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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I completely forgot!!!

I meant to write a quick blurb to give my highest congratulations to Arial L., Dr. Keats, the actors, and everyone involved for an amazing performance of T.S. Eliot's The Cocktail Party, shown at Christendom on November 16-20, 2005. It was very good, very well done, and very moving. I loved every minute of it! Keep doing what you do, and I'll keep coming back for more!!!

"Cheese, Grommit!!"

My job had a cheese tasting day today, hosted by my awesome boss's sister who is a specialist in wines and cheeses. It was a really interesting event. We were given three kinds of wine: Zinfandel, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon. I started off with the Zinfandel, and after #4, I finished it off, and had a glass of Chardonnay, which lasted me through the other two. I went through the list again, with a bit of Cabernet, and then went back to Chardonnay. The event lasted about two hours, during which socializing occured.

These forms are what Elizabeth gave us to tell us about the cheeses. The italics are what I wrote on the forms.

Cheese #1 -- Sophia
Milk: Goat, pasteurized
Origin: Indiana, USA
Producer: Judy Schad
Description: Similar to chevers found in the Loire Valley, this cheese is marbled with ash, shaped and dried slightly before being placed in a cave to form a wrinkly white rind.
Tasting notes: Dense, wonderfully textured, creamy, light moist paste with a slightly tangy taste.
Pairings: Crisp dry Loire valley Sauvignon Blanc, such as Sancerre.
Your notes: Very smooth cheese. I really enjoyed it with the Zinfandel. And plain. It's good all around.

Cheese #2 -- Coulommiers
Milk: Cow, pasteurized
Origin: Ile de France, FRANCE
Producer: Ferme Jehen de Brie
Description: Brie's little brother (or grandfather) but smaller and thicker. Ripened for 4 weeks with a white penicillin mold.
Tasting notes: Buttery, creamy, mild with a mouth-coating texture.
Pairings: Particularly suited to dry acidic whites or champagne/
Your notes: This one was an awesome one. I'm not a big brie fan, but this was really good. It is good with Zinfandel, but is overpowered by it.

Cheese #3 -- Ossau Iraty
Milk: Sheep, unpasteurized
Origin: Pyrenees, FRANCE
Producer: Herve Mons, affineur
Description: This cheese has been made with the same recipe for hundred of years in the mountain villages of the Basque Country. Made from the milk of the Manech and the Basc-Bernaiser sheep. Best in Fall - Winter as the cheese is produced from the spring milk, making it more floral. It is aged from 3 - 5 months and each wheel is hand turned every three weeks.
Tasting notes: Delicious melt-in-the-mouth texture with lingering hints of hazelnut and lanolin.
Pairings: Wine-friendly cheese particularly good with Chardonnay and Zinfandel.
Your notes: This one was my favorite so far. The hints of flavor add a lot to it for me.

Cheese #4 -- Adrahan
Milk: Cow, unpasteurized
Origin: County Cork, IRELAND
Producer: Mary Burns
Description: Modern, farmhouse, vegetarian, washed-rind cheese. The ridged, brine-washed rind is encrusted with brown, ochre, gray and yellow molds.
Tasting notes: "Smells like a drunken sailor on shore leave". Firm, slightly chalky interior with a distinctive, earthy aroma. Complex flavors with a zesty acidity underscoring the buttery, savory, meaty character.
Pairings: Excellent with Pinot Noir, Rhone Valley blends or California Zinfandel (always great with a pint of stout).
Your notes: I've never eaten a gym sock before. I don't know if I ever will again. Yes, I ate the rind, which I now know you shouldn't do, but I'm terrified to try it again without it... But I did, and without the rind, it is much better...
...although I still don't like it...


Cheese #5 -- Roomano (not a misspelling)
Milk: Cow, pasteurized
Origin: Southern Holland
Description: Similar to aged Gouda and considered the Parmigiano-Reggiano of the Netherlands. Aged for as long as 6 years to produce a deep orange, crunchy, crystalline texture.
Tasting notes: Strong and spicy with sweet, fruity flavor with strong hints of caramel and butterscotch.
Pairings: Bordeaux blends (Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot), California Zinfandel.
Your notes: This one beats out #3, Ossau Iraty. I love Parmesan, and this was Parmesan +2.

Cheese #6 -- Cashel Blue
Milk: Cow, pasteurized
Origin: Tipperary, IRELAND
Producer: Grubb Family
Description: Made with the same recipe ad Roquefort but using cow's milk rather than sheep, giving it a smoother milder creamier, less salty flavor.
Tasting notes: Moist, creamy, semi-soft. Mellow tasting for a blue with a deep sweetness cut by the tangy saltiness of the blue veins.
Pairings: Madeira, tawny port, or Hungarian Takaji
Your notes: I thought this one was strong. It was good, but still strong. I had Chardonnay with it, and it was a good complement. I enjoyed the kick.

So, yeah, there you go. There's my news for the day. Don't you wish you were me?

