Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Wegmans Obsession

I'm well aware that I'm a pretty big fan of Wegmans, but how much of a fan girl I am became pretty apparent during lunch today with some friends, including a Wegmans employee.

It started when I told Jason (the employee) that I saw him while grocery shopping a couple weeks ago, but he didn't hear me say hi. His girlfriend, a mutual friend, commented that I was the biggest fan she knew of the grocery store. I answered back, "Well it is the number one grocery store in the nation!"

Jason replied, "Yeah, that just came out in.."

"Consumer Reports!" I finished for him.

"That just came out yesterday!" he exclaimed. I blinked, "Well yeah! I get the magazine."

Later on we were discussing some of the recalls the store has had including the wheat bread recall.

"Oh yeah, I remember that now," I recalled.

"Well, you did a story on it for the news," said Leeanne.

"Right, I got to say 'Food You Feel Good About' in my lead sentence," I grinned.

"And then there was the issue with the bromate in the water. Please! You'd have to drink something like 20 bottles of the water every week for 60 years to have any effects!" said Jason.

I nodded in agreement, "Right. I've just been giving our excess recalled water to our plants."

"Maybe it's back on the shelves already," said Matt.

"Nope." I replied.

"Nah, I'm not sure what's going on with it," said Jason.

"Well, I think they need to find a new distributor. They've put out some brand that gets their water from Canada instead." I answered.

Leeanne exclaimed, "He WORKS there and doesn't even know that!"

Yeah. Fan girl I am.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Desire in a Beretta

The end of August has represented not just the changing of seasons, no matter the temperature, but definitive time period of when I left childhood and entered my young adult years.

We idealize our youth to a degree, but some moments remain pure to the instant they were lived. I rode in the back seat behind my friend, Matt, who was driving his mom's red beretta. We were driving down Ridge Road East at night with the windows down. The season had met that point where the nights could no longer hold onto the warmth of the day, and the wind rushing through the window buffeted my face and twisted my long hair into a chunky mess. I dipped my hand out of the window into the heavy, cool air that tugged at me, as if to pull me from the car while "Desire" by U2 jangled at a frenetic volume.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Behind the Wheel

Matt and I have embarked on another first as a married couple. We picked up our "new" car from West Herr Toyota a week ago.

Here's the new member of our family, our 2001 Toyota Corolla:

Matt is besides himself over this car and the awesome warranty that we got with it. I, on the other hand, was more concerned with establishing this car as "our" car. Part of this involves indoctrinating it into our lives. We travel a lot, so a road trip was in order. This was easy because we had to go to Buffalo to buy the car, so a NYS Thruway trip was built in.

The second part was making sure the car became accustomed to our music. I immediately switched on CFNY out of Toronto to give the Corolla its first taste of "modern rock" under our ownership. I then put my iPod on with a carefully chosen list of songs:

The Smiths - Sheila Take A Bow
Coldplay - Talk
The Smiths - Shoplifters Of the World
Morrissey - I Am Hated For Loving
Depeche Mode - Never Let Me Down Again
The Cure - Mint Car
ABC - The Look of Love
Depeche Mode - A Question of Time
The Bravery - An Honest Mistake
Archers of Loaf - Harnessed in Slums
Avril Lavigne - My Happy Ending
Jill Sobule - I Kissed A Girl
ABC - Be Near Me
The Cars - Let's Go
Incubus - Megalomaniac
Cake - The Distance
Cranes - Jewel
The Beastie Boys - Sabotage
Joseph Arthur - Redemption's Son
AC/DC - Shook Me All Night Long
Love Spit Love - Am I Wrong
The Smiths - Sweet and Tender Hooligan
MC Lars - Download This Song

This might seem over the top, but when I got my first car back in July 1997, I made sure the first thing I popped in the cassette desk was a copy of Morrissey's Viva Hate. After that, the first station I programmed was WBER. The first road trip came days after we got the car, when I drove it to the former-Finger Lakes Performing Art Center for the first Lilith Faire. That car is still in our family and has over 185,000 miles. Coincidence? I like to think not!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Do You Speak Canadian? Um... Aye?

I was looking through our local paper when a letter to the editor caught my eye. It was written in response to another letter from a fellow who thinks the children in our country should be taught other languages. Having not seen that other letter, I'm assuming he was saying our children should be fluent in something other than English. The person responding had an interesting idea, but I couldn't get past the sentence I bolded:
To the Readers’ Forum:
I’d like to comment again on Mr. Simon’s commentary
on trying to encourage kids of today to speak
other languages. He states that the European nations
speak two, three or four different languages. I wonder
why. So many different countries/cultures under one
continent about the same size as ours. You wouldn’t
expect a Canadian to speak Canadian here, because
their primary languages are French and English.

Mexico is the same way, with the exception that their
primary language is Spanish. My problem with this
way of thinking is this: If you are going to encourage
speaking different languages, why not encourage kids
to learn sign language or Braille? I may not need to
use French or German in my life as many people
probably aren’t, but did you ever stop to think that
you could lose your sight or ability to hear, things we
take for granted? I don’t think it is fair to learn a language
spoken with the mouth but not one spoken
with any other sense of the body. Kind of discriminatory
is it not?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

There Goes Our Boy...

