The obligatory post… from the iPhone.

I am about to break my own rule. But before I do that, it has to be said that this week, with no exceptions, was a box of awesome, packed in epic, with a win topping. Jessica came by for the week, as she’s known to do. We had several things planned, and I’m fairly sure we crossed most of them off the list.

A lot of reconnecting was done, and plenty of amusing fun was the result. She came in on Friday, and we went to Pembroke right from the station for my aunt and uncle’s 25th anniversary. We were able to introduce her to more of my extended family who, as I suspected, strongly approved. A ton of fun was had, alcohol–the bar variety–was consumed and dancing was done. Afterwards, it was back to Ottawa and the awesome waiting there.

Monday was getting Jessica used to the place, since she hadm’t been here before. Tuesday was our first official show on Mojo Radio, in preparation for something we’ve been working on for a few months. We test our usual setup for such things in a week or two if all goes well. Wednesday was more relaxing, and getting ready for Thursday.

One of the things Jessica wanted to get done was to meet up with a local friend of ours–you may know him as Blind Bandit. So we did the least recommended thing and mixed that with booze. The result? Posted on Shane’s blog and not fit for public consumption. Friday was more relaxing, and today, we sadly have to return her.

The week wasn’t all party and insanity, though. Sjhe cane up to belatedly wish me a happy birthday. And, in so doing, might have just removed my biggest–or, at least, second biggest–knock against the iPhone. I’ve been saying the thing needed a dedicated, physical keyboard since before I got one, and nearly screaming it after. Because she has that whole listening thing down to an art, she went and picked one up for my birthday. Hence, this post is being finished while on the road. I’ll write a review of this thing when I get home. As for now, I should probably go say goodbye to my girlfriend.

It’s a Pembroke party–and I’m making a guest appearance.

This has been in the planning stages for more months than I’ve been keeping track, and now, it’s officially almost official. This weekend would be 25 years since my oldest aunt and uncle married. And, because it pretty much took them going through some of their own personal hells to get here, Trish has taken it upon herself to put together a small party, of sorts, complete with a cerimony for the couple to renew their vows. It’s at this cerimony that I’ve been asked to perform one of their favourite songs. So for a change, I’m heading to Pembroke for the weekend later tonight, and not specifically for my own reasons. And this time, for the first time in a while, I get to drag Jessica with me–her bus pulls into the station in a little less than 3 hours, give or take. Not too unlike her first trip across the border, we go straight from here to the bus station, scoop her up–suitcase and all, and shoot out of Ottawa like a bat out of hell. That wasn’t our original plan, but hey, it gets her here and us there, so whatever works. So, this weekend. Family event. Pembroke. And for a change, Jessica gets to come along. Oh, and hey, she gets to hear something that isn’t me dinking around with the piano, also for a change. Will wonders never cease? Now, about this whole packing thing.

Anyone wanna guess what this is?

No? Okay fine. This would be, for the first time in a little bit over a month, my attempted reemergence into the realm of this whole blogging thing. This may or may not include yet more mockery, and that thinggy I’m supposed to do about what you guys were reading last month–conveniently, 4 or 5 days before I should be doing that thing about what you were reading while I was being all unavailable and things. There’s an abso-freaking-lute metric ton of crap I probably could, and should, be writing about. Sadly, most of it kind of stopped applying about 2 weeks ago–sorry, life does that to ya. Things that do get a mention here and may or may not be elaborated on when I have slightly more brain power. In list format, because hey, first post in a month, here. Lazy.

  • Moving: Jessica got herself all moved in, relatively in one piece and with most of what sanity she has left after dating and being engaged to me intact. Her stuff, thankfully, also made it to the other end in one pice. Find her take on that and several million other things over on her blog. Go now. I’ll wait.
  • Technology: I’d started the process before I left, and finished it while down there–in and around the above mentioned move. Shortly before my return to Canada–where I’m currently flaed out now, the new laptop I’d been aiming for met me here. It’s nifty cool, in the wicked sense. Still getting used to using Windows 7 on a more than occasional basis, but hey, so far I’m not complaining much.
  • The stupid: there’s acrap ton of it. It starts with local cab companies, and it’ll all warrant separate entries. Again, see the need for more brain power.
  • Hockey: the playoffs are closing rappidly in on us. There will be playoff mockery involved. There will not be Leafs recaps involved–again. Ah well. You saw it coming.
  • Leafs: I quit. At least for this season. I haven’t done a recap since mid-February. To recap this many games would be both exceedingly spammy and a very good reason to develop a migraine. Naturally it would also double as an excellent exercise in frustration–like all mid to late season attempts at playing the comeback kid do. You’re just not that team, Toronto. Sorry.
  • Mockery: Oh, dear lord, the mockery. Not in this post, but the mockery. I’m buried in it. It’ll get posted over the next couple days. Trust me–it’ll be more than worth the wayt.

So that’s kind of where I’ve been. Now, where’d I put my caffeine?

Moving week festivities. Or somesuch.

Apparently, March is the month of moves and potential moves. Back in January, I was looking at the possibility of returning to Canada and right away diving into a move of my own. At the same time, Jessica has been building up to her own move. Mine fell through, but in this last week of February, hers is in full swing. To the tune of several dozen boxes, storage bins, and various other containerlike objects that can and will be used as packing boxes (thanks, Heather, by the way). This tiny apartment almost looks like it would be cramped with all the packing materials that have yet to actually be turned into things what contain personal belongings. It’s extremely odd to think in a week from now, most of this stuff will be exactly where it should be in the new place. And I’ll have been here to make absolute sure it gets there. I guess I’m participating in a March move after all–just not my own. Hey, whatever works. Now where’d I put that roll of packing tape?