Monday, November 28, 2005

The weekend (again)

This weekend was pretty slow. On Saturday, I got to Front Royal and sung at Christina L's wedding along with Christine, Lizzie, and Ryan, a polyphonic quartet. After that, I went to confession, then drove to Winchester in hopes of watching a movie that I've been wanting to see for a while, Doom. It wasn't playing, so I drove around for a bit, and then headed back. That evening, there was a party at Guardian Angel Academy, so I went there and hung out for a while. It was fun. I had bought the stuff to make mudslides (an alcoholic beverage, not an activity), so I did that. We went through a lot of the mix, a lot of the ice cream, and a lot of the alcohol. One thing that I noticed is that there were two kinds of people there in this good crowd of people: those used to alcohol and those not used to it. Those used to it told me that the drinks were good, but strong. Those not used to it said that they were good, but needed more alcohol. I thought that I fell into the first category, but when I gave a drink that I thought was really weak to Lizzie and a similar to Michael, I realized that I did not fall into this category, because they took one drink, and their faces told me before their voices did that it was too strong. They finished them up anyway, without complaining too much. ;)

My recipe is much more of an eyeballing thing than a science. Fill a blender with vanilla ice cream. Spread chocolate syrup (or caramel syrup, or both, depending upon what your taste is) all over it. Pour Bailey's Irish Cream, Vodka, and Kahlua in to your taste. Not the standard recipe, but it works quite well. :)

On Sunday, I was going to go to Holy Transfiguration with Ryan, his girl, and Lizzie, but Ryan cancelled because of homework. Michael C. and Sylvia S. were going to join us out there, and we'd make a day/a few hours/whatever of it. Lizzie and I went to Old St. Mary's, and Michael was supposed to get out there after Mass on campus. He couldn't make it, also because of homework. After Mass, Lizzie and I met up with Christine and Bill. We made small plans for later in the day, and then we went back to Front Royal.

I had breakfast with Sylvia, Michael, and Eric P., after which we watched Final Fantasy: Advent Children. It was a fun movie, at least for me. I think that everyone else there enjoyed it...

I picked up Lizzie at about 4:45 to go to Christine's, where we had dinner with her and Carissa, and then played cards. Jonathan D. called me, asking if I knew Lizzie's whereabouts, to which I responded that I did. He set up a sting operation and kidnapped her a couple minutes before we were supposed to leave for the concert. Christine and I drove out there, and found that the kidnappers had delivered her safely, and then we went inside and enjoyed the concert...

Well, the girls did, anyway. The concert was an organ recital by Jacinta W., an excellent organist and fellow graduate of the class of '05. I, however, find organ music very soothing, and I fell asleep rather unintentionally... Sorry, Jacinta...

On the way back, I receive a call from Ken, asking me to check on the internet for a few things. He was in Hagerstown, MD, his oil cap had fallen off, and oil was everywhere but in the engine. I went to a couple auto places in town. Advance Auto Parts was the only one open, and, as Divine Providence would have it, they stocked that particular oil cap. I bought it and a gallon of oil, just in case, and I went back to Christine's and waited.

When Ken showed up, he showed me how they had jury-rigged the car to last. They had taken an oil cap that was too small and filled it out with duct tape. When he got there, the tape felt like it was very close to melting, but it was solid and had not leaked anything. We replaced that with the new oil cap, and took off for home.

All that said, it was a rather slow weekend...

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving

I went to Mike and Maggie's house for Thanksgiving, in a tradition that has been kept since my freshman year. This family knows how to cook, and since they have six kids, I guess that adding one more to the mix isn't too big of a deal...

I spent the night on Wednesday night, and then all day Thursday at their house. After dinner, Mrs. M. told me to take some of the food with me. Only too happy to oblige, I did so.

This family is one of the most fun families that I've ever had the pleasure of knowing and spending time with. They are crazy in a good way. If you know Mike and Maggie well, you can imagine what they are all like together. :)

I left on Friday morning, about 6AM, and got to work about 06:30.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

$$$!

Guess how much that rear vent window is costing me? Almost $200...

And the car is still not legal to drive...

Monday, November 21, 2005

Pictures of my Sentra...


Here's the proof of it... Like I said before, it could have been much worse, but it wasn't.

Oh, in these pictures, the gear is set back into park, because when I got to the car, I opened it up and looked around at all the things that had recently changed. Without thinking, I shifted the car back into park, and looked around at the damage, in most cases, picking up the broken parts and inspecting them.

Yeah, so aside from that...

It was a very good thing that I own a second car, just in case. With the window broken like that it's just an open invitation that says, "Please, STEAL ME!!!" I was able to leave it in quiet little Front Royal and take my other car to work. Fortunately, it fell into place in the Divine Plan that on that particular weekend, I would finish the work that needed to be done on the alternate car, so I could leave this one here, until I had time (and money) to dedicate to working on this one.

If I didn't say it before, God bless that itchy fingered crook. He or she needs it. Very badly. They should also be very glad that I didn't catch them in the act. Of course, so should I... I'd probably be in jail with my soul well on the way to Gehenna for the kind of thing I would have done to them.

