Shortly after I got back to the table from having my bowl grilled up, I discovered that I had used enough spice on my bowl to crack the plate! There I was, minding my business and eating my lunch between snippets of conversation when suddenly something on my plate (or so I thought at the time) went *KRACK-POP!* I thought maybe a piece of my chicken had exploded. It actually took a minute for us to realize what had happened and when Genet discovered the damage we couldn't stop laughing, because there it was -- a huge, gaping crack in my plate. Even the people seated at the table next to us were amazed. Roho says my spices released the demons in the plate, but I'm thinking that the demons should have been released on the grill, so this was probably just a case of thermal differential causing catastrophic failure. Adam, the restaurant manager, joked that he should hang the plate above the grill with a warning that "With too much spice this could happen to your intestines." I should have gotten a picture of the remains of the plate, because it really was wild. After I finished my lunch I was treated to a birthday dessert (caramel and hot fudge sundae) courtesy of the restaurant staff.
We talked for a while longer at the table, debating the merits of a movie versus going to shoot pool. Since we all wanted to catch "Batman Begins" before it disappeared completely from the local theaters we decided to veto the pool hall and drove up to the Marcus Theater in Gurnee (which, I discovered, has a helipad marked off in its parking lot). We got there with plenty of time to spare. After a ridiculously long wait, the movie finally got started (it didn't actually roll until 25 minutes or so after the advertised showtime). I enjoyed the film a great deal, because as everybody has told me... they put the dark back into the Dark Knight with this film. Talk about excellent casting, too! Christian Bale really redeems the role that George Clooney and Val Kilmer worked so hard to destroy. That one's getting added to the collection when it's released on DVD.
After the movie I bid Roho and Genet a good evening and drove home. Before I got back to the house I stopped at Meijer's and picked up a few supplies... some bug spray to apply to my Mugo Pines tomorrow, a hard-shelled cat carrier (it was 50% off and will come in handy if I ever have to transport Ra via airplane or the like), some cat toys and some two-part slow-set epoxy. Why the epoxy, you might ask? Well, about a week and a half ago the knob in the master bath's shower broke. Because of Hell Week with the office I haven't had time to try repairing it -- so I figured now would be as good a time as any. I mixed up the resin, gooped up the broken part of the knob, slapped it in place and clamped it down with my vice grips. In about seven hours it should be solid as a rock and able to handle up to 2,500 pounds of pressure (or so the packaging claims). Me, I'll just be happy if I can put it back on the valve and turn it without shearing off that stupid piece of plastic again. I really hate the design of these handles.
Almost immediately after I set the vice grips I heard the lovely sound of fireworks going off across the street. What the fuck? I look out my window and sure enough, from across the street and just diagonal to my property, I see a Roman Candle going off. My neighbors' teen and pre-teen kids had apparently found the stash from the fourth of July and decided to set it off, the inconsiderate bunch of sots. You know, I'm all for explosives and noisy fun, but a month after the holiday and at 8:40 at night is starting to push it just a wee bit. And by "a wee bit" I mean "a whole lot." Since I wasn't in the mood to put up with their hooting and hollering all night I decided to see if a little persuasive coaching might help. In other words, I walked out on my lawn to the edge of my property, waited until the fireworks show was over, then yelled at them, "I don't suppose anybody's told you that it's August and not the Fourth of July anymore?" One kid screamed (she screams at everything.. apparently she's a histrionic in training) and some of the other kids laughed. A few catcalls of "Oh, thank you!" came back but I didn't care so long as they quit it with the fireworks. Next time this happens I'm going to call the cops. I'm not usually so quick to pull the trigger on deploying the local law enforcement, but there's no alternative. My usual avenue (talking to the parents) is useless in this case because the parents are never home -- which is exactly why this bullshit is going on in the first place.
My parents will be here on the 18th for a belated-birthday visit. It sounds like they're going to arrive Thursday night and will stay through Sunday, leaving Monday morning. I'm a bit tweaked that I have to work four to six hours on this Saturday, but I'm sure my parents wouldn't mind just sitting around the house and relaxing while I'm slaving away in a hot wiring closet. Things have been hectic up on the farm and my mom really needs a change of pace. I'll be glad to see them again, too, since I was cheated of the opportunity earlier in June/July by my harfing cat.
Now that we're face to face