Monday, August 8

That Was A Washboard Break.

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If you were to take a passing glance at my weekend, it wouldn’t appear too special. However, a closer inspection will reveal a run-of-the-mill weekend sprinkled with insane coincidence, staggeringly poor luck and strange new experiences. Permit me to explain.

I picked up the Missus from work on Friday afternoon, where the main topic of the drive was Gabriel. If you’re not aware of who Gabe is, you should really visit this page more often. He’s one of the two cats that share living space with me. He’s quite a rare cat, in that he acts like a dog. Very loyal, very intelligent and very well-behaved. One thing about him that reminds me of myself is his crippling anxiety. He’s incredibly aware of his surroundings, and reacts accordingly. When we first brought him home to meet with Tinker (our other cat), she didn’t appreciate his company. She bit and hissed, and Gabe wanted nothing more than to make friends with his new roommate. This rejection hurt him, and he took to chewing all the fur off of his paws. Eventually, they grew to like each other, and the fur chewing stopped. Any tiny change in atmosphere will be met with a reaction from Gabe.

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The past couple weeks have been very hot here in Sun Prairie, so we’ve been sleeping with the bedroom door open. Our apartment has a heating/cooling unit in the living room instead of a thermostat throughout, so it’s unbearable to sleep with the door shut when it’s 95 degrees out. With the door open, the cats have free reign to disturb us all night. In an attempt to keep them away from us while we try to sleep, we gently remove them from the bed, clap our hands, and spray them with a squirt bottle if it gets too ridiculous.

This troubles Gabe. Poor, sweet, innocent Gabe.

When we sleep with the door shut, he forgets that we exist, and doesn’t try to bother us. But if we’re out in the open like this, and he’s not allowed to be near us, he feels very rejected and acts out. His “acting out” of choice recently has been urinating in the Missus’ bathtub. Every other day for the week and a half we slept with the door open, we’ve woken up to cat whiz in the tub.

After careful deliberation and fact-checking, we determined that his acting out was one of two things. Either he was angry about the door, or he had a Urinary Tract Infection. The symptoms for the UTI didn’t match his behavior, so we decided to sleep with the door shut again for a few days, bear the heat and see if he knocked it off. More on that later.

We were too tired and lazy to cook dinner on Friday evening, so we decided to head out to Benvenuto's, everyone’s favorite Italian chain eatery. We expected a standard dinner, void of conversation concerning work and feline urine, and we got it.

Sort of.

First off, we were seated at a table in the dead-center of the place. If there’s one thing I can’t stand more than a table (when there’s an empty booth), it’s not being able to keep an eye on everyone else in the room. The idea that there are people behind me, looking at me and watching me eat, is unacceptable. I need a booth or table in a corner or I will ask to be moved, which is exactly what we did. Freshly seated in the corner now, I ordered the spinach and cheese ravioli, which was a dish that I had never ordered at this place. Normally, I’m not down with new selections, but I’ve been on a ravioli kick over the last few weeks, and I had to check out their wears.

A minute later, the Missus spilled her drink all over the table. Our quiet corner sanctuary was now abuzz with waitresses and turned heads. I nervously jittered, twisting my napkin into a knot until everyone went away. Eventually, our food showed up and we settled back into quiet desolation.

My ravioli tasted great, although the Missus stated that it looked different from the identical dish that she normally orders. We figured they started making it differently, and stopped analyzing it after a while.

At least, until we got the check, and saw “SPNCH/CHCKN RVOLI” on the slip.

What I thought was minced Portobello mushrooms was actually chicken, and I ate an entire plate of it.

I know what you’re thinking. “How can you eat a plate of chicken and not realize it?” Well, it was encased and hidden in ravioli, it tasted like absolutely nothing and I hadn’t had chicken in at least three years. Bear in mind, Benvenuto’s was the same place I got accidentally hammered last year, so they are certainly masters of slight of hand.

I started to get sick, and we instantly left.

Driving home, I kept sinking, my body rejecting the foreign objects I’ve just inserted into it. When a body goes without meat for years, it has serious problems when it’s suddenly introduced in large quantities. I felt like crap warmed over, and spent the rest of the night in the bathroom and on the couch. I called my Mom for sympathy, and played Mario Golf on the GBA until I fell asleep. I’d write a stern letter to Benvenuto’s if their bread bowls weren’t so fantastic. I'll eat there again.

Waking up on Saturday morning, I felt much better, having expelled most of the chicken the night before. I had planned on going to a co-workers house to try my hand at home brewing. This guy’s been moonshining in his garage for years now, and I was looking forward to becoming his beer apprentice. Things didn’t pan out this week, so we decided to do it some other time. Trust me, if I ever DO go brewing, I’ll take pictures and tell you all about it, provided I don’t go blind.

With the day to ourselves, me and the Missus decided to go shopping and take in a movie. The Missus needed to find some shoes for the upcoming Jenkel/Jenkel wedding in two weeks. She didn’t find anything that she wanted, but we picked up a few items nonetheless. She got some eye shadow and the first three Harry Potter books, completing her collection. She’s previously read all six of these books front to back, and I’m convinced that she’ll kill me once she’s finished, certain that she’ll have nothing better to do and nothing to live for. At least she’s busy with something, and she’s enjoying the series. I don’t read most fiction, let alone Harry Potter, but if the Missus says it’s good, it must be good. She’s a trusted critic of high-end literature, so I’ll take her word for it.