There are a few things in this world you don't mess with. The first two need no explanation. If you actually do need further explanation, leave a comment, and I'll lay it out for you. Assuming you can figure out how to leave a comment. But if you can put one and one together to be able to figure out how to leave a comment, you ought to be smart enough to be able to figure out why you don't screw with any of the following things. First and foremost is a man's family. Second, but not of any less importance, a man's woman (girlfriend, fiancée, or betrothed -- if you bring in the U.N. distinctions in here, then you are a freaking moron who needs to be schooled ... and I will gladly volunteer to do it...). Third on the list, of lower priority than the human beings, but right up there, is a man's prized possessions, like his car, or his house, or his tools. And this messed with my car...

Friday, November 18, 2005

It finally happened...

If you are easily offended, you may want to avoid reading this post. I'm very cheesed off and venting in here.

If you are still reading, don't say I didn't warn you.

I've been tempting fate for too long. if you play with fire, you'll get burned. That's what happens when you put a $400 stereo into a 1996 Nissan Sentra...

$400 down the drain. All because some human being decided that what he wanted no one else could have. And I could not own what I decided to purchase with my own hard earned money. What I purchased with my money for myself.

Oh, but Anthony, you're very materialistic. You only care about yourself. Yes, I'm very self-oriented. I bought my car stereo for my personal use. It was used to keep me awake while driving, and to entertain passengers in my car. And now I can't.

Dumb nigger.

Allow me to cite two sources that allow me to use that word and not insult black people.

#1 -- Grab a dictionary off the shelf. Any dictionary. Look up the word. You'll see two definitions. One of them says something along the lines of derogatory word against black people. I am not using it like that. I am using it in the sense that follows. One of the definitions in the dictionary will be "stupid person".

#2 -- Listen to Chris Rock's Niggas vs Black People. Since the world believes that famous people are allowed to create distinctions, then I shall use his distinction here. When I say that word, I mean it in the sense that the person who stole my stereo is a stupid animal. He's not using his head. I take back what I wrote before. He's not a human being. He's a damn animal.

The freaking loser also tried to steal my car. If he didn't, I don't know what the hell he was doing to it. 1. My turn signal is broken. The stick moves, but there is no signal. 2. The ignition is just slightly out of whack, meaning that it does not go into the "locked" position. Which means the car beeps at me when it is off. 3. The shifter is just off center enough that it does not start in "park". It only starts after I shift gears a couple times between "park" and "neutral".

As best as I can figure, here's what happened:

The illegitimate person saw my car and said, "I wonder..." He looked inside, and saw the stereo. He practically peed on himself when he saw it, and then decided that he, and only he, was worthy of it. What's the best way to get in the car? He was probably too stupid to try the handle (it was locked anyway in anticipation of the visit of inbred punks like him), so he decided to break the back triangle window (the vent window) on the back seat, driver's side.

On a side note, I really wish that that glass was not meant to shatter. I wish that it was meant to splinter. Then I would have blood samples and could trace this brute who knows one parent and not the other. Plus, he would have cut his hand or arm wide open, making it rather difficult for him to steal anything. Which would have made me happy, in an very bad way...

I guess him breaking that window was nice and considerate of him, because he could have broken the main window. I appreciated that. But I guess it would have looked pretty bad for him to be driving away in my car with broken glass in it. So he wasn't a complete retard, in spite of what is said about the children of siblings...

Anyway, so he punched or elbowed or whatever through the vent window, reached inside, unlocked the back door, opened it, unlocked the front door, and opened that. He got into the car, and thought, "Gee, I want to steal this car. I've never owned a car as nice as this before. He won't miss it that much. It's not like it doesn't belong to me, because I'm a card carrying commie and believe that nothing can really be claimed as property." But, I'd like to give my Guardian Angel credit for stopping him from stealing my car. He couldn't get it started. He did cause quite a bit of damage on the inside, though. My turn signal is broken, as though he tried to hot-wire it, and he managed to screw up some wiring elsewhere. He then tried to stick a screwdriver (or some equally tough) object into the ignition and turn it. Now, thanks to his efforts, the ignition switch does not sit in the locked position anymore.

But that did not stop this prick, oh no. He would have something of mine. So, he grabbed the shifter, forced it back into second gear (the car is an automatic) without depressing the brake, so now the car's transmission shifter is just out of whack enough that park will actually prevent the car from moving forward, but the reverse lights come on and the car will not start in park. I have to shift it into neutral to get it to start. But if I just shift it normally, it will, more often than not, slip into drive, because, like I said, everything is just a little bit out of whack...

ANYWAY...

After realizing that he couldn't steal my car easily, because, God bless and keep him in his ignorance, he was just dumb enough to not be able to steal the car. But he could stick a screwdriver or a knife behind the panel surrounding my stereo. He did this, and popped it off. No, "popped" sounds too clean. "Ripped" is a much better word. "Snapped" will also work. Well, he tears off the panel, probably in a huge hurry, rips out my hazard lights switch and rear window defrost switch, as well as the protection for the A/C controls. This gives the bastard quick and easy access to my stereo which he gleefully breaks free from the housing, and then splits before he's seen. He at least kindly closed my door.

