Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Veronica Mars. We love her.

There is a TV in this house, but it is used as a means to show movies and video games, not actual TV shows. Except TV shows that sneak in the house via DVD.

And thank god for TV shows on DVD. When I was little, you could sign up to have every episode of M*A*S*H delivered to you home, four shows per video, two videos per month. I think each video was $15.00. I told my mom about it and her reaction was, "That would cost a small fortune."

There were a lot of M*A*S*H episodes.

That are now available on DVD. This whole TV on DVD thing at our house started (at least with my full participation) with Freaks and Geeks. That was a fabulous show that I fell in love with so much so that when we watched the last episode (of 12, total) I actually got depressed for a few days and was sad to see them all go.

Then Matt found Veronica Mars and I recovered. We watched season one via Netflix with a disk coming every three weeks or so. Season two we got about three or four disks in and I couldn't stand it anymore, drove to Target, bought the entire second season and watched the remaining shows in a late night orgy when Matt was at his family's house for Christmas. Then watched them again when he got back.

I had a great plan to watch the entire Season 3 when it first came out on DVD, then be ready to watch season 4 in real time. I was actually going to commit to seeing a show on TV with commercials and everything. But the network, in all their wisdom, canceled the show after the third season. So I've been eagerly awaiting the DVD release which happily happened on October 23rd. Which coincided with my birthday. And what a nice birthday present Matt got me.

My plan was to watch one show per week, to really make the last of Veronica Mars last. We did well the first night. On Friday, after prepping for the paint party, we sat down and watched the first episode. Then Saturday found us with an hour to kill before the party started and we watched the second episode. Saturday night, we lost it and watched the third, forth and fifth episodes. Sunday, all sense of control was gone as we sat down to watch one episode and ended up watching three. The only thing that has stopped the viewing is the usual weekly schedule that has me asleep before Matt comes home.

Why do I love this show so much? I've tried to explain to people how cool it is, and am not making much headway. You really have to see it for yourself. Go rent season one. In the meantime, I've got bullet points. Things I'm happy that are back for the third season.
  • Veronica's intelligence, wit and trust issues
  • Keith's humor and their witty repartee
  • Wallace's great boy-Friday sidekickiness
  • Mac's wit and savvy with the computer stuff.
  • Logan's transformation, as well as hamster sideways glances and somewhat bad acting
  • Weevil.
  • Dick's dickineses
  • Sherriff Lamb's swarminess
  • How much I chuckle when we watch
  • Knowing the pop culture references when Matt doesn't
Only 12 more episodes to go. At this point we will be done by next weekend.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

All I wanted for my birthday was free labor...

All I wanted for my birthday was free labor. I needed help to paint our great room area allllllll the way down the hall and back to the bathroom. It was too much painting for one person, or even two. (Especially because I don't really like to paint) But 9 people who may or may not like to paint but don't mind giving up some time for my birthday present? Easy as pie, it turned out.

This is my magic tree! Jordan got it for me for my birthday. From the package: "Color Buds appear in 1-2 hours. The fun is watching its growing. You will have more fun when you grow the flowers by yourself."

I ignored that last sentence and started my magic tree growing at 9 a.m. so it would be done by 3 p.m. at which time it would be in full "bloom" according to the package. 3 p.m. was also the time the party was scheduled to end.
Of note: Blue tape all along the edges of the kitchen. I taped a bit every night for the last week and then Matt and I finished taping last night. Matt also removed all the light switch covers and electrical outlet covers. My goal was to have all the prep done so people could walk in, grab a paintbrush and start painting.

