A tale of two snowmen


Our neighborhood in Baltimore is situated between several colleges and universities and therefor we have many student renters living on our block. It gives me the chance to often think back and realize what a horrible tenet I must have been - back in the day. When we ran out of oil for the furnace we would burn garbage in the fireplace and all sleep in the living room.During the snow storm last week several snowmen sprung up after the weather cleared. The boys to our right are athletes (I had to spell check athlete) while the boys to our left have a drum kit that they practice on early in the morning. When looking at the snowmen, I'm certain you can guess whom belongs to whom.

Rather than a button nose and two eyes made out of coal their snowman's nose and eyes are made our of beercans. But, it does have a corncob pipe.

They lost some points for the HomeDepot bucket hat. The other guys used a bike helmet.

Susan said she was certain our snowman in college would not have looked like the one built by the athletes. I called and asked my college roommate and asked if we should be offended. He said our's would have had such a huge and unplanned base snowball we would have never been able to go hired with the second and third. We would have built him sideways. It would have been better than the over achievers next door!

Cats in the cradle

As we unbox gifts from friends and family and ready the nursery... the cats definitely sense change is in the air! We've done our best to keep the room animal free since it's the one room in the house not overrun with dust bunnies and tumbling tumble weeds of animal hair. The dogs are curious but as long as they get fed... the don't seem to mind to much. The cats on the other hand know something is up. Turn your back for a second and they've snuck in through a partially open door. Look again, and they are in the crib.Apparently, this is their Camelot... their Fortress of Solitude. I'm sure this will pose a problem when they learn it's not for them and they're just keeping it warm for the true owner. I think in their eyes this is the one place they can relax out of sight of the dogs. This is one place they can rest easily... until I come around with the camera. Of the two cats, we've had Leroy the longest. When we brought Agador Spartacus home, it took weeks before Leroy would look us in the eye. As soon as we would walk in, he'd turn his back and continue to pivot as you walked by so his face was opposite ours the whole time. While it may be fun and games now to play in the crib and sniff around the new boxes - I'm guessing the same jealousy will arise once another human enters the nest.

Lost and Found - Mixtape in the gutter from "Yo Boy Billy"

Yo Boy Billy

Press Play

I found this CD in the gutter up the street the other day while out walking the dog. Apparently, Emily has moved on. The disk may have fallen out of her car but I think she frisbee'd it out the window and it bounced off a tree. From what I can gather... she's with someone else now. These things happen. But, to give Billy some credit. He does have a nice ear for expressing himself through overused popular music. I can't compliment him on his handwriting though. Or his heart-drawings for that matter.

But, what can you do? You can get pissed and let her know it about 4 tracks in! Start off nice and sweet and then! Yeah! Take that. "Don't touch my girl." I'm not sure who sings this song - (I am old) - but it really fires me up! If i were a pissed off 16 year old - this would speak to me. But then I'd balance it with a classic.

"Hey Dad, what was that song they used for Michelle Obama? The blind guy?"

And then The BloodHound Gang? Really... gonna win her back with this?

But then we go way back to the 90's. I think I may have used a few of these songs for the same purpose. Regardless of generation, all broken heart mixtapes have a Cure track. When I mixed in The Cure, I think I had to pull if off a tape. Damn. Do they still make blank tapes? I forget who that tape was for. I wonder if she still has it? It probably ended up in a gutter somewhere. Some guy remixed I bet.

Ah well, Yo Boy Billy. I wish you the best. It may be time for some "Journey."

I got some lip from a ROBOT

I called to check on room availabilities at a few hotels in Towson for my parents when they come to visit next month. Google, of course, gave me a few pushpins just a few miles up the road so I started calling. What's amazing is that with each call to the front desks, they sent me off to some call center somewhere to field my questions on room rates and availabilities. I'm a mile away asking a question to a lady who could be my neighbor and soon I'm off to another part of the world talking to someone who pronounces Baltimore wrong.

With one call, I get sent to Lilly who speaks remarkably crisp and quite lovely. She asks the standard questions and when given my turn to respond, my questions are standard as well. "I'm wondering if you have any rooms for the weekend of Oct. 4th?"

"That weekend. Let me checking. I am checking. Yes, we have a standard suite available with one king bed and an attached living room for a rate of $116 a night and cancellation up until the day of for no charge. You can book now if you have a major credit card or online at our website."