On Friday morning, I went running out to my car to go to work. It's a beautiful morning, the air is brisk, and it promises to be a great weekend. I go out to my car, which I hadn't driven in two days. At first, I don't notice anything, but as I whip my keys out, I see that there is a large hole in the vent window. The first thing I think of is that someone threw something and it hit my car. Of all the cars to hit, it hits mine. Oh well, no big deal, I can get it fixed...

But I looked in my car, and I didn't see a rock, or a baseball, or anything. I immediately knew that I was blessed to still own a vehicle, but what did they take? MY CD'S. Crud. Oh, wait, most of them are burned. I'll just burn more.

No, my CD's are still there. My sunglasses? Most of them I bought at 7-11. Once again, no big deal. But, no, I still saw most of them.

As my eyes drifted forward, I saw the warped shifter, and random wires hanging out of the dash. No. It can't be... But it was...

After recovering from the shock that I had been robbed for the second time in my life, and going through the usual, "Why me?", I figured I owed Someone thanks for the fact that I still had a car. And that's how Ken found me a minute later -- on my knees, saying a quick prayer for many things: #1, for my soul, because I knew that I was not mad now, but I would be pissed later; #2, in thanksgiving for the fact that I still had a car; and #3, for the thief, who, at the time I prayed did not incur sin from this theft, because it was done from necessity (trying to give the man the benefit of a doubt).

I reported this theft to the apartments. They loaned me the digital camera, and Ken took pictures while I was on the phone with the police. At the invitation of the apartments, I moved my car into a reserved space for the day. I emptied my car of its contents into Ken's car, we went to work, and when we came back, we retransferred everything back to my car, and I went to Front Royal...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

An amazing series of dreams

Well, for me they were amazing. You'll probably be bored to tears by them... ;)

#1
I was driving my new car to the Lilly's house. Now, to everyone who knows the Lillies, everyone knows that you don't have to drive along a steep rugged mountain path lining the coast of a huge body of water to get there. But, in fact, that's what I was doing, and I'm almost certain that my destination has not been misrepresented. Anyway...

Now, the new car is a two-door hatchback, with a manual transmission. The transmission makes it a lot more fun than an automatic, but it's a smaller car than my Sentra, which, also, needless to say, can be a problem for more than two people. Fortunately, it was me and one other person, although I can't remember who.

Anyway, I was on my way along this wide open highway (I'll get there, don't worry) in front of a long line of cars. For some reason, they are all tailgating me, flashing their lights, in an attempt to tell me to hurry up. Well, I'm already doing about 10-15 over the speed limit on this wide-open highway in a wide-open country. They could have passed me but they didn't. Well, A few short miles zip by, and I suddenly find myself decelerating, much to the dismay of everyone behind me, because up ahead...

...the road suddenly becomes a one-lane, one-way-at-a-time road, that is twisted, going sharply uphill, and along a very jagged mountainside. (See?) Now, I said that I decelerated. That's true. I took my foot off the gas, and shifted the car into neutral, so that I would slow down at a much more gradual rate. Everyone else braked hard and started approaching this turn with a lot more caution than I. I zipped along the winding path (car still in neutral) until it really started ascending, at which point, gravity slowed the forward motion of my car. I saw a speed limit sign: it read 2 1/2 MPH. That's right, 2.5, 5/2, 10/4, take it how you will, two-and-one-half miles per hour. Well, I was easily speeding, but gravity was helping slow me down.

And then something blew out the window. I don't remember exactly what it was, but it was something like my hat. (For the sake of continuing the dream, I will say it was my hat.) By now, the car had lost all forward momentum, and had even begun drifting backwards. Well, I let it drift for a little bit, then applied the brakes, stopping right next to where the hat was. Unfortunately, it wasn't right there on the road, it was out a little ways. There was no room to actually get out of my car, but I could open the door and lean wa-a-a-a-ay out ... over the sharp drop ... and sharp rocks ... and deep body of water way below extending as far as the eye can see...

Well, I just barely got my hat in my left hand (my right hand was holding onto the door as an anchor for myself in this endeavor) when I woke up...

It was 3AM, I had been asleep since 10PM, and I needed a drink of water...

When I went back to bed, this is when the better dream occurred:

#2 (I think anyone who reads this one will get the idea of where this dream came from...)

It started out really weird. I was in a dark place, carrying this huge thing on a pole. I didn't know what I was doing or where I was going, but I knew that I absolutely could not put down this pole. I didn't even know what was on top of it, but it was heavy. There was some reason for me to be going fast -- it was like there was something or someone chasing me.

Anyway, I duck in and out of tunnels, stumble in the darkness and recover, all the time seeing this extremely faint light in front of me, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. In spite of however many turns I took, it was always the right one, or if it was wrong, I somehow always got back to the path.

I finally arrived at the light. I set down the pole upright and exhausted. I leaned the top-heavy pole against the wall in a corner. I took a breather, and that's when I noticed what looked like a ticket booth off to the side. I wondered if this is where I was taking this heavy object.

I walked over to the booth, and asked the person manning it, "Excuse me, is this the place where I'm supposed to be delivering this ... pole?" The person turned and looked at me. A few lights went on in the booth, and I could see it was a woman. She looked at me with some confusion, and asked me, "Delivering?" I told her that I didn't know what the pole was for, but that I was delivering it. If it was for me, why was I so worried about getting it to a destination in time?