I just read the sad news on BFLOblog that Rory Fitzpatrick maybe headed to Vancouver.

Shoot, I've never rooted for Vancouver but I guess there's always a time to start. They also have Taylor Pyatt.

I'll keep wearing the jersey of course.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

What's That Song?

When I get a chance to listen to WBER, whether online or in Rochester, I always make note of new songs I've heard that I like so I can download them later to my iPod. Sometimes, the DJ's don't announce the song, or I lose the signal before I can find out the name of the ear-pleasing tune.

Well, thanks to an article in today's Democrat & Chronicle, I now know of a site that will tell me who the sang the song and its name.

I've already checked out the 10am playlist for WBER.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Shattered Moon Alliance (SMA) Con 2006

Two weeks ago, Matt and I took our first long road trip since we got married. This trip was to Madison, Indiana for the EverQuest2 Shattered Moon Alliance Convention. The premise was that the players in that guild would gather for a weekend to meet each other and have a good time. We used the weekend as a longer getaway and a chance to catch up with Matt's long-time friend, and EverQuest buddy, Hector. Here's the day-by-day run down.

Wednesday, July 19th: We left Jamestown at the early hour of 7am and head down I-90. Somewhere in Ohio, the air conditioning became noticably weaker and then practically non-existent. This is not good seeing as how the predicted high temperature in Indiana for the week was 80-plus degrees. Lunch and cooing over babies commenced in Columbus, OH where we saw our friend Karen, Karen's new little girl McKenzie, Kevin, & Mickey. Columbus is a real nice city, but I imagine a lot of that is helped by the fact that it is a university town.

We finally met up with Hector in Carrollton, KY so that we could follow him the rest of the way to Madison. After getting settled at our hotel, we grabbed dinner at Cabana Joe's. Sean Paul's "Temperature" was playing over the loudspeaker, and Hector and I used the moment to sing jibberish with inserts of "OH OH!" We capped the evening off with a walk along the Ohio river waterfront to see where a teenager, high on inhalants, had plowed through a crowd of people during the annual river regatta with his car. Over a dozen people were injured, some seriously.

Thursday, July 20th: After a heart-attack breakfast at the downtown greasy spoon, we strolled the streets of Madison. It's an older city with a lot of structures that have been meticulously restored. I took a lot of pictures of doors and some windows. The city also is decorating pigs for a fundraiser, much like how other cities have decorated horses, cows, buffalos, and lighthouses.

But the real goal of the day was not casual window shopping. It was a hike at Clifty Falls State Park. One neat sight before we even hit the trails was a group of Amish/Mennonite folk who were watching a baseball game played by the younger generation. We started on trail 7, which has the view of Clifty and Little Clifty Falls (to see how far we hiked, look at this map, and then meandered over roots, stairs, and stones to the end of trail 4. Hector failed to mention to us that the trails don't form a circle. When we realized this at the beginning of trail 3, we decided to go up on the road that runs above the trails and make our way back to our car. At this point, I think we might have given up and just laid down in the road from exhaustion if we had not run into two bikini-clad girls in flip flops. They approached us, giggling, and asked "Have you seen a red bug?" Later on, Hector, Matt, and I realized we all thought the same thing, "There's lots of bugs!! Why do they want to know if we've seen a red one??" One of us said quizzically, "Um, no?" The dynamic duo giggled and said, "We went on the tunnel trail and now we can't find where our bug is parked." At that point, we realized they were referring to a car. The girls decided to hike on to the park office, which was quite a distance away. Hector amused us by muttering, "Tee hee! I can't find my bug!" the rest of the way to our car. A shower and change of clothes later, we grabbed a buffet dinner at the Clifty Inn. The food was decent, although my body was more concerned with shoving protein into my mouth. I think I went into auto-consume mode. A drive around the park roads revealed that we had hiked about 6 miles.

Believe it or not, the evening didn't end there. We then went to McQuiston's Malthouse for some beer. I decided to do the 8-beer sampler. If you visit this fine establishment, beware, for the "sampler" glasses are more like half-pints. My favorite was a Reserve Stout from Bluegrass Brewing Co. out of Kentucky. After several beers, we collapsed at the hotel.

Friday, July 21st: I know you're thinking, "They had the whole weekend still??" in terms of stuff to do. Friday, we woke up fairly early and headed to Louisville, KY to pick up Jim & Jenny from the airport. Their flight was on time, and we quickly got their luggage sorted and went to Bob Evan's for brunch. The brunch part happened because we were waiting for a call from another guild player, Fran, on whether she was going to be able to make it. Midway through biscuits, crepes, and sausage gravy, we got the call that Fran's visit was a no-go. Undeterred, we headed back to Madison and the downtown area. The heat and humidity pushed us inside the Visitor's Center, where we watched an tourism video circa early 1980s. After stumbling around some side streets, we ventured back to the Lanier Mansion, where we were met with blessedly cooler conditions and some history.

