Tag Archives: Friends

Geekstuff: The Birthday Rundown

Well, I’ve been thirty-four years old for a week now and I’ve gotta say I’m liking it so far. There are times when being an adult is all about socks and shirts and ties, oil changes and mortgage payments, but I’m happy to say that my family and friends know that I’m still all about the books, comics, toys and games. Apart from a very nice polo shirt from my mother-in-law, most of my birthday bounty would have been eagerly received by seventeen-year-old me.

  • LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy for the Xbox, from my young apprentice. Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.
  • The Making of Star Wars by J.W. Rinzler, from Laura.
  • A Boba Fett t-shirt, also from Laura.
  • The Ultimate Fantastic Four trade paperbacks volumes 1-5, from Miscellaneous G™.
  • Three Hellboy comics signed by Mike Mignola, from Chris.
  • A green FlyTech Dragonfly, from my sister-in-law and her family. A remote-controlled ornithopter! How cool is that?
  • A musical Batman card from my elder, bigger little sister.
  • Filthy lucre from my parents, mother-in-law and grandparents-in-law, which I used to buy:
    • 18 by Moby (CD)
    • Play by Moby (CD)
    • Hellboy: Sword of Storms (DVD)
    • Dune: Extended Edition (DVD)
    • Blade Runner: Director’s Cut (DVD)
    • Pan’s Labyrinth (DVD)
  • Last but not least, pumpkin pie from my grandparents-in-law. Yes, it’s more of a fall pie. I don’t care. I will eat it now and then, I will eat it anywhen!

[EDIT: I forgot a couple of things!]

  • Police Squad! The Complete Series on DVD, from the Wiitalas. Police Squad! didn’t succeed as a television series (a shame, because it’s hilarious), but it eventually evolved into three Naked Gun movies.
  • Spamalot Original Cast Recording, also from the Wiitalas. Laura and I saw Spamalot last year, and it was fantastic. My favorite song is probably “The Song That Goes Like This”, but they’re all good.
  • The first season of Arrested Development on DVD, from my sister and her boyfriend. Despite several people telling me I should have been watching this show when it was originally on the air, I’ve never seen it. I’m probably directly responsible for its cancellation.
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma, also from my sister and her boyfriend. I’m not sure, but I think this book has something to do with that “fourth meal” I’ve been hearing about at Taco Bell.

Are my friends and family not awesome? Yes. Yes they are. They made me a very happy birthday boy.

Thank You

Whether you’ve done so on my website, over on LiveJournal, through e-mail, over the phone or in person, I want to thank everyone who extended their sympathy and support to me, Laura and our family following the passing of Laura’s father, Tom Sperry, Sr. We have been positively overwhelmed with the outpouring of kindness and generosity from our family, our friends and acquaintances, and even from complete strangers.

The visitation on Friday evening was attended by something like two hundred people, and I believe there were more than a hundred people at the service on Saturday afternoon. I can’t possibly thank everyone individually right now, but I personally want to extend special thanks to the following:

  • To my mother, for being here when we needed you.
  • To Ann and Mario, for your friendship, support and generosity.
  • To Matt and Sheila, for making the drive from Lansing to attend the funeral on Saturday, and for spending the day with us yesterday as well.
  • To Coz and the Marauder-Intruder Group (MIGs), not only for attending the visitation and the service, but for sharing your fond remembrances of Tom as well.
  • To J.C., for your kindness and support.

P is for Plastic People.

Busy, busy weekend.

On Friday we had a “team event” at work. My team consists of five peons and one overlord, and we decided a month or so ago that we’d all like to see the Bodyworlds 2 exhibit at the Great Lakes Science Center. Most of us ((All but one, who opted to drive his motorcycle and wound up having to leave before dinner.)) piled into the MVoD at noon and within moment escaped the gravitational well of the office. We had lunch at ¿Que Tal? and then it was off to the Science Center.

The exhibit was fascinating. That Gunther Gebel-Williams von Hagen is either a straight-up old school mad scientist or a stone-cold serial killer. Either way, he put together an impressive array of human cadavers that provides unprecedented insight into human anatomy. I came away amazed that the world doesn’t break us into tiny pieces on a daily basis.

After the exhibit ((We also saw Mystery of the Nile at the OMNIMAX theater. It’s the story of the first expedition to ever successfully navigate the Nile from its source to the Mediterranean Sea. It was breath-takingly beautiful and the music was excellent. I’m hoping there’s a soundtrack CD available online.)) we proceeded to the New York Spaghetti House for dinner. We all split the mozzarella marinara appetizer and I enjoyed a raspberry martini, house salad (excellent dressing), lasagna and tiramisu. It was all excellent.

HALO 2
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Saturday morning I was supposed to go cycling with Bob, but it rained, ((Well, it threatened to rain. We argued that the precipitation factor was simply too unpredictable to chance. We’ve both got caliper brakes on our bicycles, and they don’t work all that well when wet.)) so we opted to forgo the cycling in favor of breakfast at IHOP. To make up for not doing 10+ miles on the bike, I practiced my power-eating on four pancake-wrapped sausage links and a large orange juice. I’m pretty sure that qualifies as aerobic exercise.