I ask a follow up. "I may have more guests, can you tell me if you have another room for that weekend?"

"You can cancel up until the day of arrival for no charge either over the phone at this number or on our website." She answers.

"No. I'm not asking that. I have another...."

"I can't answer that," She steps in. "You can cancel for no extra charge by calling this number or online at our website."

"No, I need to know." I start to ask until she jumps in with the cancellation routine. Now I'm thinking. Although very human, she sounds very mechanical.

While she's talking, I interrupt her with some Ferris Bueller, "I'm afraid that in my weakened condition, I could take a nasty spill down the stairs and subject myself to further school absences."

She cut me off mid-stride with, "I cannot help you with that. Good-bye."

God knows I'm a fan of the geeky or side of things and I wouldn't mind having a robot of my own to answer questions directed my way but at some point we the customers need to be right again.

Leroy's Got the Mad Munchies

Leroy Eats

A few days ago - Leroy was looking pretty rough. First Agador Sparticus had the sniffles - and then Leroy showed signs of full on Respiratory Infection. We woke up with him mouth breathing and salivating and drooling and looking like he was losing the fight! But with a house showing an hour away, I had to get the dogs out too? I loaded them all up in the VW and off we go running red lights and cutting off school buses.

Bella and Prudence

They kept him overnight and sent him home with meds and orders to rest. To paraphrase, "Fat cats like him need to eat. In a few days his liver will fail if he doesn't eat." But he wouldn't eat! We figured maybe he was turned off by the food since we loaded it up with meds to kill the lung infection. When I gave him his food yesterday, he sniffed it, sneezed and then dry heaved. Today we got him some munchy meds and off he goes!

Flip this house

Flip this house We finally got our house up on the market.


Don't let the painted formstone "the polyester of brick" fool you!You'll love the openness of this well maintained, freshly painted rowhome. Just 4 blocks from the Historic Federal Hill restaurants, bars, boutiques and Cross Street Market.This charmer has been totally rehabbed in 2001 ~ exposed brick, skylight, hardwood floors, a HUGE Master bedroom 11 X 20 – not common in this style of home. In addition, new roof was added in 2006 and new carpet 2008. This home is being offered at a great price - so don't miss it!1yr Home Warranty



Originally uploaded by stork123

Well, after living on 1609 for many years now - maybe it's time to move on to bigger and better. Moving is something we've toyed with for years now but it looks after if we are now ready to pull the trigger. The street is great, the neighborhood is home but there is only so much we can do in our small house. There are hobbies that we both want to explore but don't have room to do. As much as I don't want to leave the comforts of 'home', I look forward to having space to build an Arcade and fire up my long overdue ship-in-a-bottle project.

I was a Nintendo Fanboy at Five AM

I got to Walmart at 4:30 am armed with a large coffee and my hacked PSP ready to play an hour and a half of ExciteBike on a nintendo emulator until the store opened. The Wii was to go on sale at 6am and I was number 11 in line. Rumor had it there were at least 20 to go around and only one purchase per person. I was feeling pretty good except for the fact that it was too cold to play my psp and soon my coffee would be gone with nothing to keep me warm but the glow of the Coke machine I was leaning against. By the time the store opened, there were more than sixty in line. A few in line were there to buy ‘x-mas gifts’ but upon further questioning we all learned the game was for them. All the crowd was over twenty except for one kid that was with his mom. There was a mix of guys and girls in the line and not all the girls were there with their boyfriends/husbands. I was wearing a nintendo hat. I was there for myself!

The mission started the night before at 9:30pm. The Wii was to go on sale at midnight and after some searching online I found the nearest 24hour Walmart to be 30 miles away in Aberdeen, MD. I told Susan, “I’m going to Walmart, with or without you.” She said I had to drive. Off we go.

Ipod - Check.

PSP- Check.

Cellphone - Check.

Digital Camera - Check.

The line was already sixty deep when we got there. As I surveyed the situation I listened to the rumors circulating through the line.

