I got up around 9:30 AM or so, wandered out to the living room and fed Ra per my usual routine. It's funny to see just how spastic he can get when the egg timer goes off thirty minutes after he's gotten his Prednisone. It's sort of like "Oh boy oh boy oh BOY! I can EAT now!" and then it degenerates into a minute and a half of physical comedy as he twines around my feet, maiows and runs back and forth while I take the cup of food from the closet over to his bowl while trying not to trip or step on him. Maybe, for my sanity, I should invest the time to find another timer that he won't be able to get conditioned to. At least then I know I wouldn't have him trying to climb over my feet while I walk.
Once Ra's noisy head was fed an hour or so was spent (read: wasted) while I checked e-mail, chatted online and checked out the various web sites I don't get to read during the week, namely my comics of choice. Sometime around 11:00 AM I hopped into the shower, hopped back out and got in a quick shave so that I didn't spend the rest of the day looking like Bigfoot with a beer gut and a bad hair style. As soon as I was dry and back in my attire it was time to gather up all my various gizmos and gadgets (cell phone, Handspring Visor, sunglasses, etc) and head North to meet up with enveri and roho. I made sure to bring along the novel and pair of Basil Poledouris soundtrack CDs that Roho had loaned me a long time ago, since I was done with them and I think Tallears was starting to wonder if I might ever return him his property. I also brought along my boxed set of the first season of The Sopranos, which Kestral had expressed an interest in watching. It's fun to watch my friends get hooked on some of the shows I'm hooked on. Right now that Season One box has spent time with no less than three of my friends including aureth and captain18. Reactions to it have been favorable across the board, so I think I'm well-justified in having a high opinion of the show as well as believing that my own taste in movies and TV series (Have I mentioned lately that you should check out the new series Monk starring Tony Shalhoub on USA?) is fairly sound. I made it up to Roho's neck of the woods in good order, although the 290/90 interchange was once again screwed beyond all belief. I can't wait until that construction is over and things start getting back to somewhat more rational levels of suckitude. The only thing that really worried me during the entire trip was a trailer I was behind on Route 83. This trailer seemed innocuous enough until I noticed the constant stream of liquid that was spilling from under one of the doors and onto the road beneath as it sped its way North. Judging by the discoloration it was causing on the frame of the trailer (and the trailer style) I think it was safe to guess that somebody had some lawn care equipment in there and one of the gas cans had overturned. Once I'd decided that it probably was gas that was leaking I backed the truck off a little and changed lanes so that I could get away from the rolling fire hazard as fast as possible. It never ceases to amaze me how stupid some people can be. Does anybody bother to check if their flammables are secured before they start carting them over major roadways? I shudder to think what might have happened if that rig was being followed by a smoker or somebody with their muffler dragging on the pavement...
Once at Roho and Kestral's apartment I dropped off the goods and then went back down to the parking lot so that we could all hop into Roho's much-too-cool Saab and zip over to bd's Mongolian barbeque. Our plan was to partake of the lunch special, then run about and do some errands with me in tow before returning to the apartment. Lunch was very good -- I had two courses and was absolutely stuffed at the end. As has become tradition when going to a Mongolian BBQ place I absolutely smothered my selection in pepper, resulting in food that was very spicy and very, very good. Kestral expressed surprise that I hadn't drowned in my own sweat when I pulled my hat off to mop my forehead at the end of the second meal. What can I say, I've discovered yet another similarity between my father and myself: a latent love for spicy foods has manifested itself in me within the last eight months. But I digress....
We chowed down on our lunch, which was once again excellent. Due to the changes in diet by my accomplices I had the vast majority of the tortillas (Trust me, I'm confused how tortillas made it into a Mongolian place too) as well as all the rice, which I made good use of during my meal. After we ate and paid out bill it was back out into the daylight to pile into the car and run errands. The first stop was the nearby Sam's Club, where we wandered around for a bit and I had to force myself not to buy a DVD player or a couple of DVDs (more on that later). Once Roho and Kestral had procured their desired items we trekked out to Murphy's, a health food/dietary store. What was nice about this was that our trip to Murphy's also put us right next to a store we've seen time and time again on our trips to Mickey Finns. Between the pub and Murphy's is a little place called "Treasures and Trash," which looks something like an antique store but with a little more modern kitsch and a lot less trash. What really impressed me about this place each time we walked past it was the sheer amount of "guy paraphernalia" they had, such as old Budweiser signs, Miller mirrors, neon signs for Pabst and the like. I had always wanted to stop in and see the entire place, and this presented just the opportunity we three were looking for. After poking around in there and finding a number of things I could drop thousands of dollars on (like an antique bar, complete with antique liquor glasses and more) I finally found one thing I absolutely had to have just that moment: a ship made of brass scrap, shaped by hand and mounted on a piece of marble. It was absolutely stunning in its detail and, at $80, wasn't too much of a rip off. I was glad that I hadn't bought anything at Sam's Club because this represented a total annihilation of my budget for the week (along with all the other money I had already spent). The store didn't accept anything but cash and checks (what stores in Chicagoland accept checks anymore? Good grief!) so I had to jog across the street to a Harris Bank, walk through their drive-thru ATM (garnering dirty looks from their staff in the process) so that I could get the necessary funds and then jog back to the store. One of the staff there (whom I'm guessing is also the proprietor) had already boxed the piece up and had the receipt waiting for me. I'm giddy because this is going to be a positively kick-ass present for my grandfather, the old sailor. I think it'll look great on the mantle in his apartment. Once I had paid for my purchase we walked back down the sidewalk to where the car was parked. On our way I remarked that the store reminded me a great deal of The House On The Rock, except that in this place you could buy the exhibits if you so desired. A brief conversation was also had about how that place was able to afford rent given they're only open two days out of the week, which brought up the hypothesis that the store owners also own the building they're in so don't have to worry about generating enough revenue to pay a lease each month.
