We can hardly contain ourselves

Get it? It’s a pun! “Contain ourselves”?!?! It’s freakin’ hysterical – alright, maybe it’s more groan-worthy, but at least it should get a reaction… oh, wait, crap, I forgot to tell you what this is about… let’s start over…

The Woman and I can hardly contain ourselves over the new closet… nevermind. This idea sucks. Let’s just pretend it never happened and I’ll just skip to the part you care about… wait, what do you guys care about?

The first step in operation “Deal With The Annoyances Of Our House And Prepare For The Baby To Get Here” – or DWTAOOHAPFTBTGH for short – was to fix the closet situation in our bedroom. It was/is a tad odd. The house is not without closet and general storage space – actually it’s got a lot of storage. Unfortunately, not much of it is convenient for clothing. The Woman’s closet has a small door that leads into a short – yet long – dark, unfinished area that nearly gave me tetanus when I realized just how unfinished it was. My closet, on the other hand, is a real closet – albeit one that was designed for a narrower person than myself. Oh, and it’s located in the future home of the aforementioned baby.

While not horrible, this is far from ideal. When I first mentioned this issue over a year ago, a couple people suggested looking at the Elfa system from The Container Store. (Yes! I finally tied in the title appropriately. You may now all collectively groan.) We hesitated too long and missed out on the annual sale – I feel bad for even taking this long to mention them as the sale ends in less than a week. But I still want to put it out there. Why? Because it really is a good system, and the people who work at the store are great.

The idea was to take this horrible mess of a corner in our bedroom:

The Woman will be so pleased that I am showing everyone this mess...

and turn it into a workable, open closet arrangement.

Our first trip to the store was a tad overwhelming, because it gets really swamped on the weekends. So I decided to send The Woman back on a week day armed with the proper measurements. For starters, they plan out the whole thing for you for free – that’s pretty cool. But what shocked me was that they will actually e-mail you the plans from the store. The Woman called me at work to let me know the cost, and when I asked about how it looked, the designer sent me the layout right then and there!

So after waiting a few days to clean and paint that corner, it took only a couple hours over two nights to build this:

The last time our bedroom will look this neat...

My side will be filled with emergency chocolate rations...

Everybody in the store was super friendly and helpful. In fact, we’ve already gone back once because we decided to add another hanging bar (since I have more pants than long clothes) and are thinking about adding another drawer on the other side. Even their non-closet organizers are appealing to us – this unit would work well on the door to the basement.

We’re totally stoked to have a real closet area and, while the Elfa system can be a tad expensive, it’s also incredibly convenient and much sturdier than what you can pick up for a couple hundred dollars at Home Depot or Lowes. It’s also a system we’ll be able to adapt if we ever get to build that walk-in closet.

Now if I could just convince them to send me some ad money for writing this crummy review…

Bad timing indeed…

I tend to come in later than most at work because I tend to work later than most. Unfortunately, since my schedule is a little different I am often at odds with that of other people. With regular frequency I would find the kitchen being cleaned when I was in dire need of my first cup of coffee.

Now I’m trying to shift into an earlier schedule. That means the kitchen is still open and available for a jolt of caffeine first thing. Unfortunately, I now find the men’s room is being cleaned when I’m… er… done with my morning beverage.

It seems that this timing thing still needs some work, as I’m stuck with two painful options: waiting for that first cup of coffee or waiting to get rid of it…

Gratitude does not even begin to cover it…

This weekend we had another bout of realization at just how freakin’ lucky we are. A big part of that has to do with, obviously, my game show winnings. We’ve been watching episodes of Millionaire regularly since I was on (largely to see what happened with the only contestant who went after me) and it’s almost making me nervous again. Last week, 2 people didn’t even make it to $1000 (along with another one from a few weeks back) and lots of people dropped down to $1000. In the few dozen episodes since I’ve been on, I don’t remember seeing anyone make it to my level.