I picked up a couple of CD’s for myself:

Beck – Guero
Sufjan Stevens – Come on Feel the Illinoise (With Superman Cover!)

I’ll give you a review of those once I’ve listened to them a few times.

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As I was leafing through the albums in the Borders on the east side of Madison, I saw someone that looked familiar to me. As I continued to look him over, I realized that it was none other than Mr. Justin Perkins, Wisconsin rock star extraordinaire. Mr. Perkins is not only responsible for the Yesterday’s Kids & the Obsoletes (check my links), but he also produced the debut album for a certain Mediocre at Best band. The whisper around the campfire is that he was responsible for producing the greatest Wisconsin ska/punk album of all time. Band members have not yet commented on this claim.

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We chatted for a few seconds, and he told me that he was actually moving to Madison to work at a local studio. Sounds good to me. We parted ways, and I was happy to run into someone that I actually wanted to run into.

Next, we headed to the movies. We decided to see March of the Penguins, because the Missus loves penguins, and I love the soothing tone of Morgan Freeman. It’s a win-win situation. The movie was good, remarkably inspiring at times, but forgettable as the days go on. The community behavior of Emperor penguins is downright amazing, but the film wasn’t comprehensive or varied enough to produce much of a lasting effect. It’s good, but not recommended over anything else. I should note, however, that I ate a bag of Kit-Kat Bites at the theater and they were fantastic. There must have been eight candy bars worth of chocolate in that bag.

2 Tickets @ $8.25 each = $16.50
1 Medium buttered popcorn = $4.75
1 Medium Sierra Mist soda = $3.75
1 Bag of Kit-Kat bites = $3.75
1 Bag of Rolo bites = $3.75
Grand Total = $32.50

The movie was 75 minutes long. Do the math, and you’ll figure out why the box office is slumping right now. We went home and again watched TV until we fell asleep.

We got up early for a Sunday, probably around 10 or so. We wanted to get to the Veridian Homes Design Studio by noon so we could see the drawing for the new house. They were giving away either a $210,000 home or $100,000 cash, along with about a hundred other prizes. We sat under a tent with about two hundred others, waiting to see if we’d win anything. We, of course, did not. This did inspire us, however, to start looking around again for new places to move.

Every few months or so, we start the house hunt again, looking for townhouses or condos to upgrade to. Some of the places we looked at were beautiful and spacious. We toured a condo in Sun Prairie that was over 3,200 square feet, four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a $129 per month condo fee for $210,000. This is a wee bit out of our price range (by about 200 grand), but man, it was beautiful. Maybe this time next year, when we have a few more debts paid off. That being said, we saw a few places that were in our price range, but weren’t big enough for our tastes. Something’s going to have to give eventually, and it’s going to be my wallet.

Speaking of wallets, thanks to the approval of the 2005 Wisconsin state budget, I got a 94 cent-per-hour raise. That makes me happy.

Also during the day, we headed out to the small town of Waunakee, a surrounding neighborhood of Madison that we had yet to visit. This means that we have pretty much spent the day in every surrounding area now, eating grilled cheeses along the way. “Grilled Cheese America” might be a far-off dream, but “Grilled Cheese Wisconsin” has been going on for years now.

This particular grilled cheese was purchased at “Brian’s on Baker Street”, a renovated old school supper club with gambling machines and whatnot. The place was huge, clean and inviting. The sandwich was three slices of cheddar on sourdough, complimented nicely with sweet mayonnaise that I specially ordered. Thumbs-up were given all around, and we headed back home.

(Screw the mustard museum, I need to start a mayonnaise museum.)

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There was a two-hour Arrested Development marathon on last night, with another two-hour marathon to follow this Friday. WATCH IT! We enjoyed most of the Fox programming and retired to the bedroom, closing the door behind us.

Since we went back to closing the door, Gabe has yet to whiz in the tub. Stupid cat; I’m glad he’s better.

Justin Perkins-he's everywhere you want to be.
Yeah, we did this little "Do I know that guy?" shuffle around each other for about a minute before I finally said something.
"It's all pipes!"

Yeah, being in the middle of a room full of people is bad news. Doesn't that have something to do with feng shui? When I went to the guitar building class a year and a half ago with a buddy we always competed for the corner seat because it was "good feng shui."

Here's a completely unrelated link you should look at.
Actually, I guess it is CDP-related in that it features Tony Little's arch-enemy. The ending is the very best part.

Because of your blog, I'm going to Sonic right after work for a grilled cheese sandwich, and that's no lie.
I'm so sorry about your chicken eating experience Ryan! When I went to the mother/daughter banquet a couple of years ago with Celia and her mom, I ingested a huge piece of ham that was hidden in some cheesy scalloped potatoes. I too wanted to vomit all over the place. I also ordered a spaghetti with plain marinara sauce from Fazoli's and received one with meat sauce. I ate a couple bites, then became very upset with the Fazoli employees. You'll get through this Ryan! Don't worry! :)
I like how you're glaring at Celia in that picture.. like you're trying to make her head explode with your mind.
Good to see that it didn't work.
"It's all pipes!" I laugh every time I watch that conversation. George is right, though.