The two-part V-day cellebration.

Part of my reasoning behind showing up in Rochester for a month, particularly this month, is the opportunity to do exactly what’s currently being done today. Sure, we don’t need a particular day to do it, but well, it’s here and we’re doing it, so draw thine own conclusions. I aranged to have a little surprise show up for Jessica at work today during a couple hours when she needed to be away from the apartment. She hasn’t had much of that done for her I don’t think, and well, it’s muchly deserved. I don’t think she disagreed, considering she showed it off apparently to a couple folks she worked with. Something else was supposed to show up for her today, but I’m going to just assume USPS decided today didn’t agree with their schedule so hopefully it’ll show up later this week. The third, now second, part of today’s activities takes place in just about an hour.

I’d seen some info on this little Italian restaurant not far from here floating around in various places, and was looking for an excuse to check it out. We’ve always had half a dozen things going on on any given day and well, the checking out of new places ends up usually getting squished off our list of things to do. So tonight, that’s being remedied. I made a place for us at Pane Vino Ristorante, which advertises itself as romantic, authentic Italian. Romantic or not, authentic or not, I’m calling it an excuse to just unwind, reset, and generally not have to actually do any work for our food. Not unlike the insanity of Saturday, except with about 10 less people. It’s a thing we try to do, usually somewhere a little more familiar than this, at least once while we’re together. This time just so happens to fall on a day when you’re theoretically supposed to do stuff like that, but oh well, whatcha gonna do? It’ll be nice, though, to actually just take an evening and be easy about it. The fact that I know it’ll help her to relax more than she already is? Added bonus. Now, back to this whole getting ready to leave thing.

Happy Valentines day to those of you who actually observe it, for whatever reason. Happy monday to everyone else. Either way, do me a favour and crack open a cold one. I’ll try and think of you while I’m drowning in pasta. Maybe.

And sometimes, there are entire evenings of awesome.

So yesterday was the epic get-together of win. A dozen of us crammed into one of the local restaurants and pretty much had a table or two entirely to ourselves, and an epic server of awesome to boot. Why? Simply because we could. There was me, Jessica, Heather and a whole crap ton of others, most of whom I’d never even seen before then, sitting around a huge table, eating and generally doing all manner of cutting up. The layers of awesome just kept coming–and so did the very nearly doubling over laughing at quite probably the absolute most random crap going. The food was awesome, the friends were epic, and when I came back to the apartment last night, I honestly questioned for about 10 seconds how the hell it was I’d be fitting through the door. It’s been a small age since I saw that many people get together and no punches were thrown. And the flirtation, oh the flirtation. I’m convinced that was half the hillarity in and of itself.

Everyone was all in general agreement last night we should do that more often. Which probably means I need to start inventing money to get myself back down here for another one of these parties. And, well, hell, because I can–why not? I have all kinds of reasons to keep coming back here, and surprisingly–or perhaps not, if you’re keeping score–not all of them are Jessica-related. Just most of them. This stuff keeps happening, I’m gonna start to wonder just which of my two apartments I should be staying in. Now to get through the week so we can do something just like this all over again, except potentially with a different group of people and for possibly different reasons. This should get real interesting real fast.

Related: Heather, we’re getting you a blog. Yesterday. Because we can. Yeah, I said it. Wait for it.

Finding new and interesting ways to torment the fiance.

This weekend’s interesting way? Attempt to teach her html. The challenge was provoked when, while preparing to write a blog post of her own, she realized her attempt to incorporate something into it would go a few times easier with those particular skills. So now I have a weekend project. Which may have the added side-affect of also adding more content to her blog. See? There is method to the geek’s madness. Or perhaps it’s just madness. Either way, she learns html and I win. I’ll take it.

WTN, the mostly almost nearly all human edition.

So this has been a very entertaining week content-wise, hasn’t it just? Yeah, about that. Sorry. Those curve balls I kind of made reference to on Friday? They just keep comin’. In this week’s latest curve, hi, sick days a-plenty.

Some of you will probably recall Jessica spent most of last week sick, starting on Sunday. This includes the entire first week I spent here. She took Tuesday off, but that was about it for reasons related to the fact her bosses are personifications of different aspects of Satan. Fortunately she had Friday off anyway, so after we got our running around done that needed to happen, she could get her rest accordingly. Friday was also apparently my turn to have whatever it was she was having–that’s one meal order I could definitely live without, next time. So that thing what laid her out flat on her ass on Tuesday snuck up on me Friday, and laid me out flat on mine. So now, Friday afternoon/evening consisted of her trying very hard to get over what she had, and me trying very hard not to die from what I just picked up. I spent parts of that weekend in a sort of zombie state, which made going to visit friends on Saturday an adventure in Dayquill to be sure–sorry about that, Candi/Kyle. Next time I should be less likely to infect the little one. Still, we had an awesome time on Saturday even if we were both in various stages of recovery, and Sunday while she returned to work, I returned to being vaguely close to human solely with the assistance of Dayquill.

Monday was pretty much the easiest day so far. Even though once again it was a pill popping day. And by Tuesday, I only had to take one in order to go take in birthday cellebrations with friends at Sugar Mountain, a local cupcake place that, just for the record–and I don’t do a lot of the whole cupcake thing regularly, owns your soul twice and calls it a warm-up. I’d actually began to look slightly less like death warmed over around then, so going out–even though I was popping pills to do so–was actually enjoyable.