The lady smiled at me, and told me to step outside. Something in me told me not to, that I wouldn't like what was out there, and that I would rather stay in the darkness-- after all it was bright out there. But her voice told me that everything was all right, and that I had nothing to fear. I turned in the direction of the light. She called me back. She said, "Don't forget that." And when she said those words, more light from outside shone inside, and I looked at what she was pointing at. The pole that I was carrying had a beautiful crucifix on top.

(Pause -- ok, you all know what a processional cross looks like. Picture that. Ok -- resume.)

The pole was a dark wood material, and the cross was much wider than the pole. The pole was about eight feet tall, maybe two inches diameter. The cross was about five inches wide and two inches thick. The cross was about two feet tall, and a foot wide. The wood was lighter in color than the rest of the pole. The corpus was silver. There were decorations on it, but I can't remember what they were.

Ashamed of my previous thoughts about "the pole", I hoisted the cross on high and proceeded to exit the cave. I was proud to be marching under such a standard.

And then I saw it -- one of the most magnificent sights that any Catholic would ever hope to see on the day of his judgment. I saw a magnificently huge army standing in perfect formation, all bearing their own standards, their own crucifixes.

Freeze -- picture the default Windows XP background: the green, rolling hills underneath a blue sky. Very peaceful. Now, picture that, but lusher, greener, bigger hills, valleys, mountains, stretching as far as the eye can see. More natural than anything you could ever see on a computer. The grass is soft and a couple inches tall. Flowers are shooting up everywhere. The sky is bluer than you've ever seen it. "Oh, no," you say, "I've seen the sky so blue, and the grass so green that..." Blah, blah, blah. Trust me -- you've never seen a sky like this before. Play.

All my family, relatives, friends, and neighbors there. (Not that I'm going to account for all of you reading this.) As well, there is an army (army is an understatement) of legions (still an understatement) of people all waiting to march. I walk out proudly bearing my cross, and I see that everyone has their own, perfectly unique to them. One I saw up ahead, but I couldn't place who the owner was, had a pole six feet tall, with what looked like a 4'x2' crucifix mounted on it. Now, that was bulky, but simply magificent. There were some crucifixes that were gold, some of silver, some of wood. There were tiny crucifixes mounted on top of extremely tall poles, etc. As I approached this body of people, I saw an opening next to Josh K. and in front of Ken F. The position would have put me between Ida F. and Josh. I took up the empty slot and Ida suddenly left and ran forward. I assume that she was commanding this particular regiment.

I woke up shortly after this. It was Ken asking me if I wanted to get up then...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Draper's birthday

I forgot something, but since that last one was long enough...

To fulfill a request, I will write about my contribution to Draper's birthday party. On Saturday, Andy C. and I wrestled for the entertainment of Draper W., whose birthday was on Saturday. His party was Saturday night in the crypt.

Andy reminded me there that I still owed him a wrestling match, because he wouldn't audition for the schola unless I beat him. Well, having been in the schola for three-and-a-half years of my Christendom career, I knew that his older brother, Tom, was a very good asset, and Andy seemed like a good asset himself, so it was worth it to wrestle him. Besides, I beat Tom easily enough...

For the record, Andy is bigger than Tom. He's much more solid and much more physical. Tom beat me in Indian wrestling fairly often, being quite flexible. But this was a real wrestling match. When I wrestled Tom, I basically picked him, turned him over, and put him on his shoulders. There wasn't much her could do. He compared me to wrestling a refrigerator. The first time I wrestled Andy, my asthma kicked in, and I had to stop. This time, however, my asthma was fine...

Well, Andy and I gave Draper his birthday present, a group hug. I don't know if it was necessarily a desired present, but he got it anyway. :)

...And, just to rub it in, I have him a couple more group hugs. Was that evil of me? Probably...

We discussed the option of wrestling inside (we were in the chapel crypt -- not only was it beneath the chapel, so that was bad form, but the ground underneath us was concrete covered by carpet) or wrestling outside on the grass. We decided that the weather outside was nice enough, so we went outside. I kind of hoped to go outside and not have too many people follow us, because I really didn't care to have all these people know just how out of shape I really am. So, Andy and I go outside...

...and the rest of the room troops out behind us, led by (I think) a freshman, Andrew T, followed closely by Draper. Andy C. suggested that we do the gladiatorial salute. I didn't know it, but I told him that I'd follow along. It was in Latin, so I just pretended to understand what was said. After he got done with the line, "Morituri te salutamus!" ("We who are about to die, salute you!"), I shouted, in typical fashion, a line that didn't follow, and barely made sense in the context: "Heil, Hitler!" It was dumb, I know...

Anyway, Andy and I shook hands and squared off. If I remember correctly, we both tried to intimidate the other, but it wasn't working. Somehow or another, we started grappling, and I twisted and threw Andy. He wasn't to be bested, so he yanked at my leg, but I didn't go down. Similar to Tom, I managed to get his legs up in the air and his shoulders pinned. It didn't work, because Andy kept moving. I threw down his legs, and he got up quickly, and we started squaring off again. He grappled more, pushed each other around, etc. I was trying to tire him out to make an easy pin. It worked for a while, but Andy was not easily tired out.

