trip to Best Buy to buy dual-layer DVDs.

Over the past year I've slowly worked my way through the pack of dual-layer discs I bought last year. So, I am once again in the market for some dual-layer discs.

Surely, I thought, now that another year has passed and you can get cheap 16x dual-layer burners basically anywhere, they must carry faster DVDs at Best Buy.

Hah. It's actually gotten worse.

Now despite having an entire wall section full of DVD media (versus half-a-wall-section last year) they still carry only 2.4x dual-layer media and one overpriced 5-pack of 6x discs re-branded with a sticker as being 'up to 10x'. Forgive me for my doubts as to that stickers credibility.

Apparently I must be the only person looking to put more then an hour of full bitrate movie files on a single DVD. Or at least the only one unwilling to devote 50 minutes to burning a 2.4x dual-layer disc.


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Monday, November 13, 2006

Microsoft Tax

This weekend Linzy and I were over at my parents house for a nice replacement Thanksgiving dinner (since they will be out cheering my sister on at the Philly Marathon).

While we were killing time waiting for dinner, my Dad and I got sidetracked trying to figure out how much a new computer would cost them. The end result price wasn't too surprising, but what I was surprised by was just how much of that price was directly related to Vista and Office: 41%.

Roughly $500 of the projected $1200 cost was for upgrade versions of either Vista Home Premium or Office Professional.

Now granted, Office Professional, at $329 for an upgrade, has the most to with that bloated figure. But they do have legitimate reasons for wanting Access, and that basically forces you into getting Office Professional.

I don't know that the prices for an OS and Office suite have really gotten much more expensive then they used to be back in the day (Office is actually cheaper, I think), but as computer components get cheaper and cheaper Microsoft's software has stayed basically the same price. Resulting in the ridiculous 40% contribution to the price of a new computer we have today.

[ Note: Yes, I'm perfectly aware of Linux and OpenOffice. Linux for a casual home user is still not even remotely an option. Heck, my parents can't even use Firefox on all the sites they regularly visit. Open Office is a credible replacement for, say, Office 2000 and is probably a reasonable choice for people who don't really use their office suite for anything, but it still doesn't compare to the real thing. ]

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Tattoo Socks

I was walking in the skyway at lunch last week, and I happened to get stuck behind a large, slow-moving group of people. While waiting for the next opportunity to pass, I noticed one of the women in the group. She was wearing one of those fancy woman's business suit/dress things. You know, the kind that are like a suit, but with a skirt instead of pants.

Anyway, while we were going down the stairs into the next building, I happened to be looking down and noticed that the same lady who had the very professional suit on, also had huge ankle tattoos. On both ankles. And I'm not talking like thin bands of ivy or barbed wire or something. These were full-on, two-inch thick designs that wrapped all the way around her ankles, front, back and sides.

The reason they caught my eye was because to the quick glance it actually looked like she was wearing ankle-high socks. Tattoo socks, very professional.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Windows Media Player 11

A couple weeks ago I upgraded to Windows Media Player 11 at home. There are really only three noticeable changes: the default color scheme is black (I assume to match Vista) and the library has been redesigned to show album art and make browsing easier, and the search function actually works without hanging the entire application. Oh, and they added yet another soon-to-be-defunct online music store (Urge) to the application.

The frustrating part is that despite the fact that it was years between releases, there is a disturbing lack of polish on the program. For example, the fancy new black interface.

Since the dawn of multitasking in Windows, you can close a window by double-clicking in the upper left corner. Similarly, as of Windows 95 you can close a window using the X in the upper-right corner as well. Except in WMP 11 that is.

Oh, they have a close function on the upper left and right, but the buttons don't extend all the way to the edges of the window, even though the one on the upper left looks like it should. So, instead of being able to close the program by scrolling all the way to either upper corner of the screen, you have to back off a few pixels. That's just stupid, the objects are there, just increase their hit boxes to touch the edge.