Today was a personal moment in admittedly short history. For the first time since this thing had knocked me on my ass, I was actually upwardly mobile at a reasonable hour this morning. And more fun, even, was I was doing it without the assistance of drugs. Not that I didn’t have any, they just for a change weren’t actually needed. I actually felt relatively close to human all day, which took some doing to say the absolute least. Unfortunately, it means the blog’s kind of sort of been lacking in updates again, but I’ve yet to perfect the android version of me who can take over things like this while I go attempt not to misplace a lung. However, now that I’m back to something vaguely resembling normal, hopefully this time I can get back to something that resembles a regular update to this thing–including, apparently, 3 or 4 hockey games I’ve up and ignored, and a whole crap ton of mockery of various shapes and sizes. Oh, and hey, Murphy? God gave you 1 day. You didn’t have to take the other 80 million. Knock it off with the curve balls already. That’d rule.

And on the 8th day, God said, “Murphy, it’s all yours.”.

I should have probably taken the events of last weekend as a hint that this wasn’t going to be as event free a travel year as I’m used to. Shane had to push his departure date ahead a week to deal with a whole new brand of stupid that’s, naturally, since been squished underfoot. That meant we got the pleasure of throwing together departure plans on 24 hours notice–doable, but it took creativity. On the saturday afternoon, he left Petawawa destined for Boston with his suitcase, and a backpack full of technological wonders. On Saturday night, he left Montreal destined for Boston without the afore mentioned technical wonders and little to no chance of ever actually getting them back–for the record, I think we’ve kind of declared them a lost cause. The process quickly got underway to start the replacing of the afore mentioned technological wonders. And as I was packing to leave for my own trip, that process was pretty much everything but complete. So I thought it should go smoothely from here on out. Then I got to Rochester and someone thought it’d be cute to tease me into thinking otherwise.

As I said in the previous entry, I showed up in Rochester an hour and a half late. Took a cab from the station to the apartment, where Jessica met me at the door to the building with cab money–the thing about having 80 million things to do is almost always, at least one won’t get done. I had time to pass her change off to her, and when I turned back to see if the trunk of the cab was open so I could snatch my suitcase, there was no cab and there was no suitcase. We had a pretty good idea which company the driver belonged to, and were pretty sure it wasn’t entirely intentional–that’s yet another trip related entry for when I have slightly more brain juice. So we called that company, and pretty much got no help from the dispatcher. Not figuring on giving up, the next day we called a few of the direct numbers for drivers we could dig up online. Say one thing for Rochester, there’s no shortage of cabs, be they independant or otherwise. We got a few possibles, and a few nos. The possibles eventually turned out to be very easily ruled out, but this is where it gets interesting. Every single one of the drivers we spoke to directly knew someone, or could point us in a direction of someone who did. Even if the driver was a possibility we found out didn’t have my clothes, the conversation never ended there–it was almost always “Well, I know this guy and here’s his number, see if he’s got it.”, or my second favourite, “I don’t remember driving you, but I know these 6 guys. Let me call them and I’ll get back to you.”. You don’t see a lot of that anymore, anywhere. So that the cab drivers around here were actually willing to do that was freaking amazing.

We eventually called the original cab company back and got a dispatcher that was a little more helpful. And, wouldn’t you know, we’d been right since the morning of my arival. So I got my stuff back within a couple hours of those phone calls. Meanwhile, the other drivers were keeping a lookout and while I didn’t end up hearing anything back from them, I’m pretty sure if it was still out there, I probably would have. It just amazes me how even in a city the size of Rochester, you can see stuff like this going on–and all it takes to start it is one phone call to the right driver.

So now, Shane’s getting stuff to replace what was lost, and I got my original stuff back. But I couldn’t help but laugh while all this was going on–not 2 days before I was meant to leave for Rochester, either Jessica or I had made the comment about at least Shane got to Boston with his clothes. And of course, that night, I very nearly didn’t get inside this apartment with mine. Murphy’s law hard at work, kids. Playing with your mind since the mythical day of rest.

In which James seriously needs to stop failing at this blogging thing.

It just randomly occured to me, as I was plowing through various things that have been piling up while life was busy throwing us curve balls, it’s been exactly, as in to the day, two weeks since I’ve actually posted anything up here. And probably longer than that since the anything had actual content. Oops. Publishing don’t number 1, and I did it. Oh well, you’ll have that. And the worst part of it is, the two weeks in question actually stood a chance at being somewhat exciting. If by exciting you mean a small rolercoaster of fun.

Where to start. Big news in the nowheresville household, we had our eye on a larger apartment and moving back to Ottawa. Well, back to Ottawa for me–Shane has never actually had the good fortune of living there, specificly. So we had the apartment lined up–the lady showing it to us had us sold within the first 10 minutes. We filled out the application. Then, we sat around here and waited. The application ended up not going through, which made things very interesting–note to readers, if you’re looking to make a major move like this and you’ve already gone ahead and set things in motion to have services moved/activated on your moving day, watch out for that quick 180. It’s real hard to hit the off switch when they come back and say you can’t actually have the apartment. Or maybe that’s just a Rogers thing–anything’s possible. We ran into that problem when the phone call came in that we didn’t actually land the apartment. We have a pretty good idea *why* we didn’t land the apartment, and while yeah it sucks, we know for next time. Too bad, too–it was a wicked awesome apartment.