The match continued with a lot more grappling, a few more throws, and Andy jumping on my back and imitating Gollum. When I heard Andy do Gollum that well, I had to stop moving and just laugh. But when I regain myself, I adjusted my position, and threw Andy off my back. After that, I pounced on him, to try to pin him. Everyone knows that I can't pin, so it failed again. He was getting tired, and so was I. We eventually slowed down to a couple holds.

I starting trying to get him to give up. I tried first to wrap my arms around his chest and just make it difficult for him to breathe. Didn't work. Well, eventually, I got him down, and then I clamped on to his back towards his left side and wouldn't let go. He was on the ground trying to get me off, and a few people suggested that he just roll over on top of me, because then I would be pinned. The way I was holding him though made it difficult, although definitely not impossible though. I had my legs wrapped around his stomach area and my arms wrapped around his shoulders/neck, in a proper headlock. At least I think that's how I got him. That's how I meant to get him...

Anyway, so if you imagine those two holds tightening down, and then the holds separating from each other, essentially stretching his torso, you can imagine what he was in. He eventually gave up, and said that he would audition for schola. Score one for me.

I was so tired out after this match that I had to sit down for a couple minutes. During this time, Andy C. wrestled Andrew T. Another tough match for Andy C. But the man is indomitable...

His family spirit leaves nothing to be desired...

Weekend events

Well, this is a bit late, but hey, I've been late before. Who knows? This may be the last time! (Was that a penguin I just saw? In Virginia? Hmm... I doubt things have so changed...)

In case my little parenthetical wasn't obvious enough, no, this being late will probably not be the last time... :) Oh, it's good to be me, where no one expects much of me, because I'm always late.

Anyway, as to the events of the weekend:

On Friday, I got off work at about 21:30 (9:30 PM, to all of you normal people). Ken and I drove back, and I had planned to go straight to Front Royal, but I didn't. I stuck around in Herndon.

Saturday morning, I went to Front Royal, but there was no choir practice, so I spent a good part of my day looking for car parts.

In the evening, it was St. Cecilia's Night, and at brunch, Michael C. had asked me if I had wanted to sing O Virgin Pure, by St. Nectarios of Aegina, arranged in four part harmony, as sung by Syrian Catholics. We were going to sing it in a similar arrangement that we had sung it a couple months prior around a Sunday brunch table. I felt a bit weird doing this, since I was an alumnus, but I agreed to do it anyway. We practiced it a few times, tried switching around the positions, but we finally ended up with me on the cantor line, Lizzie on alto, Michael on tenor, and Paul E. on bass. After running through the piece a couple times, and messing up in a couple places, we figured out that, among other things, the song was, unfortunately, too long. We were supposed to have up to five minutes. After two verses, we were at about 3.5 minutes, and the whole thing was four verses long. We decided to cut out the second verse.

At second to the last performance, we were right between a rendition of La Bamba on two harps (which, FYI, was awesome). We got up there, and just started going. Everything went flawlessly, and the audience loved us. They loved us so much that we go a standing ovation, and people started lining up for autographs and smooches...

And then reality strikes. I messed up the words on a couple lines. My voice felt shaky, and I was nervous all throughout the first verse. By the second verse (which was actually the third verse, because we didn't sing the actual second verse), I was much calmer -- too calm in fact. I just sang the words as I knew them, and then all of a sudden, it hit that I was singing the wrong line. It seemed to me like the world ground to a stop for a split second, and all eyes were glued on me as I was messing up one of the most beautiful hymns to Our Lady. I am positive that the rest of the choir all looked at me like I had gone insane, each with the look of anger, thinking, "WHY did we let him in on this?!", and then proceeding to look at each other, with a feelings of disgust and disdain towards the worst cantor of all times, saying, "Anyone else would have been so much better than him!"

And time snapped forward again back to regular time. While my conscious mind was imagining all these horrible things, my subconscious mind had gotten my voice, mouth, and eyes back on the correct line, and we continued, as far as I could tell, without skipping a beat.

The audience liked it. It turned out better than I had originally thought.

On Sunday, Mass at 10AM was as usual, with choir and schola practice before. I planned to go to Old St. Mary's in D.C. for their Tridentine Solemn High Mass. So, at about 13:30 (1:30 PM), I stopped playing cards with Dane, Kyle, and two freshmen, and went to Blessed Margaret to see if Lizzie wanted to go. She did, but in the couple minutes that it took her to put her stuff away, ken came up and gave me his cell phone with Kelly on the other end. We talked for at least twenty minutes, and then I had to say goodbye and go.

The drive out to D.C. was entertaining, because Lizzie revealed to me that I had fallen for a running gag, and I had not even seen it. This is something I fancied myself too good to fall for, but there it was...

Anyway, I had joined the schola there at Old St. Mary's a couple months prior, and this was my first tome to be there. I think it went well. I messed up a few times, but, everyone else was able to cover for me. This is good, because for once I wasn't one of the louder voices. Lizzie confirmed this for me: she said that usually when I'm singing with a choir, you can tell I'm there because of a certain thing in my voice (I'm going to call it an annoying sound), but everyone else there was easily as loud as I was, and had better voices, so the annoying sound of my voice was quenched.