“I hear they only have 30 Wii’s.” One said. “The cops are on there way, apparently this line will be considered null and void. The real line starts at ten.” Came from a little deaper in the pack. “Someone got shot in line for the Playstation 3! I think it was at a Walmart.” Near the back. More cop rumors were floating around and I did see some commotion bubbling at the front of the line. Although I felt pretty certain I wouldn’t be getting a Wii from this store, I was interested to see what was going to happen. It was a few minutes before ten and if this line was to be dispersed by the authorities I wanted a good view - from a distance. I told Susan things could get ugly.

The cops did come but not to disperse the line as suggested. The guys in the first twenty spots had been there for days and had self labeled stickers on their shirts identifying there place in history. Number one had a cleverly labeled note, “ONE”. Some guys had come in and started their own line with their own labels at the entrance to another door and the cops were called by the first pack to sort things out. Not the excitement I was hoping for but I did get to hear a fanboy say “those guys are cutting in line” to a Maryland State Trooper. I was hoping for a “no cuts, no butts, no coconuts”.

We left Wii-less.

Plan B was to hit the Walmart down the street from the house that opened at 6am. Back at the home I set my alarm and laid out my clothes and gear. I was out the door four and half hours later and in line!

Approaching the crowd of only ten I asked “Is this the line for the new elmo doll?”

He who had been waiting the longest (number one) had the strongest opinion of the joke. “F#@K OFF and go tickle this!” Soon he relaxed when we talked about Zelda and I gave him a piece of gum.

With less than half and hour to zero hour the manager came out and told us how it would go down. Although there were over sixty in line he told us up front there was only twenty units for sale. He counted the pack, (me at 11!) and told those over number twenty to leave unless they wanted to stay and shop for something else. Number one told them to stay and buy some pantyhose and toiletries.

The back of the pack slowly dispersed and a girl in front of me started feeling guilty that she would get one but a few moms in the back wouldn’t. Her friend, much like General Patton but in a zelda stocking cap, gave her support.

“You’ve earned this! We’ve earned this! We’ve waited! We haven’t slept! We’ve got a right to play Zelda from now until we have to pee or not pee - maybe poo! Don’t leave me now! Never leave a man behind! Never leave a woman behind in a line at Walmart with a bunch of nerds! Now get your money ready and lets buy us a Nintendo!”

Number one feeling guilty himself stopped to rethink his position as number one. Maybe the moms deserved a Wii more than him? “Hey lady, do you want my spot?”

“Of course!” She said turning back from her walk to the car.

“Two thousand dollars! And you gotta buy me some toiletries and a Tickle Me Elmo!” He yelled back and laughed until the manager walked back and suggested he keep quiet.

A few minutes to go. The manager told us this would be done real orderly. He’d let two in at a time and the consoles would be on sale at the front of the store. One per person and if you wanted any games or accessories you’d have to go to your car and leave the Wii there and come back. None of us felt this would be a good idea agreed we’d come back later for games.

I played the bundled sports pack until noon and went back for Zelda. For the few minutes I was there the phone rang non-stop in the electronics section. “We have no Wii’s and don’t know when there will be more” the clerk would answer without listening to the question. She told me she was ‘telapathetic or what ever you call it’ and then asked me if I could believe there was a bunch of ‘wierdo’s’ outside all night waiting for this thing?

I said, “What a bunch of nerds. Can you get me a Wii ‘Zelda’ from the counter?”

C.S.I. Baltimore

We were woken up buy several very abrupt knocks on the front door at 2am this morning. Luckily, I'm feeling under the weather and had called off a two day trip. I say 'lucky' because had I had not called out my alarm clock would have been going off in about an hour and I'd been pissed. With Bella the 60 pound pit mix away on vacation this week I thought I could ignore the knocks for abit until they assumed we were gone. Had she have been here - she would have let us know someone was there before the knocking. After a few more forceful pounds on the door I looked out the window to see who it was. A Maryland State Police car had the one way road blocked outside our house with lights flashing. Still, when answering the door, I let out a bellowing "Who is it." "Maryland State Police! Open the door!" Knowing my innocence, it was actually kind of fun. If only they were filming COPS. I opened the door to be greeted with a flashlight in the eyes and a "We're looking for @#$##@$#$@!" I'm not censoring. It was 2AM. MY brain was not into store information mode. When I said I wasn't him and I've been in the house for 5 years they seemed pleased and started to turn. "Do you wanna see some ID or something?" I asked. "Yeah, That's a good idea." They said walking back to the door. I guess it was 2AM for them as well.