Fortunately, since we look for bright sides on this here blog when we can, the apartment falling through means it doesn’t complicate our return from yet more planned events in the past two weeks. Shane had originally planned to drop in on his girlfriend at the beginning of February, but situations ended up coming up that sort of necessitated he be down there now. I’m still on schedule for bothering Jessica, who has actually managed to update her blog more than once this month, at the beginning of the month as initially planned. We were originally going to come back from our respective vacations on the second of March and promptly pack the place up for moving, but now we have a little bit of flexibility re: when we come back, just in case things decide that falling sideways while we’re down there is the order of the day. It also gives me a bit more time, if necessary, to help Jess with her own move at the end of February without having to worry about shooting back up here for mine. And, since I like not being attached to a deadline, I can presently put a questionmark on my return date–we shall have to see how things play out.

The fun doesn’t stop there, however. In list format, with explanatory posts to come when I have more brain power. Because presently, this caffeine thing isn’t working for me anymore.

  • Life decides at the worst possible time to throw one hell of a curve ball. We got smacked with one this past weekend–and are still recovering. Which reminds me, I need to move a few more things over to the replacement external HD.
    • Related: Hey Dell? You can ship Shane’s laptop any freaking time, now. Seriously.
  • Those guys from Toronto actually one a game or two. That should be posted about before I forget. Again.
  • Sadly, they also lost a shitload. That, I wish I could forget about posting about.

Related: Mixed in with the last couple weeks’ fun helping of funness were multiple large doses of snow. And yes, an extra side order of snow. I’m selling it for cheap. Want some? Please?

Now, let’s see how many of these hockey posts I can crank out before I go fall over. And later today, or tomorrow, a metric ton of mockery. No, I’m not kidding. I’m looking at two pages of blog material over here. And now I actually have time to post it. This might get very unpretty.

Ending 2010 with a splat.

As eventful for some as 2010 turned out to be, it all lead up to last night–at least as far as we were concerned. It was the last night Jessica would be spending here, and well, we were long overdue for a party. That meant pizza, beverages of choice–we did coke and coffee, music, and a thing that vaguely took the shape of a year-end radio show. Except for those parts where it fell all over the floor and kind of stayed there. Then, we somehow managed to survive long enough for today to get here and it was off to the bus station to return Jess to her side of the border, however unwillingly. From my own perspective, I started off 2011 much the same as I did 2010–Jessica hung out here, and we just did the laid back party type thing. The only difference was Shane saw fit to join us, and for the purpose of that mass amount of breakage that called itself a show, Byron drove the year-end countdown. It’s been easy since, what with the family taking the long way back via my aunt’s place from the bus station and then me subsequently flopping over and staying there for a few minutes. Still, after last night, and this past week, I think it’s deserved.

If you missed last night’s show because you actually had the good fortune to have a life, you’re lucky. But if you still want to experience that which we affectionately call brain breakage, it’s been rather haphazardly dumped over here. I’ll warn you now, this thing is definitely not fit for public consumption. But since when is anything else I’m involved in? Hope your New Years thinggy was as much fun as ours was. And I really hope this thing doesn’t break the archive system. I don’t even like doing tech support for our own crap for free.

It’s the most chaotic time of the year.

Whoever said the Christmas holidays were made for relaxing and taking it easy has clearly not met me, my fiance, or my family. busy is probably the understatement of the century–or at least the year. After Jessica showed herself on the 24th, it’s been pretty well non-stop. christmas morning at home, then with the parents for visiting, food, gifts, food, conversation, food, food, and food. Shane joined us for the food and we all gained 25 pounds overnight. Jess and I also tagged along to the grandparents beforehand. after the appropriate amount of stuffing ourselves, we took off downstairs for movies and were later visited by the brother and his beginning family. Then we came back here and were escentially useless until boxing day.

Next morning it was up and gone, and early. The parents needed a house sitter, and Jess and I needed something to do. So, we all got what we wanted. We stayed overnight at the parents’ place, and subsequently missed the first post-Christmas hockey game–hey, LeafsTV? Get yourselves on basic cable/satelite. I mean right now. Got back from that semi-late, so didn’t cause much more mayhem. We saved that for the next day.

Tuesday was the thinggy of doom, which according to certain people actually wasn’t entirely too broken. If you actually listened to the thinggy of doom, I’m very, very sorry. No, seriously. So sorry, in fact, that I may just throw another post up here once I’ve sufficiently blocked it out of my memory with the archive link. We may or may not do another thinggy and call it a year end show. We will, if we do, do it significantly less drunk than we did the last one. That incredibly broken one. I’m still sorry. No, really.

As a result of that thing that broke so horribly all over the place, yesterday does not exist. No. Not a chance. It’s gone. we were all pretty useless for most of the day. So useless, in fact, that we’ve done something that, in this house, has never happened–put on coffee at about noon. When most of us were semi-conscious. If by semi-conscious one means looking vaguely like a dress rehearsal of Dawn of the Dead. And then, after we thought we’d sufficiently blocked out that thinggy of doom from our memories, we listened to the archive. Yes, it really *is* that broken. There were parts of the archive in question all three of us had to listen to again just to make sure what actually happened actually happened. Yeah, it broke. Badly. We’ll never do that again. Until next time.

Today’s been easy. Playing catch-up after the holidays, getting things ready for stuff that may or may not happen at year’s end, and generally continuing the recovery process. That’ll probably continue right up until we end up sitting back and watching our poor hockey team get trampled on by Columbus. I forget exactly what we did at the end of 2009. With a little luck, I might remember pieces of what we did at the end of 2010. Say hello to the most chaotic time of the year. But damn if it isn’t wicked nifty cool. Now, excuse me while I go back to it.