After this, I drove Christine, Bill, and Lizzie to Bill's house, where there was an after-Mass celebration, as usual on the second Sundays. There were a LOT of girls over there, and a number of them were married with kids, so the unmarried ones spent a lot of time with the married ones, talking girl stuff. Bill and I decided to not join in this line of conversation, and went outside and worked on his car. He had to change the spark plugs in it, so I did a little to help him out. His car purred like it was supposed to when we were done with it. By this point, Lizzie and Christine had found us, and had gone over to the trampoline. We went inside, washed up, and went back outside. I found Lizzie on the trampoline, Bill, Christine, and another gentlemen whose name I've forgotten next to it, talking. Lizzie gets finished shortly thereafter, and it's suddenly "my turn." Pretending to not be too enthralled, I hop on and bounce around for a couple minutes, feeling like a kid again. I get a call from the ground, "Boring! Do something fun!" So I attempted a flip.

Now, I was fully expecting to land on my head or my neck on the trampoline. So I jumped up high, tucked myself up very tightly to minimize the shock, and flipped. Unfortunately, I propelled myself forward, too. I went all the way over, which I've never done before, my hand hit the edge of the trampoline as I went off it, and my head hit the ground rather directly. But because I was tucked and holding the position as hard as I was, I felt the impact, but there was hardly any movement. I hopped right back up, more excited that I had actually flipped all the way over, and got back on, forgetting about the fact that in the process of going over, I went too far over, and had practically crushed my skull. The few spectators worried that I had a concussion (because I hit the ground and left a large dent), and they warned me in much louder tones and much more repeatedly that I should NOT try that again. Understanding this very simple logic, and keeping my guy pride in a kind of check, I sat on the trampoline for a minute just to make sure that I was ok, but then bounced around just for the heck of it (doing nothing fancy) for a couple minutes, then called it quits.

Besides, it was dinner time...

Dinner was awesome, as usual. Fletch cooked up chicken fajitas, and they were good! I was hungry, and I had plenty, and there was still more to go around. The day was also Jamie's birthday, so we all sang her happy birthday. She had a cake with candles, and a card. It was nice. :)

After that, Christine drove Lizzie home, and I drove back to the apartment. As I was driving, I got so tired that it was all I could do to stay awake. I made it back without any problems, but suddenly the walk from the car to the apartment (which is about a five minute thing), seemed like it would take forever. I took a catnap in my car (in the parking lot -- how lame is that?) I woke up about thirty minutes later, went back to the apartment, and went right to bed.

On that note... it's getting to be about that time...

Monday, November 14, 2005

A really wierd dream...

Last night, I had a really wierd dream. I can't tell you what it's about. But I will tell you that I was played for a fool. And I woke up feeling quite foolish...

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Evil babies

Oh yeah, one last closing thought...

Do you know what's been running through my mind all day? When I was really young, there was this video that I enjoyed immensely. It was 50 of the greatest cartoons by Warner Brothers, Inc. These were a lot of the great classics: Bug, Daffy, Porky, etc. in classic form.

By no means is Porky my favorite character, but for some reason, there was one cartoon of his that, although I liked it, it was really wierd. The theme of it was that everyone had a specific responsibility in World War II. (I think it was used as a kind of recruiting cartoon, as well as an answer to every child's question: "Why did Daddy have to go away? Why is he fighting people he doesn't know? Why do these people want to kill him?" etc.) While some were out fighting, the rest had to fulfill their duties to our great country to support her troops -- unlike today's unpatriotic citizens who wouldn't defend America if every country in the world was against her, but would instead berate her with the rest of the world. Darn Commies and liberals.

Anyway. Porky was hired to be a babysitter, because the child's father was out fighting, and the mother was working in a local factory. (A sad fact, but anyway...) The mother gave him a book called, "Psychology of Children", or something like that, and told him to use it if junior starts misbehaving. She then left in a hurry before Porky had time to do little aside from stutter. Anyway, the plot thinkens. The child proves to be almost pure evil. The book isn't helping at all. Reverse psychology fails, punishment fails, everything the book recommends fails. In the end, the mother comes back, sees her house a complete mess and asks Porky if he had used the book. Porky, running for his life, screams that he had, but it didn't work. Stop right there. Imagine, for a second those kinds of sleepers that don't have individual feet but instead act like a pillowcase for the lower half, and imagine, also a large baby bonnet on top of a very mean-faced baby. Now imagine that, but running, Road-Runner style, fiendishly wielding a large, gleaming buther's cleaver. OK, allow the picture to resume. The mother tells Porky that he wasn't using it right. She then grabs the kid, plops him over her knee, and spanks him with the book, telling Porky that he wasn't using it right.

