Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Least Tempting Sweepstakes Prize EVER

Came home from work and found this in my mailbox:

I'm up for a trip to just about anywhere... but... Greater Des Moines? For a whole WEEKEND!?

I have to admit, for a town of just over 500,000 it DOES have a pretty impressive skyline. Do YOU live in Iowa, or better still Greater Des Moines? Should I enter?

I love how they've qualified it, "Greater Des Moines." Lest I think I might be entering to win a trip to the outskirts of town. That's adorable.

Des Moines IS home to Adventureland and I do love a theme park!

OK... I'm going to enter... I'm helpless against this addiction. I've hunted high and low and can't even find the "official rules" to this one so I'm not even certain what all the prize includes. Airfare? Meals? Is it a trip for two? I'm assuming hotel accomodations at least are part of the package. I'd give you the link to enter as well, but this one is mail-in only and it has to be postmarked today! So unless you got one of these babies in the mail too, yer out of luck!

See Ya in IOWA!

Monday, February 26, 2007

The bad news is they're gonna cut a hole in my wall.

The good news is it's a wall I haven't painted yet.

Listen to the audio in this clip... the video is pretty boring... basically just the wall above my shitter... but in the audio listen for what sounds like clicking or snapping... you'll have to turn it up a little probably, but if you are in the office and don't want the sound of a toilet flushing coming out of your cubicle, then wait till you get home... it's not that exciting.

You know what might be funny though... if you can conjure up a good Silent But Deadly stinker and THEN play the flushing sound. HA!

OK... enough scatological humor.

First you will hear the flush (it was a fresh bowl btw), then the sound we all are familiar with as the tank fills, and during that time listen close for the clicking. There is a final louder click as the tank reaches capacity and the water stops flowing.

To me it sounds like water is dripping in the wall someplace, but that can't be because there's no wetness anywhere. The plumber (who showed up unannounced at 9 am) says it's "expansion."

Well, sometime this week demolition will begin. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Kroger Generic Sleeping Pills

It's a large dinner party... probably 20 people at a long table. We're dressed casual, but not TOO casual. The table is draped with white linen, the remains of a good meal are being cleared by staff and there are many conversations going on. All fueled by the red wine that formerly took up residence in the only 1/4 filled glasses in front of us. The topics are funny and we all laugh easily.

Suddenly a voice is heard above all the others... someone is singing. It's a good song, relevant to the conversation. Not a popular tune, not something we've heard before. This is spontaneous. It's catchy though and we all seem to know the words. I also know where the lulls are in the verses, and so I begin to fill in the downbeats with semi-spoken dialogue from a different conversation I had been having before the singing broke out. The table is loving it. We are all smiling and tapping our silverware to the beat and then my phone rings.

I carefully reach into my pants pocket. I have a bad habit of hitting the button that answers the phone accidentally while retrieving my cell from my pocket. I can hear the song going on in the background. Someone else has taken up for me in filling in the lulls. Looking down as the phone reveals itself, I can see my fat fingers have, in fact, answered it too soon.

I look up at the table and everyone is gone. The last echoes of the song are still in the air. Then my phone rings again, which is weird because I'd already...

The call was from work. Because of this new work schedule I have resorted to popping a sleeping pill when I get home so I can sleep through some of the day. My boss was calling and woke me up to see if I could come in a little early...

I don't know if it was the Kroger Generic Sleeping Pills (AWESOME sleeping pills by the way, little tiny things that will KNOCK a brother out!) but that was the first time I have EVER had a musical number in a dream. I WISH I could remember the song! It was really good!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Free in February

On the hobby front I did have a decent month...

I won one of the 2nd prizes offered in the "Hit the Road with the Hawks" sweepstakes:

Two tickets to sit in a catered luxury box to watch the Hawks take on the 76ers next month. I can't go, but my good friend and her buddy are going to enjoy them on my behalf.

I was also surprised when a FedEx dude knocked on my door with a package containing this:

I was one of a few Grand Prize winners in the General Mills "Go-Gurt" Nintendo Sweepstakes. Pretty cool. Not sure what is going to become of this. I don't need it and I don't know anyone who does. I think eBay will have a new listing soon.