My moment of tech support failure.

Clearly, I’ve been out of tech support for far, far too long. I’ve been dealing with the services offered by my web host for coming up on 5 years now, so you’d think I’d be very familiar with how their servers work. Clearly, such is not the case. Jess was in the process of sending a post to her blog via email, mostly to make sure it worked from her address, and for the life of us we couldn’t get it to go through. She hadn’t done a whole lot of anything on this computer with her email other than go through it, so we didn’t know until now we were looking at potential complications. It took me not seeing her post in the blog’s email account to figure out that, okay, her account on this machine wasn’t behaving. Everything looked right from their end–which is usually not the case, so now I was momentarily confused. Turns out, when I set up her account several months ago, I had neglected to inform Microsoft Outlook that it’d need to authenticate her in order to be given SMTP access. Oops. So here she is, and me a few minutes later, trying to convince her emailed post to cooperate with the blog, and it was the fault of neither–just a freaking box I forgot to check off a few months ago. Clearly, I fail tech support 101. Quick, somebody revoke my license.

Fun, family and festivities, oh my!

Okay, so escentially since Friday life’s been kind of non-stop. But I’ve been meaning to start this update before then, so we’ll get to that in a minute. I had a meeting with the ODSP person who’s heading up the purchasing of a copy of the screenreader I’ll be using at whichever job I end up landing in the foreseeable future. The meeting only lasted an hour or two, and pretty much just confirmed what I already knew–I’d be having no problem getting the dollars for it, and they’d just be going right ahead with the wiring that to me ASAP. Wicked nifty cool–things in that sector actually doing what they’re supposed to without me needing to apply a liberal amount of drop kick. That can’t be anything but good. So I left a couple messages with the employment opportunity here in Pembroke that I’ve been chasing for the last few weeks. They’ve yet to get back to me, naturally, and will promptly be hearing from me again tomorrow. The job I’d applied for in Ottawa, I’ve pretty much decided, has run off a cliff. Calls to them resulted in them saying they’d be looking into why it is the screenreading technology wouldn’t work with their chosen software, and how best to get it to play nice. They said they’d forward my contact info on to the person(s) responsible for testing such things, but poking them on that hasn’t gotten me very far yet. Another thing to attempt to do tomorrow.

In more positive and non-employment-related news, after the near fail that was Greyhound’s website and an epic fail that had surprisingly absolutely nothing to do with Greyhound at all–I’m looking straight at you, Canadian customs–Jessica got in safely and in one piece on Friday. We left early for Ottawa to pick her up, hence my running out of time to throw together an update before hand. We finally, after the afore mentioned Canadian customs failure, got her off the bus and in the car with us at about 10:00, and it was pretty much right back here after where she promptly recovered from not having slept since wednesday night. Friday was the lazy day of lazy as a result; we took it fairly easy at that point and just stuck around here.

Most of the next three days were spent with the family–we hung out with them Saturday evening, did all manner of shooting the shit and watching a little TV, and generally kept it low-key. Sunday we went back over there for dinner again, and received a sound ass kicking in a game of Rummoli–I still think certain members of my family cheat, but whatcha gonna do? that was only Jessica’s second time playing that game–she played once before with us last Christmas–and she pretty much did better than me for the majority of the game. I’m blaming beginner’s luck on that one.

Today being thanksgiving, we took off late this morning to go for our usual round of visiting, then headed back to the parents’ for a dinner who’s overall quality and quantity resulted in at least two food comas. There was more sitting around and shooting the shit, with a M*A*S*H marathon in the background on the history channel–my father’s always had a fondness for that show; it’s a military thing. When food comas started to set in, we decided to shuffle on back home and let life kind of slow itself down for a while. Now, I think I’ve managed to regain some of my balance here, so taking the rest of the week at full tilt will be fun.

Life’s been spinning pretty chaotically the last few days, but it’s been a hell of a lot of fun. Now with the holiday coming to a close, though, we can start to at least pretend like there’s some kind of a routine here. Which means it’s back to my usual being pulled in a few different directions–including taking considerable chunks of my day just to hang out and do absolutely nothing with Jess. And really, if I could have it any other way, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even think about it. There’s no better way to spend any holiday weekend. And hey, if it ends up being back to the usual routine tomorrow, it’ll all have been worth it. Now, I think I’ll just go do that holiday thing a little more.

Congratulations Jessica!

Back in August, while I happened to be haunting her apartment, Jessica was scheduled to retake her massage therapist certification exam. She barely missed it the first time, and going into it this time she was justifiably a little more apprehensive about it. Her added caution, plus the extra preparation she went through the days before she took it, paid off–she is now officially a licensed massage therapist in the state of New York. I have absolutely no idea by how much she passed, but it has been positively confirmed in any event. Pop on over to the linked entry on her blog for her take on it. Meanwhile, if you’re in the Rochester area and want to try her out, look her up–I doubt she’ll say no to the practice. Congratulations, Jessica. I told you so.

If you have not heard Donna the Buffalo, you are broken.

So I’ve been on the US side of the border for nearly two weeks now, and busy as all get out for most of it. Part of the busy was spending the majority of this past friday evening at the Rochester public market. We were planning to check that out anyway, Jess and I, since she’d only been there maybe once before me, and of course I hadn’t been there yet. So i cruised by where she was getting off work, picked her and Kyle–who conveniently also hadn’t been there yet–up, met Heather over there and we crashed it for a few hours. And in doing so, were treated to a free performance by Donna the Buffalo. Apparently, both Kyle and Heather have heard/seen this group live before, which left both Jess and I to experience it for the first time. Hell of an experience, really.