Similarly the whole album art integration. It's cool, in that I haven't looked at album art for any of my cds for probably 8 years (when I ripped everything to the computer for the first time). But, since my mp3s are that old, that was before anyone thought to download album art. Instead, the album art has been slowly downloaded by older versions of Windows Media Player over the years. Which would be fine, except that most of that automatically downloaded album art is not used by the new version of WMP.

That's dumb. Stealing-a-laptop-while-going-through-airport-security dumb. It should have happened automatically, after all it was not like I had downloaded the album covers by hand and the program doesn't know anything about them. Instead, I have to manually go out, find the hidden and system attrib'd files that were already downloaded and re-apply them to the files in WMP 11. Dumb.

Oh, and that fancy album art display doesn't appear to work for playlists, which sucks because the 'Recently Added' threshold is too low for my slow music acquisition pace. So I tended to use an automatic playlist to display albums added in the past 6 months rather then the past two weeks (or month or whatever the Recently Added search finds). But now I can't browse through that list with the album art displayed.

As far as fixing problems with the previous play, my main complaint about WMP 10 was that the syncing with my Rio mp3 player was too stupid to avoid completely filling the player causing it to panic and re-format itself. But since the player is effectively broken, I don't sync it anymore, so I have no idea if they fixed that. I suspect not.

I am glad search is finally responsive and doesn't hang the player, but I have not noticed the supposed speed-up when dealing with extremely large mp3 libraries (like mine). It is somewhat laggy scrolling through the list of albums/artists, even with most of them not having any album art. Plus since they removed the tree control for skipping right to a particular artist now I have to scroll through that list.

Oh, and they shipped with no podcasting support? That might have been acceptable in 2004, but today that is lame. Especially when the player they stole album art from has had support for it for over a year.

All in all, not particularly impressive after two years of development.


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Friday, November 10, 2006

Eliza as a Librarian

I was amused and a little creeped out tonight by Ms. Dewey.

Its a site powered by Windows Live search, but that runs a semi-interactive video responding to whatever your search terms you put in (think Eliza). Some responses are pretty funny, some are creepy.

I'd give you some suggestions, but the responses seem to vary a bit.


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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Comments

Dan asked an interesting question (to me at least) in the comments of the Guitar Hero 2 post from a few days ago. He asked:

BTW. Whats the record for most comments for a post? There are 8 now and after Steve's reply we'll have nine.

I had no idea, and since I didn't have anything specific planned for tonight I decided to find out.

As it turns out, the record here for comments on a single story is now 9. Previously the record was 8, on my post about DVD prices from 7/2005 (which also generated 4 comments for the follow-up post).

There are also nine posts that garnered 7 comments:

All told, there have been 1355 comments on 505 different posts over the past 2.5 years. That's an average of 2.68 comments per post that has comments, and 1.2 comments per post on the blog. The most comments in a month is 36, in August 2005.

I would assume a third to half of those comments are my replies, but that is still a lot more comments then I was expecting when I started grepping out the numbers. I was also surprised at the variety of stories that got a lot (relatively speaking) of comments. A fairly well rounded representation of the kinds of things I post here.

Anyway, that's enough navel gazing and statistic calculating for one post. Thanks to everyone who comments!

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Movies: The Prestige

On Sunday Linzy and I went to go see our first movie in the theater since July, and saw The Prestige. I didn't know much about the film going in, other then the trailer looked kind of cool and the paragraph plot synopsis you see on the web. As it turned out, I really enjoyed the movie.

The movie is a period piece (taking place in the late 1800s), about two men who are training to be stage magicians (think David Copperfield) together and end up having a horrible falling out and subsequently spend the rest of their lives trying to one-up each other.

For the longest time (that is, before I actually saw it) I thought the movie was actually titled "Prestige", as in the prestige that they were trying to gain by showing each other up. It turns out that the title is referring to the supposed term for the final part of a magic trick.