Tara and Jo, who along with Julie (who doesn't like having her picture taken and successfully avoided me in such a smooth manner that I just realized she isn't in any pictures) were the contingent from my work who came to paint with me.
Mom brought food and a lot of painting supplies. She was very helpful, and manged to be helpful in a way that meant she didn't have to pick up a paintbrush. Good job, mom! You can see that the first coat of paint has gone up on the walls behind her.
Chris and Jan getting the first coat on the kitchen.
The magic tree has begun to bloom. Behind it are the real flowers that Sabrina brought me for my birthday, which Mom helpfully put in a vase after I became overwhelmed with the "what to do with the flowers" equation.
Sabrina combining the eating and the painting of the hall. Sadly, I did not take a picture of the food table. Very sadly, because the food was good. I'll tell you about it. Hummus, Feta, Baba Ganoosh, Pita chips (plain and spicy) a whole lot of chopped vegetables and Olives. Those were my creations. We all were happy to discover how easy it is to make pita chips yourself. Mom brought Greek Meatballs, a Greek rice dish with spinach and the lovely philo cheese triangles which everyone adored.
It turned out we should have had some people start painting in the back of the house and work their way forward, as it got a bit crowded. People did a good job of working around one another as Matt attests. The first coat went on amazingly quickly. We took a break and snacked after less than two hours.
The magic tree after the first coat has been put on.
Ramon painting the worst spot in the whole house. It's about a half inch. He ended up using a q-tip for part of it. Good job Ramon!
Eventually I just climbed up on the refrigerator to get this nook.
If the first coat went on amazingly quickly, the second coat went on at the speed of light. Here is the magic tree after the second coat went on. At this point we are cleaning up and putting away the food because everyone has left and because we are done and it isn't even three o'clock yet.
Matt and Ramon relax with some post-painting video games. The wall behind Matt's head will be painted orange in the near future. Right now it is the original white.
The magic tree in full bloom.
And that, my friends is a great example of how an odious task becomes so much easier when people come to help. Thanks everyone! It was the best communal birthday present ever.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

One down, thirteen to go.

Our house came with blinds. I was pretty excited to discover that, because with the packing and the moving and the changing of addresses etc., trying to figure out what is going to cover your windows is just one more hassle. So the 14 blinds covering our 14 windows were a very welcome thing.

That said, I actually hate blinds. They get all dusty and are hard to clean and they don't keep out as much light as curtains. So I'm on a mission to replace all our blinds with curtains or drapes of some sort. This task will be complete sometime in the next decade, if I'm lucky and if I get my sewing machine fixed.

However, the window in the bathroom was driving me crazy. There it is, below. When it came time to shower, one would have to follow these steps to get the window open and closed:
  • pull up shade
  • undo hook side right
  • undo hook side left
  • crank the crank to open the window
  • pull down shade
  • post shower, pull up shade
  • shade gets caught on left hook, unhook
  • pull shade the rest of the way up
  • crank window closed
  • window won't close because left hook is partially engaged due to shade getting caught
  • unengage hook
  • crank the rest of the way in
  • hook the hooks
  • put down the shade
I'm not really a fan of repetitive movements (for instance, factory work would have me barking mad) and so getting rid of this shade became a bit of a priority.

I had a gift card from Fred Meyer and used it to buy a faux stained glass thing from Artscape. I chose Wisteria. Behind it is the pattern I made to make sure I cut the piece to the right size. It turned out to be more problematic than helpful, as the pattern kept moving all around in the window as I was trying to trace the window size, and it turned out that the width of the Artscape thing was the same width as the window, so I really only had to concentrate on the length.
Having figured that out, I picked where I wanted the upper right hand corner to be, measured the how far it was from the top, made marks all across and then drew a cutting line on the back with a ruler. I cut, measured the 24 inches down from the new top, made the same marks across, and then held up the Artscape to the window to make sure my measurements were spot-on. They were and I cut with confidence.
After that, I just followed the simple instructions. Wet down the window (I had washed it previously) peel the backing off of the Artscape, (Matt helped with this) place it on the window, adjust and then use a credit card to push out all the bubbles. Voila! Done!
It came out really well and I am so happy to avoid the raising and lowering of the shades. Yay Artscape!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Street View

For those of you with ample time on your hands, now Google's Street View of cities has expanded to include Portland. The other day, with time on my hands, I checked out my school, our old apartment, the gaping hole where my old apartment was and our new place. For those of you who know where we live, take a look.

After looking over Portland, I clicked back to the street view to see how my old haunts in Boston have changed. Imagine my surprise to find that Boston does not have a street view option. Neither does Washington D.C. Portland got a street view before DC and Boston. We rock! Then I noticed that Pittsburgh has a street view. Clearly the street view option is driven by something other than population, history, shopping opportunities, or age of the city in question. Not that Pittsburgh (or Portland) doesn't have all those things. But still. Pittsburgh before Boston?