From right around the first or second song, I had a feeling it’d be a pretty damn near wicked awesome performance. Of course, anyone who can perform “Ring of Fire” and not completely kill it deserves at least a shot at not making me cringe. I didn’t cringe. Instead, I find myself rather unsurprisingly in the category of those who highly approve. I don’t think any of my partners in crime were entirely all that surprised by it either–I’m looking at you, Heather.

They only played for an hour and a half, give or take–a lot less time than I thought they’d get, but apparently the organizers decided to do the headliner thing first. Still, it was long enough for me to decide when I do return to the cooler side, I’m gonna have me some downloading. Because I don’t have some downloading right now, have a video instead. Not Friday’s performance, but a performance. I approve by this. And if you find yourself not approving, evaluate your musical tastes. Right now. Enough said.

Surprise, you’re engaged!

Folks will be aware Jess has been here since Saturday. what many aren’t aware of, at least until now, is what happened within 24 hours of her arival. More specifically, it became very official that she’d be stuck with me for about as close to forever as she could tolerate. On saturday afternoon, I officially asked her to marry me. And, surprising everyone except the two of us, she said yes. Effective as of then, we’re officially one step closer to that fateful dive off the deep end.

We haven’t set a date yet, but at least now we can start more seriously talking about it. The majority of the week thus far has escentially been mostly made up of doing just that–I had no idea just how many people actually end up getting told these things. So far, we’ve made and received quite a few phone calls on it, not to mention sharing the news in person. By the time she goes back she’ll probably be sick and tired of talking about it–just in time for the folks she hasn’t told yet to catch sight of the ring.

I had the ring picked out a couple weeks in advance, a bit before she finally purchased the ticket. I wanted it to be a surprise not just to her, but to family/friends on both sides of the equasion. So I was pretty much doing everything in secret at that point. That was probably the hardest part–talking to her and avoiding saying what I really wanted to say when she asked if anything eventful happened that day. But, shocking the hell out of me, I actually somehow managed to do exactly that. And keep it quiet amongst the non-immediate family–something ordinarily nearly impossible to do on account of info travels fasater than a wild fire in california on a bad day.

The rest of the week thus far was pretty low key, in comparison. Had a barbecue on sunday at the parentals’ place, for a combination of cellebrating all three month-end birthdays–mine, my mom’s, and the sister-in-law’s. The engagement became officially official there, when the parents, brother and sister-in-law all got a chance to gawk at the ring. And I was cautioned away from making the same mistake my brother did. Fortunately, that particular mistake can’t be duplicated so I’m safe in that department. Yesterday was equally low key–we stuck around the apartment, flaked out, enjoyed various degrees of lazy, had pizza brought in from the local place of awesome, cracked open the vodka and had our own, personal type engagement party. That lasted until 7:00 this morning, before we grabbed 4 hours’ sleep. the rest of the day, dead as it is, leads us to the announcement here.

This is something I know we’ve both been wanting for a while, so the decision to do it over the weekend was probably the easiest decision I’ve ever had to make. I suspect the rest of this week will probably be devoted to spreading the news even more so–hint: it’s up on Facebook if anyone’s interested. I suspect the next couple weeks, at least for her anyway, are going to consist of telling everyone else back home who hasn’t already heard yet. And thhe foreseeable future? It will probably consist of marriage/wedding plans. As for right now? I still have some evening time to spend. And I think I’ll spend it trying to get a little more used to this whole newly engaged thing. On the bright side, we already know the family approves. On the not so bright side, the poor girl may end up suffering further brain damage as a result. But, she’ll survive. Either that or we’ll be taking up refuge in someone’s basement until the insanity passes. Whatever this ride ends up doing, it’s gonna be a hell of a lot of fun. At least, it’d better be. I demand it.

In which Greyhound fails at life. Again.

So. Some folks already know, and others are about to. Jessica’s presently on her way up here for a week. She left at 20 minutes to 2 this morning, intent on catching a 6:30 connection. There weren’t enough warm bodies going to toronto, so they had to send another bus. That other bus was supposed to be right behind them. They waited in Buffalo until pretty close to 5:00 or so before finally crossing the border. Which, escentially, means no 6:30 connection for Jessica. Fortunately, that doesn’t put too bad a dent in our plans–we can just leave to pick her up 2 hours later. But now, she’s stuck catching a 9:30 bus to Ottawa from Toronto, which means by the time she gets here, she’ll have been on the go for nearly 16 hours. And that’s assuming we come directly here. Factoring in the fact she’s been awake since yesterday morning, and I probably wouldn’t want to be her body right now. Hopefully, the trip she’s taking at 9:30 doesn’t break. In the meantime, Greyhound, please stop failing. Thanks.

Best. Week. Ever.

Some of you already know Jessica was up here for the week, having escaped back to Rochester this past Sunday. Mostly, we had her up here because we could, but a small part of it had to do with the fact it was the week of St. Patrick’s day. Naturally nothing overly spectacular was planned, but there was still fun to be had.