I’m not bragging here, because it’s not all about knowledge. There was a lot of luck involved to get me to that level. And now we are truly realizing just how much that money means to us as bills get paid, home improvements are purchased, and interest is earned. This is not a situation I’m used to. But in the first month of this year, we’ve already begun to make dramatic changes to our life that will really help when the biggest dramatic change happens this July.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be talking about what we’ve been doing with the house and what we will be doing with the house. I’ll also be commenting on some of the other changes we’ve been able to afford. The purpose of doing so is to give people ideas who are looking at similar situations – not to brag about the fact that I won a lot of money. And that’s why, before I start blabbering about new stoves and closets, I just want to stress how ridiculously thankful we are right now.

Honestly, I still can’t fathom that it actually happened or that we even deserved it to happen – but I am eternally grateful that it did.

Girls With Slingshots

Much like my late discovery of Questionable Content, I have stumbled into the fanbase of Girls With Slingshots 3 years too late. Thankfully Scott Kurtz linked to it over on PvPonline, otherwise I may have missed this absolutely fun, witty, and just plain brilliant webcomic. Yes, I am prone to hyperbole, but I’ve also just read the first 116 strips in the past 24 hours as I attempt to get caught up. If it weren’t for work and a home life I’m sure I’d read the other 287 by tonight.

Who am I kidding – I’ll be done by tomorrow regardless.

Feeling a sudden urge of grrl power (hey, I did grow up with 6 sisters), I’m also giving Octopus Pie (and Wapsi Square – not that Paul is girly or anything) another look. Because what I really need in life is, you know, more websites to keep track of…


In a word: INTENSE!

I could add a few other words, but I think I’ll stick with intense. Oh, and awesome – definitely awesome.

I’m not going to go into any details here, but Cloverfield was a great monster movie – that’s all you need to know. Wait, there’s one more thing you should know: if you saw the trailer and thought, “I hope this isn’t a movie shot in an amateur, handy-cam style following a group of people as they fight their way across Manhattan to save a friend during a monster attack, because that would suck”… DON’T SEE IT!

This movie is not for everyone. There are plenty of people who just aren’t up for it or aren’t interested in the style. But because of that, you’ll get moronic reviews like the one in the New York Times, which should have been titled “I Feel Superior For Not Liking This Movie”. I’ve got no problem with someone not enjoying Cloverfield, but don’t claim it’s because of poor execution on a bad idea. Just deal with the fact that you don’t like it.

Sorry, I’m just getting sick of the over analysis and polarization of movies these days. Just because you didn’t like a movie does not make it the worst film ever. Just because you saw a Korean monster movie that was released in the US less than a year before this began filming does not mean it’s just another American knock-off. Just because the entire film is not spelled out for you so that you can answer every question possible, including what the monster’s favorite color is, does not make this an abject failure. Just because you didn’t get into a movie concept like this does not mean it is strictly for teenagers and should be avoided by anyone over 30. And just because a lot of people enjoyed a movie that you didn’t does not make you superior.

I’m glad I got that off my chest. So to recap: Cloverfield was intense and awesome and you should absolutely enjoy it if the trailer looks like something you want to see. Personally I am now excited to go through all of the online viral stuff and then watch it again…

Alien baby attacks… news at 11

Ultrasounds aren’t always that cute when taken out of context. As far as I can tell from this one, we’re having an alien:

Alien baby in the womb

At least he has my eye sockets. The Woman says I have to stop making fun of the baby so much – especially once he or she is out in the world. We disagree on how important sarcasm is in a child’s upbringing – how else are they supposed to learn what a screwed up world they’re coming into?

But to remind me of the cuteness, I’ve also got this one above my desk at work:

He's already sucking his thumb!

Oh yeah, he’s already got the total thumb suck action going on – are fetuses eligible for Cute Overload or what?

In reality, these shots just don’t do the experience justice. Watching the little guy do somersaults when they first started was amazing. It brought the reality of the “this is a real, living being in her stomach” situation to us. He’s only the size of a lemon or orange or some other small fruit, but he’s so real and alive. Seriously, when they use the word “miracle”, they aren’t exaggerating.

I’m not going to post every ultrasound picture here, but if you’re interested in keeping up the rest are available over here.


I knew I was approaching the number, but it wasn’t until this morning that I realized I did hit the 30,000 track milestone on last.fm.

30,000 - It's lonely at the top!