After the house tour, we got ice cream at Kaleidascoops because it's similar to the Baskin Robbin's model of ice cream stores. I bought some popcorn from a gourmet shop and we walked through an old fashioned ice cream/candy store before we ran to the public restrooms to watch a storm roll through the area. Jim & Jenny hadn't seen a good storm in awhile since they live in the desert air of California. To back-up to the public restroom thing, Madison converted an old gas station into public restrooms that are air conditioned, have a little seating area, water fountains, and some tourism information. It's on one end of the downtown area and was perfect for our little escape from the rain. As the rain and wind picked up, we moved inside to wait it out. A water-logged fellow joined us on the benches inside. Then Hector and Jenny started talking about where they bought their horses. Innocent enough of a conversation until they mentioned how much "plat" some guy had and that he had just a million gold sitting around. The conversation digressed into more EverQuest2 talk until our soaking-wet companion slipped out the side door of the rest area and ran down the street in the pouring rain. It's safe to say that we scared him off.

After the rain settled down enough, we made a break for the car and went back to our hotel which had lost power in the storm. We all cleaned up some and then crammed ourselves into Matt's car for the journey to Belterra Casino for dinner and a little gambling. Dinner was a success for me since I enjoyed steamed crab for the first time. It was a success for Matt in that he doubled his money playing poker.

Saturday, July 22nd: We rose early once again, and squished ourselves into Matt's car for our day trip to Paramount's Kings Island. The goal of the day was lots of roller coasters. I personified the phrase "scream like a little girl" many, many times. Although, apparently I said, "Oh my!" on the Italian Job. Hector picked on me for that a bit. We conquered The Beast twice (see related picture a couple posts below), The Racer twice, Flight of Fury, The Vortex, Top Gun, and Adventure Express. We decided to forgo getting soaked on one of the water rides, and instead shot water guns and people going by on the ride. I'm not sure who had more fun, us or the ride operator who also was setting off water spurts to soak the riders.

One point of amusement was our coffee break at Starbucks. Originally, we were going to see a musical production of The Wizard of Oz in Louisville, but the idea was voted down. We started discussing who would be what character in the play, and Hector said Jim would be a monkey king. Jim retorted, "When monkeys fly out of my ass!!" This caused the woman sitting next to us give him the evil eye, collect her child, and bolt out of the cafe. Jim is a pretty upstanding guy, so this made it even more laughable. Several rides, large amounts of food, and fireworks later we found our way back to the car and stopped at the nearest gas station to buy beer. What? You thought the day was done?? Of course not! We went to Jim & Jenny's room where we soaked our feet in their hot tub, looked at EQ2 screenshots, and had several cold beverages.

Sunday, July 23rd: Unfortunately, this was the last official day of SMA Con 06. We got breakfast at a Big Boy's, where the waitress claimed we couldn't order orange juice because the water was out. This caused much discussion since there was no problem getting coffee and water to drink. It remains a mystery. After fulfilling our food needs, we began the "heritage quest" to find Jim an Indiana hat. Of course we found it at the last place we looked. Hector then led us down the backroads of Indiana where we literally drove through a creek, through a covered bridge, and saw lots of soy and corn. We sadly raced to get Jim & Jenny to the airport, only to receive a call from them 10 minutes later telling us their flight was cancelled. They were able to work it all out and get on a later flight though. Hector, Matt, and I gorged ourselves silly at a Texas Roadhouse (I think) and then made the final trip back to Madison. Hector hung out with us in our room for a little while, talking about the trip and the game, before heading home to get to bed.

Matt and I immediately became depressed that our vacation was ending and went out to JoeyGs for a drink. We were the only ones there on a Sunday night until our bartender from McQuistons showed up and had a drink with us. We took one last cruise along the riverfront and headed back for some much needed sleep at the hotel.

Monday, July 24th: We packed up and got on the road by 10am. I drove the entire way home, entertained by my iPod on shuffle. Our main break was lunch at White Castle on the outskirts of Columbus. Probably the most notable thing other than the fact that we chose our 2nd Wedding Anniversary to drive 8 hours from Indiana to Western New York.

A fine, fine trip. I'm not sure where next year's SMA Con will be but we discussed doing a cruise in two years for the guild. I'd love to meet the other folk in the guild that weren't able to make it for various reasons.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Has Hell Frozen Over?

Last night, Matt and I sat down and "rolled up" a character for me on EverQuest2. We played for a little last night and on my lunch today. I'm at level 5. Anyone who knows me knows what a potential disaster this is!! Guaranteed it's only my first couple of times playing the game, and I'm still on the "isle" where you initially train. I'll have to geek out even more and post a screen shot of my character sometime. Then again, I'm supposed get the pictures up from the EverQuest Guild convention too. Maybe if Matt lets me have the main computer for a couple hours...

Away, Away

We're on a mini-vaca in an area where they're experiencing forest fires (thanks asshole arsonist). It's an area that makes Clift...