Saturday and Sunday were pretty much written off, on account of she just got here Saturday and well, needed all the rest she could get. Monday meant time well wasted with the family–we killed part of the afternoon over at mom’s, which has become pretty much routine for me anyway. We got to spend some quality time with my nephew at the same time, which is never a bad thing. I still need to post pictures up here–somebody needs to prevent me from forgetting. Or I need to stop being lazy, whichever. Tuesday was more of the same, except minus the nephew and plus a much needed trip to what passes for a grocery store in Petawawa.

Wednesday was when the party really got started. We got together for food and booze with mom, my aunt and uncle. A few beers and a couple vodka and cokes later, and we weren’t quite feeling it. So we came back to the apartment afterwards and picked up where we left off. There was music, the occasional slow dancing, we decided to pick right around that point to start fiddling with Gold Wave–because learning to edit audio is the thing to do when you’re buzzed. And, of course, there was interesting/amusing/entertaining conversation to be had. Although, it’s very likely it was only really interesting/amusing/entertaining to us, but oh well. We threw on Minority Report (2002), seeing as I hadn’t seen it and she liked the general description of the movie. And I’m considering seeing it again just because it’s on the computer now.

Thursday was our recovery day. We slept in fairly late, got up, and took it easy all day. Neither of us were hung over, but we weren’t about to pick up where we left off the night before either. We’d save that for Friday. And, naturally, we did just that. On Friday we cracked open what was left of the vodka, finished most of it, and I introduced her to 50 First Dates (2004). Because really, no Adam Sandler fan can make a claim of being just that without having seen that movie.

Saturday we took her into town so I could show her one of my favourite things about living where there isn’t really a whole lot of anything–the local pizza place, who’s quality I’ve not been able to match anywhere else. She took the opportunity to pick herself up a book as well–not knowing it was abridged, which still cost her damn near $40. I’ll be making an attempt to exchange that particular novel tonight hopefully. Then, because I kept saying I would, I took her to the local Mexican restaurant, the Santa Fe. As usual, I skipped dessert. Needless to say, the only thing we were considering doing when we got back was flaking out, relaxing, thinking about packing her up to leave on Sunday, then going to sleep. So we did.

Sunday was departure day. We got her packed and ready to go by 10, more or less. And we were gone by 11. Her bus didn’t pull away until 2:30, but we had no idea what to expect trafic-wise, and Ottawa has a nasty little habbit of always being worse than we plan for. Not an issue if I’m living in Ottawa. A huge issue if I’m just visiting temporarily. We did manage to get to the station just fine, though, and she got off with no problem whatsoever–at least until she got to Toronto, but that’s a whole other rant for another time and probably on her blog. I went to mom’s for supper, then back here to keep an ear to the ground and make sure she got to Rochester in one piece. She did, and after that point, it became pretty much back to business as usual for both of us. But, we did manage to learn something halfway interesting–again, probably only to us–in the process. The next time we do this, we really aught to not make it another 3 months from now. A week is just too little time to catch up.

Exam day.

Roughly 12 hours from now, Jess will more than likely be a good way through taking her exam for the New York state boards, and that much closer to being a licensed massage therapist in that state. She’s pulled I don’t even know how many 13-hour days over the last year plus, and that’s not counting the hours she’s spent studying, writing papers, stressing, or doing some combination of all of the above. She’s come close to burning out, but managed somehow to keep it together long enough to finish the course. And now she’s one final examination away from having exactly what she wants. I don’t know that you’ll have time to see this before your exam, but if you do, best of luck to you. I’d be there if I could, but you’re being thought of either way. You were awesome in class, so I have on good authority, and you’ll be awesome during this exam. Look out Rochester, I hear she’s good with her hands.

Me thinks I doth neglect too much.

So I’ll go ahead and attempt to correct that minor malfunction now. The week’s been largely uneventful. Jessica got to her bus and to rochester in one piece, as usual. I went back to Pembroke, and hung out at my parents’ place for the evening–largely because, quite simply, this apartment would have been way too quiet to come back to after spending 5 or 6 weeks with Jess. I did eventually come back here, of course. And wouldn’t you know, it didn’t take 24 hours before my usual sleep schedule reascerted itself once again. granted, that was helped by the fact I’m not used to being able to spread myself out as much in bed–another side-affect of their being one less person living here. Monday and Tuesday were pretty well written off. I tinkered with the computer a little, and tried to figure out just why it is I’ve been experiencing about the reliability of a third world phone system where my internet connection’s concerned. Come to find out I was just choking it to death–go figure, moron. I finally unpacked and set up the laptop, so now begins the saga of trying to straighten that out. As for right now? On to attempt to determine whether I’ll be waking up or sleeping. There will be hockey posts coming. And a linuxy techy geeky post. Skip at will. You had your warning.

New years day, done our way.

And in this case, our way involves all manner of creative thinggies that started last night. We took off from here at about 5 or so, and I proceeded to complete my own personal challenge to stay up since the morning before until past the official welcoming of the new year last night. My parents were having a sort of new years eve dinner, so we went over for that. It went a lot better than I actually expected it to, though largely because things have gotten a lot less dramatic in recent years. Mom made her usual spagheti and garlic bread, we hung out and talked, and then killed the rest of the night watching movies. At some point I’ll stop being an unmotivated slob and start posting movie reviews, but it’s probably not going to be today.