Now, why should you care? No reason, really, but I wanted to make sure that Chris saw this and was forced to acknowledge my greatness. Alright, in reality the milestone is simply an excuse to encourage any of you who listen to music regularly through the computer or on mp3 players to try out last.fm if you haven’t. It’s a stats geek dream. Honestly, it’s difficult for me to listen to music for more than 20 minutes without checking what my profile and my friends’ profiles look like.

I originally joined the site when it was just audioscrobbler – which is still the name of the technology behind it – but was never regular enough with it at work. For starters, I didn’t have my entire CD collection (or at least a majority of it) ripped and available. Which meant that I only listened to what I remembered to bring with me or whatever was available from my eMusic account. As a result, things like Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm got played way too much while Arcade Fire sat in my car. Once I started ripping certain CDs and storing them with my digital downloads, using the shuffle mode resulted in tons of Led Zeppelin, Yo La Tengo, and Pearl Jam interspersed with random tracks I got for free – not exactly a stellar listening experience. Then when I tried to play full albums, I’d end up with lots of dead time as I would be too busy to find another one to listen to after the first.

So, what changed?

For starters, ripping about three quarters of my CDs to an external hard drive and sorting them properly with my digital downloads. Now it’s not a matter of picking and choosing – everything is there. More recently, I decided to remove all of the samplers and freebie tracks I’ve gotten from eMusic. You might not think that makes a big difference, but it comes out to over 3000! No wonder it screwed up my shuffle mode! I’m still keeping them, but they’ve been moved outside of the “library” so that I can go through them at me leisure. Also, I switched to foobar2000, because Winamp took up so much memory it would interfere with my work after awhile (not to mention that the interface got too bloated with all of the online stuff I didn’t use).

Now I can sit back, put my collection on “Shuffle (Album)”, and enjoy lots of music without having to babysit the media player. And now, once again, I’m putting on my sad little face and asking for more online friends – because that’s how I measure success. Seriously, it’s very cool… and I’m lonely…

Let’s make a band… meme

Alright, I normally avoid the memes because they can really clutter this otherwise stellar blog… I mean, I’m normally too lazy or don’t like the answers I come up with. But this band one I saw over at Culture kills… was just too cool to pass up.

Let’s Make a Band:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.
(you might have to click new random quotes at the bottom)

3. http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

You then take the pic and add your band name
and the album title to it, then post your pic.

Alright, to be fair, I screwed up step 2 and accidentally grabbed the first quote. But anyway, combining this entry, this quote, and this photo I got:

Ingus Janevics - Makes You Feel Insecure
Ingus Janevics – Makes You Feel Insecure

I loved the band name and even the album name, but the photo was actually just too good for that cover. It needed something much… glitzier. So I did another one and got this entry, this quote, and this photo giving me a much better fake album:

wisdom poetry - least likely to offend
wisdom poetry – least likely to offend

Now if that doesn’t look like some totally gothy, overly-dramatic, emo crap, I don’t know what does – oh, and I’d totally buy it!

I could do these all day long.

Random phone call from a stranger

An unrecognized number popped up on my cell phone. Figuring it might be someone calling me from a different phone than usual, I picked it up.

Me: Hello?
Stranger: What’s up, bottom-feeder?
Me: (laughing) Not much, who’s this?
Stranger: Is this Ted?
Me: No, this is Thom.
Stranger: Uh, lemme see, XXX-XXX-6482?
Me: No, 8462.
Stranger: Oh, geez, sorry for calling you a bottom-feeder.
Me: No problem.
Stranger: Have a nice night.
Me: You, too.
The Woman: You see, answering strange phone calls can be fun.

Set your phasers on fun!

How lame was that? Well, this is a post for geeks, so deal with it. Wil Wheaton mentioned that he just wrapped up work on a project for Star Trek The Tour. I hadn’t heard about it before but, damn, if it doesn’t look geekily awesome.

A few years back I hit The Star Trek Experience in Vegas with a couple of friends. That was a lot of fun (especially thanks to the crazy Klingon in Quark’s), but this looks (sorry, I can’t avoid a pun hear) lightyears better! Seriously, it looks like it’ll have more than enough exhibits to satisfy the Trekkie in all of us.

They haven’t scheduled anything beyond the first city yet, but I’ll be all over those tickets the instant they announce dates for this area. Who’s in?