Now that that LONG introduction is out of the way, the scene that has been running through my mind all day is this: somehow or another, Porky finally manages to one-up the evil brat towards the end of the sketch. When he does so, the baby is somehow in his baby carriage, wearing a pot for a helmet, but the bonnet frill is standing up in front of the pot. Using cartoon physics, he pops upright in the carriage, and yells, "Of course, you know, this means war!" He pops a cigar into his mouth, lifts his right hand up giving the "V for Victory" or the peace sign, and growls through his cigar, which is clenched firmly in his teeth, "We will fight until Hitler and his evil Nazi gangsters suffer complete, abject and utter defeat." (It's close enough. I forget the exact words, but that's very close.) After that, he pulls a cleaver out of the carriage -- what it's doing in there, I have no idea -- and gives chase. It is that picture of the baby imitating Churchill and saying that line that has been running through my head all day.

Yeah, so...

Just thought you'd like to know more about who you're dealing with, and I'd like to ask one question of you, now that I have your attention:

Why are you still reading this?

...One more day...

So far this week I've worked straight 12 hours shifts. It has been so busy for me this week. So much to do and so little time.

Part of the problem is that I took last Friday off. So I'm still kind of playing catch-up from back then. One would think that it wouldn't require this much of said game, but I had a lot to do. Last Thursday proved to be my big test. I now "own" all of the major competitors in the particular field I'm in, plus a lot of the smaller ones. My immediate coworker, who will be assisting me (well, I will be assisting him -- he's the more experienced of us) in getting everything up to speed is currently so swamped with his own work that he has no free time to dedicate to the cause.

What cause? The "get Anthony out of owning all the RBOC's" cause.

Not that I mind it. I feel very special owning them all. They are the major players in my particular field of research. It's just that they are huge. I own a lot of smaller competitors who are nothing in comparison to these guys. In a way, I feel very honored that my company would trust me, the newest analyst, with this kind of data.

It's one of those things where I feel like a kid who has just been entrusted with his family's security. I'm standing there, accepting a beautifully crafted sword to defend the family (aka, the company) from the Huns (those who would like to see us go down the drain). How do I do this? Not by killing, but by using all the tools provided to make sure that everything I submit is 100% accurate.

Anyway, that was wierd...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The greatest pet

Josh found an awesome picture the other day, and through his example, inspired me to post it as my desktop background. (Click on the picture to enlarge it.)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Basilica?

For all those wondering, I received word from the Basilica today about employment there, and I'm sad to report that it was in the negative. I have mixed feelings about it, but it was the decision of all involved that another person was a better fit than I. Considering how I felt about the liturgical side of it, I'm very relieved to know that my principles will not have to be compromised. But the rest of the job? I would have loved to be a part of it. However, it is not in anyone's best interests to hire a guy who will, self-admittedly, do only half the job that they will ask of him.

I informed my current workplace of this new development, and we are working towards possibly hiring me on full time here. I am continuing my job search, just in case. Why would I do that? Because you never know...

The Schneible Wedding

This weekend was awesome! A large contingent of Virginians traveled to western Ohio for Danny and Michele's wedding. Sarah, Carissa and I rode out there. Sarah rented a car, and she and Carissa took turns chauffeuring me -- I mean, driving.

We left at 6:30AM on Friday morning, arrived at about 2:30-3PM in Versailles, and spent the next couple hours walking around the town, checking out the sights, and just chatting back at the hotel. Dane, Ken and Alaina all showed up in a bit. Ken rushed into the room (in typical Ken style) -- he was supposed to be at the church an hour ago (not in typical Ken style), and was unaware of this until now. We took off to St. Remy in Versailles, about 10 minutes away. The choir then practiced, but the acolytes had, indeed, missed their practice. We had dinner and the choir began to practice.

The choir consisted of 3 basses, 2 tenors (I am honored to say that I was one of them), 4 altos and 2 sopranos. A bit unbalanced, but we sounded good together. After practicing for almost two hours, there was exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and a Holy Hour. After that, we went back to the hotel, and the festivities began. But I was so tired that I crashed within an hour of them started, so I just went to bed.

The wedding was Saturday at 1:30PM. The choir and acolytes arrived at the church at noon to practice. They were married at St. Rose's in Russia, OH. If I had pictures of the church or the wedding, I would post them. It was simply a magnificent church. It proves that not all the beauty has been stripped of the Catholic churches in America -- you just have to travel to find it. I've found few churches of this level of beauty. I was unable to get a good look around the church, but when I walked in, my jaw practically hit the floor. If you've been inside St. Athanasius in Baltimore and liked it, this one is very similar. So glorious.

Danny and Michele got married in the most glorious Latin Novus Ordo nuptial ceremony I've ever seen. The introduction music was unexpected, but so awesome. Scythian played the theme to The Last Of The Mohicans as the entrance music. At first, I questioned the music, why someone would play that, but as the music continued, I understood. I can't explain it, but it fit so very well, and contrary to my first thoughts, it did not diminish from the sacred event at all. It was a perfect choice for these two.

Their reception was held at a golf course not too far away. The food was excellent, the music was excellent, the entire thing was excellent. This was easily one of my favorite weddings to have ever attended.

We left the next morning after Mass. Christine rode back with us. It was a fun trip back. On the way back, when we got to Winchester, we stopped for dinner, and made it back to Front Royal by about 8:30PM.