The film was a little hard to follow initially, partly because I had a hard time understanding what Christian Bale's character was saying (he mumbles anyway, and then having him speak with an accent didn't help matters). But eventually things settled in and I really got into the story.

The story definitely makes the movie. The film is directed by Christopher Nolan (Memento and Batman Begins), and he does a great job handling the couple big twists in the plot. I expected one of them, but the others caught me by surprise.

The acting was well done. I thought both Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman did a good job playing their characters, and the movie actually sports a number of other big names in supporting roles.

Basically, I was really pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the movie. Since the movie is primarily focused around a couple big plot twists, I'm not sure how well it will stand up to repeated viewing. But the first time through was definitely enjoyable.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Schedule Conflict

Today is a very important day, it's Guitar Hero 2 day!

Unfortunately for my busy schedule, it's also election day and a night when I'm supposed to be running. That could seriously compromise my time for practicing the crazy solos in Freebird.

Cardiovascular health be damned, there's toy-guitar playing to be done!


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Monday, November 06, 2006

Attention

When she was young, Pippen quickly caught on that frequently when I put on socks in the morning that was going to be followed shortly by going for a walk. In her excitement when she was a puppy, she would stand real close and bark. That inevitably lead to her catching a sock in the face, which meant that eventually her standing nearby and barking morphed into play-attacking the socks as I put them on.

Similarly, when she wants my attention, Pippen will usually run around, pick up a toy and proceed to follow me around bashing it into my foot and/or the back of my leg. It's like a "hey, pay attention to me big dummy", or "Hey, I'm the Pippen what could possibly be better then playing with me?".

Tonight I was sitting at the desk, and Linzy was sitting on the floor to play with Pippen (which is typically an unrewarding experience as Pippen spends most of the time bringing the toys over near me and squeaking them). Anyway, Linzy wanted to talk to me about something and so she picked up a nearby Pippen-toy and beat it on my foot a few times.

Apparently, if you are ever in need of getting my attention, as far as the females in this house are concerned, all you need is to hit me a few times with a squeaky doggy toy.


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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Cambridge Trip

As I offhandedly mentioned previously, last week I was in Cambridge, MA for work. The nice thing about this particular business trip was that a couple of other guys from my office were also out there for semi-related reasons, so I had people to hang out with. Not that we had much time to just hang out. My week was spent almost exclusively at the office, eating dinner, or sleeping at the hotel.

The hotel we stayed at was pretty interesting. It was a fancy place right in the heart of Cambridge, which was very convenient for getting to the office. The hotel's color scheme was gold, red, and leopard skin. All the rooms were done in combinations of those colors. Each evening, the hotel also had a wine bar reception although I never made it back to the hotel early enough to see what that all entailed.

Each night when I would come back to my room, the turn-down service had laid a crazy giraffe-print robe on my bed (most of the rooms had leopard print robes). I never actually tried the robe on, but it felt pretty nice. The hangers in the closet had little signs saying that if you 'liked' the robe, you could just call the front desk and they would add it to your bill. I didn't take them up on the offer.

On Monday me and another guy found the time to go to The Fours (At one time ranked as the #1 sports bar in America by Sports Illustrated) to watch the Vikings get destroyed by the hometown Patriots on Monday night football. Actually, since things were so completely out of hand, the locals weren't all that bad. It wasn't like we had much to cheer for, certainly.

On Wednesday my boss came into town and four of us went out to Fleming's for the fanciest steak dinner I've ever been a part of. The meal was fantastic, but the place was way too expensive for me to ever go there on my own.

The two other nights we ate at Joe's American Bar & Grill (on the waterfront), which had a really nice building and location, but I thought their food wasn't particularly good. Except for the peasant bread, which was fantastic. And supposedly their steaks were good, but I didn't try them personally.

The rest of the trip was pretty much what I was expecting, although I did get a pleasant surprise for the flight out to Boston, as the plane was switched and so we ended up with 40 people on a 43-row plane. All-in-all the trip was pretty much like every other business trip I've been on, except that I didn't do any off-roading.


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