Project Gotham Racing 2
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After breakfast, the Xbox LAN party commenced. ((While I was getting my game on, Laura and her mother spent the day shopping for porn corn. I’m told that they actually bought some sweet, juicy porn corn, too, but I won’t get to experience it until this evening.)) There was much playing of HALO 2 and Project Gotham Racing 2, which lasted until at least one wee hour of the morning. I got home at about a quarter of two on Sunday morning and was just as surprised as Laura to find me still in bed when she got home from church at one in the afternoon.

Laura and I had lunch at Red Robin, did a little shopping, then went home so I could get the printer connected to her newly-moved PC. I played a little Tetris Worlds while Laura napped, then I mowed the lawn. It was just the sort of hectic, fast-paced, action-packed day that separates our thrill-a-minute lifestyle from the mundane, humdrum existence of “normal” folks.

Apart from learning that Laura is eighteen weeks pregnant, that pretty much sums up our weekend.

Camping in the Rain

The weekend was certainly interesting. Friday evening, we met the Wiitalas (Matt, Shiela and Drew) and Winklers (Steven, Velta, Mara and Peter) at the Maumee Bay State Park. Laura and I arrived just as the Winklers were finishing dinner (steak and baked potatoes) preparations. We had two campsites, one for the two tents (ours and the Wiitalas’) and the other for the dining fly and the Winklers’ pop-up camper. Almost every other site in the immediate vicinity was occupied by kiters, who had descended upon the park for their annual (?) gathering. There were windsocks, windmills, banners and (of course) kites everywhere.

Unfortunately for everyone, it rained most of the day on Saturday. We had just gotten the dining fly erected a little before 8:00 Saturday morning when the first rain came in, and the weather just went downhill from there. We spent much of the day clustered under the dining fly, the screened walls of which didn’t offer the best protection from the rain unless you were standing in the very center of the fly (which was occupied by a picnic table). The next dining fly we get will be a bit bigger, I think, and have retractable tarpaulin walls.

Breakfast Saturday morning was bacon and eggs, cooked in the rain. We spent the remainder of the morning running in and out of the dining fly, as it would rain one minute and be bright and sunny the next. I managed to get a good bit of American Gods read before the sun gave up entirely. As afternoon approached, we determined that a trip to the nearby Wal-Mart was in order. The rain was coupled with stifling heat Friday evening and much of Saturday, so the dry, cool shelter offered by Wal-Mart was very attractive. When we returned to the campground, Laura declared that it was lunchtime (so much of camping seems to revolve around the meals).

At one point after lunch on Saturday it was pouring so hard that everyone abandoned the dining fly and sequestered themselves away in tents, campers and vehicles. Laura and I sat in the MVoD listening to the first disc of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which we’d picked up from Wal-Mart (along with ice, chips, charcoal and other supplies). After about an hour, we returned to the dining area and began preparations for dinner. In spite of the rain, it was decided that we’d cook dinner in the fire ring.

Laura was determined to have s’mores for dessert, so Matt and I held our umbrellas over the fire and roasted marshmallows in the pouring rain, both getting thoroughly drenched in the process. The sight of two grown men huddled over a smoking fire roasting marshamallows in a downpour was undoubtedly very amusing. Unfortunately, our digital camera was sitting back home on an end table, so the moment wasn’t captured for prosperity.

The rain had moved east by Sunday morning, so Laura didn’t get any extra water in her pancake batter. After breakfast, we packed up our gear and headed home. We were all on the road by 10:30, and Laura and I arrived home a bit before 1:00.

I spent much of the day ripping the 17 Harry Potter CDs to Apple’s proprietary AAC format, renaming all of the tracks to a common format (“Chapter 01, The Other Minister-A”, “Chapter 01, The Other Minister-B” and so on) and then changing the file extensions (from .m4a to .m4b) so they’d all be bookmarkable in iTunes and on my iPod. While I ran between Laura’s computer and mine (her DVD-ROM drive is better for ripping the discs, while the music collection resides on my computer), Laura listened to the CDs in the living room. I had all of the discs ripped and organized by late evening. Laura finished listening to the book at about 6:00pm yesterday, while I finished at about 3:15am today.

This is the way we roll…

Bob and I hit the concrete trail once again Saturday morning. We fared a bit better on our second outing, increasing our round trip to 10.3 miles.

At one point, we stopped by the side of the trail for some water (yes, I remembered my bottle this time) and were passed by an elderly fellow who was out for a late morning walk. We passed him quickly after resuming our ride and cruised over a nice bit of the trail that was mostly level with a bit of a downhill grade. Bob pulled away from me and managed to get a good bit ahead. When I caught up, he hadn’t quite managed to dismount fast enough to look as though he’d been patiently waiting on the bench at the side of the trail.

I guzzled down much of my water and lamented about the heat, humidity and my general out-of-shapeness. “Oh, shit,” Bob said after a few minutes. “We’ve gotta go.”

The old man was rounding the corner, and for two strapping young cyclists such as ourselves to be twice overtaken by a walking senior citizen would simply not do. So off like a flash we went, and didn’t see the old man again until we were well into our return journey.

Our total ride time was just over an hour, according to my Schwinn SC-8 bicycle computer, but we were gone for closer to two hours. The computer doesn’t keep track of rest stops.

Bob, I’m told, cycled the route again today. Curses! Now I suppose I’ll need to find a nice 10-mile circuit starting from the house so that I don’t fall behind.