Today was spent mostly sleeping and recovering from the last two days. Then, the parents wanted to get together for a new years day dinner. Usually, it involves some kind of meat and potatoes at their place, but this year they felt like going out. Neither Jess nor myself were in much of a Chinese food mood, but that’s what the majority wanted so that’s what we got. It wasn’t all in all too terrible, just not something we were immediately looking forward to. Still, we enjoyed ourselves, not to mention filled ourselves to near busting. Now, the trick is to attempt to find something resembling a decent movie on TV, and try not to do the food coma thing. And to keep up with certain blogging traditions I’m trying to start up over here–those are next. The last few days were tiring, but definitely fun. I’d do them again if I could. Maybe this time next year, perhaps. And, possibly, with a few more people.

No, I’m not. Would you like me to?

On our way back to Canada before Christmas, we did stumble across the required small amount of duh-worthy amusement that seems to find one or both of us on every trip. This in the form of an overly inquisitive and way too curious customs officer who decided, after establishing that Jessica would be visiting her boyfriend–me–in Canada, decided to ask her twice if she was planning to move there. And if she was sure she wasn’t. And every time, she reasured the officer in the same manner that no, there were no plans to randomly decide once she’s over here to just sort of stay put. At least not on this trip. After the interview was over and it was decided both of us were neither terrorists nor future immigrants–apparently they’re on the same list, now, we both had to ask. what would have happened if she’d said yes? The way customs person was going about her questioning you’d almost think a wrong answer to that particular set of questions would have had her haulled off the bus and questioned in more detail in one of those little dark rooms you’re only allowed to see when you’re in the deepest level of shit. I get security. I get paranoia. And I get amusing as hell. This, ms. customs lady person thing, was amusing as hell. Thanks for this. Oh, and by the way. The terrorists are in the next car over.

And just like that, we’re in Canada.

It’s amazing just how things tend to slip away from you when you’re in the middle of one of life’s chaotic moments. We had one such the past week or so. As expected we took off on the morning, early, of the 24th–about 20 minutes before 2, to be precise. The fun didn’t take very long to start after that. When we left Rochester, we were fairly well on time. Maybe 10 minutes late. By the time we got to Buffalo, we’d made that up. And By the time we got to the border, we’d lost it again and then some. We were about an hour behind when we hit the border, thanks largely to a changing of the bus drivers and the new one apparently not having a clue what in the 7 levels of hell he was actually doing. Jess and I cleared customs easily, as usual, and that actually took a lot less time than we thought. Our bus out of Toronto heading for Ottawa was supposed to leave at about 6:30 that morning. Pulling into the Toronto terminal at 7, therefore, was a very bad idea. But we did it anyway.

Sitting around the Toronto terminal for the 2.5 hours or so it took for the next bus heading to Ottawa to show up proved not to be as entertaining as some of the other times I’ve had to do that. We got caught up on at least a couple hours’ sleep, and were otherwise several different kinds of bored sitting there. By the time we saw the bus that would take me home and her with me, we were well beyond ready to get the hell out of there or risk death by lack of anything to do or comfortable seating.

Fortunately we didn’t have the usually required incident on the way from either end of the trip–once it was weather, once it was a broken down bus, once it was just plain stupidity on the part of Grayhound–and things actually managed to go off perfectly without a hitch. Well, with the exception of we got in at 2:30 when it was supposed to be closer to 12:30, but we got in. We didn’t do much touching the computer that afternoon when we got home, and even less the day after–hello, Christmas. Welcome to Canada. I don’t think we even said a word on Twitter until Saturday–sorry to folks who actually expected updates this time. After an awesome, as usual, Christmas get together involving much visiting and much foodness, we came back here, went comatose for a few hours, and took the rest of the weekend thus far to just be lazy and relax. Hey, for the first time in a year and a half we were actually both on vacation. We deserved it, dammit. Now, post-trip to the grocery store to restock the fridge, it’s back to more relaxation. And, more random blog posts from the both of us. Including some random observations I keep meaning to actually toss up here. As for new years? All I know we’re doing is whatever comes up at 11:55 on Thursday night. It will probably involve alcohol. It will probably involve a blog post. And it will probably involve hillarity. ‘Til then, have the first attempt at a post since Rochester. I’ll be back with another one later. Maybe.

And sometimes, the party comes to you.

Our second last day here in Rochester was yesterday. Conveniently, it also doubled as Jessica’s birthday. In cellebration of the latter, we decided to do the bbq thing. So we hit the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, also known as quite possibly the best I’ve had since the last time we did it at my parents’ place. We’d been there before, though never for a special occasion like a birthday or anything, and only once before–back before Jess started her massage therapy courses. We left here at about half past 8 last night, or thereabouts, and by about half past 9 we were stuffed beyond belief, relaxed from various alcoholic beverages, and roughly $50 poorer than when we arived–all in all, not a bad outcome considering what we got out of it.

As always, the food there was beyond awesome. And, as always, neither one of us had room for dessert. Or, for that matter, breakfast this morning. And probably not for much of lunch later today. While we were ordering and subsequently eating, we heard a band setting up for a live performance so decided to stick around for an hour or so afterwards to check them out. Neither of us are into blues music, but the performance last night, by the Beale Street Blues Band (MySpace profile is over here), was actually pretty good. I caught myself almost dancing in my seat to a couple of their songs and I think Jess was ready to as well. The concert itself was free, and it being unexpected by either of us, made the outing just that much more worth the $50 we paid for it. Another thing you don’t see all too much of in Pembroke.

We came back at about 11 or 11:30, somewhere thereabouts, and proceeded to unwind. She says she had an awesome time, which was the end goal, so I guess my work here is done. I wasn’t really planning to make a real big thing out of it, just dinner, conversation, and relaxation. But sometimes, it rocks your socks when the party decides to come to you. And did it ever come to us last night.