I'll check 'oot that link right away, and I'm glad I could contribute to your dining decisions. The CDP is mainly an information and advice site now.

Speaking of "Bad Feng Shui", I'm planning on making a post out of that very soon.

Sherry, thanks for the support. I'm feeling much better now, but I didn't for a while. In my life, I've eaten tons of chicken, I never thought there would be a day when my body would say "No more!" It's actually a good feeling, although you could've fooled me when I was doubled over on the couch.

In that old MAB picture, I'm wearing a stocking cap, but it looks like I just have really weird hair.
All right, I'm urging anyone and everyone to check out the following link that was suggested by Mr. Paste earlier:

I'm a huge fan of 70's and 80's nostalgia, and this is simply one of the weirdest and funniest things I've seen in a long time.
Ryan stares at me that way daily in hopes that my head will explode. Sometimes he does it when I'm sleeping in an attempt to catch me at a more vulnerable time. Still, my brain power is far too advanced for him to explode my head, or even implode it for that matter.

Ryan once got a Panini with a fly baked into the cheese at Fazoli's. Rather than complain, he just picked the fly out and ate it. That's a little gross really, after my new-found discovery of how nasty flies are. Did you know they are covered in feces? Did you know that they puke all over their food before they eat it so it's more of a soup-like substance that they can drink up? So whenever a fly lands on something you want to eat, just remember it has left tiny poopy/pukey footsteps all over it.
Oh, I just read what I wrote...he didn't pick the fly out and eat it. He discarded the fly and ate the Panini.
Right, I didn't eat the fly. That would just be disgusting. In that situation, my fear of causing a fuss overrode my fear of germs. Besides, I've ate worse. I'd rather suffer than complain.

I do brain exercises with the Missus daily to increase my killing power.
Sadly, Sonic doesn't have a grilled cheese sandwich anymore, they used to make them with Texas toast I think. I had never ordered one, though, because in my pre-CDP days I was young and naive, ignorant of the world around me. I bet Wafflehouse has them, and I bet it's the best and greasiest sandwich this side of the Mason-Dixon line.

Glad you appreciated the link. Bonus points if you can name a movie that the girl who says "Be Somebody" was in. (I can only think of one).
No grilled cheese at Sonic? Blasphemy! Everyone makes a grilled cheese, which is why "Grilled Cheese America" could (and will) work. Of course, I wouldn't be hitting any chain eateries, so it won't put too much of a hitch in my get-along.

I'll check 'oot Wafflehouse though, because I've never been to one and you swear by them. We don't have them here.

I'm at work, so I can't watch that clip again until I get home. Don't share the answer with us until I have ample time to guess. I like games where I guess!
For real, you know you've found a good eatery when you can sit at the counter and reflect on the poor decisions you've made in your life while "Tight Fittin' Jeans" by Dolly Parton is playing on the jukebox. I don't know why other restaurants even bother to exist.
That sounds very depressing and empowering at the same time. It's right up my alley. Normally, when I stop to reflect on my bad life decisions, I'm already in the back of the squad car.

That reminds me a lot of "Reconstruction Site" by the Weakerthans. It was my favorite album of 2003, you should check it out.

Does Wafflehouse have pancakes?
"Does Wafflehouse have any pancakes?"

I don't understand the question.

I've heard good things about the Weakerthans. I think I almost bought it once at B&N because of the listening station, but ended up getting something else. There's too much good music out there these days, it's kind of overwhelming.
Yeah, the Weakerthans are good. I give "Reconstruction Site" my full endorsement. Easily one of my favorite albums ever.

FYI, I have no idea what movie that woman in the video clip was in. I'm drawing a blank, although I did look up a lot of information about the video itself.

It was an instructional video from 1984 called "Be Somebody, or be Somebody's Fool!", and it was chock-full of life-changing scenarios and wisdom.

You can buy copies of it on EBay for $6, and I will.
She was the girl who couldn't read in the movie Summer School featuring Mark Harmon and Kirstie Alley. I'm pretty sure.

$6 for some Mr T words of wisdom... I'd call that a bargain, the best I ever had. I hope there's a segment on "Aww, don't make me sit next to Murdoch, he crazy!"
She WAS in Summer School. Check it 'oot:

"I've had enough of this jibba'-jabba!"
I admire your research skills.

Are you familiar with J&H Productions? For some reason I think you already are, but if not there is a rich world waiting to be explored.
See, this is what I love about the Internet. There's always going to be some underground thing that you've never heard of before that's just waiting for you to embrace it. I love uncovering stuff like this. I have yet to actually listen to this tape, but I will soon enough.

I thought that Mr. T and Tony Little were funny when I was 12, and I still think they're funny now.
Unbridled enthusiasm is always funny. J&H Productions will blow your mind, for real.

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