The drive back to the apartment was uneventful, and we all were feeling sort of slow and tired from our ridiculously large meal at bd's. After we'd lounged around for five or ten minutes Roho offered to put his copy of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. I hadn't seen the film in the theater, and I hadn't bought it because I'm not that big of a Tolkien's works and I felt the movie was just too much D&D for my non-D&D self. After seeing how well the film was executed I'm starting to reconsider that decision -- it seems like it's going to be one of those films that just belongs in a DVD collection. It was a very good film, even if it was a bit long. Maybe if I come across a copy for cheap enough I'll grab it up, we'll see.
After the movie I gathered up my stuff, thanked both my hosts for a pleasant evening and drove home to my apartment. I got back sometime around 7:00 pm, plopped down in my recliner with a gin and tonic and decided to watch another couple episodes of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I got roughly halfway through the first DVD when ka-wham my PS2 decided it wasn't going to play any further. I felt like hurling my glass at the recalcitrant piece of technology. As of late that's all it's been doing: it plays partway through, gets to a layer change or something and then dies a horrible death. I've remarked upon this a time or two before, but this time it's really pissing me off because it's doing it on movies and series that I've never seen before. In point of fact only one of my recent DVD acquisitions has played all the way through, the others have all bombed out at some point or another. It's because of this that I think I'll take a cue from 2_gryphon and go over to a pawn shop, see if they have any DVD players for $45 or so and if they do I'll grab it. At $45 a player would be a decent deal for me. For one, it's cheap enough I can essentially call it disposable: I can afford for the thing to only work a few times. Second, I'll probably not have much use for it once I buy my house and start building a real entertainment system anyways. Most importantly, though, it'll keep me from going insane and on a terrible rampage of destruction because my PS2 taunted me one too many times with a half-played disc. Forty-five dollars is forty-five dollars well-spent if it keeps me from going into Hulk Smash mode.
Also adding to the frustration at the close of last night was my discovery that gin and tonics no longer agree with my stomach. This appears to be a recent development, and it's one I'm not particularly happy with; gin and tonics are one of my favorite drinks. All through last night I was sipping on my Tanqueray with tonic and feeling my stomach do slow summersaults each time I took a drink. This slow-motion flip is a sensation I've grown weary of experiencing... I had enough of it when I was little and still, to this day, I get violently ill from the flu and have to make offerings to the porcelain god. It's an experience I try to avoid if at all possible when I go drinking, and one I haven't had more than two or three times in the six years I've been hitting the bottle. I'd like to keep it that way, and I'd like to keep putting away bottles of Tanqueray. Is it because I got so drunk one time on gin and tonic that I threw up that I'm experiencing this? Was that one time enough for my brain to form an association of "gin == sick to stomach?" If so, well, that's just lovely. I suppose that there is one other possibility -- maybe it's because I've grown used to the smooth taste of Bombay Sapphire Blue that the taste of Tanqueray is causing me such trouble. They may both be gin but there is a world of difference between the two. I shall have to put this other theory to the test some time by mixing up some Bombay and tonic. We'll see if I get the same response from my stomach or not. I don't want to give up my gin and tonics!
Today I head down to hang out with aureth and jenwolf at their place for a belated celebration of my birthday. Jen will be treating us all to a very tasty dinner, and there will be general carousing, DVD watching and PS2 gaming. Roho and Kestral will be in attendance, and with luck a few of the #wt crowd (namely Masem and captain_18 will also show up. I'm looking forward to getting the chance to introduce the Illinois Pack to some of #Watertower folks (and vice-versa). Besides, it's an excuse to get a home-cooked meal. Those are always good things.
Now it's time to pack up my controllers, a couple games and some DVDs for the trip down there. I hope to be able to fix a problem Aureth is experiencing with his Jet Direct while I'm down there, too.
He's always on someone's mind