The big sweeps prize I teased you with a few weeks ago is on the way, but not in the form I imagined. The sponsor is having problems getting their hands on the actual prize, so instead they are shipping me a gift card with which I can purchase my own. It should be here in two weeks... I'll let y'all know what it was/is then.

Not a sweeps win, but a nice surprise none the less from Metrotainment Cafes arrived day before yesterday. I must have filled out a survey or something after dining out because they sent me a $25 gift card for my birthday (still over a month away). Metrotainment Cafes operates several local restaurants in the ATL. Big fan of the "Kinda Fulton, Kinda Cobb" salad" at Joe's on Juniper (Fulton and Cobb are both counties in the Atlanta area)... so that will definitely come in handy!

Last AND least, but oddly enough the one prize of all these I will actually get the most use out of: A coupon for Clorox Disinfecting Wipes valued at as much as $3.49. Apparently I was a winner in the "Clorox Disinfecting Wipes - Open the Door to Clean" game.

So... still waiting on the big one... but not a bad month for free stuff!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Where's Lenore when you need her?

Once upon a midday dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over American Idol TiVo’d the night before,
While I blogged, quietly typing, I wondered when there’d be a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my condo door.
`'Where’s my visitor,' I muttered, `no one’s at my condo door -
They've forgotten my appointment once more.'

Two appointments. Both canceled. I should have known. The only times my appointments actually happen when they are scheduled are when I'm the one running late.

So OK, not a huge deal. Schedules change, things "come up." I understand. Do me a favor though. Before I get up early, before I clean the bathroom, before I arrange to be home... call me and let me know you can't make it. Don't make me call you. I don't want to call you. It's awkward for me, it's awkward for you.

My building manager and I planned on meeting in my unit at 1p to look at some grout/sealant that had been "touched up" around my windows. I don't think they did a good job touching up. Not being a grout/sealant expert, I don't really know though. At 1:30 I called to just check and make sure I had the right time. She was not on the property at all. In fact, she was not planning on being on the property today. Why oh WHY would she agree to a 1p meeting IN MY UNIT (which is in the building) when she wasn't going to be here at all!?

My other appointment was with the plumbing contractor to take a listen to the ticking, a tapping, as of some one gently rapping, rapping in my bathroom wall that occurs when I flush. He was supposed to be here at 1:30p. This one I am blaming on the guy who answered the phone when I called to set up the appointment. The guy who set it up sounded asleep and not particularly interested. When I called today at 2:30 to find out where my plumber dude was, a DIFFERENT guy answered the phone and he had no idea what I was talking about. So that's been rescheduled for, "maybe tomorrow" between 1 and 6p.

So no appointments today.

Quoth the condoblooger, Nevermore.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Behind the wheel again...

...temporarily anyway.

No more low stress, trafficless, zero emissions, gas station free commutes to work for me for a while.

In what may be the biggest load of crap or the biggest backhanded compliment I have ever been given, my boss has changed my schedule to cover for a coworker who is out on extended leave. He says that he's put ME in the shift (as opposed to someone else) because it's an important shift, and he needs someone he can count on working it. If that is true, then it says a lot because I've only been in the department for less than a year... WAY down low on the seniority totem pole. If it's not true and he's just blowing smoke in order to make me feel better about working this crappy shift... well, let's just hope it's true.

At any rate, this new shift means no more MARTA for me for a while. One of the main reasons I bought this new condo was because of it's proximity to mass transit, now it'll be summer at the earliest till I can ride the train again. There may be one or two days here and there when I'll be able to ride the rails, but they'll be few and far between.

On the plus side, I'll be less of an ass since I won't be able to gloat anymore when someone who has just fought an hour of traffic asks me how MY commute was.

February is shaping up to be an interesting month...

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Need to increase 401k contribution.

Work's nuts.

Bills are piling up.

There are weird plumbing sounds in the bathroom when I flush.

There are weird muffled clanging sounds in the brown wall.

There are weird clunking sounds under my car.

Weird sounds are expensive.

Should I have an Oscar party?

Fighting a cold (I think).

Zero percent financing for 90 days is really not much of a grace period.

Laundry needs doing.

New shift next week.

Still need window treatments.

Have not been to the fitness center in a week.

Tax day is LOOMING.

When you gonna get that art project started?

House needs cleaning (bad).

Some sex would be nice.

Is it too late to send Xmas “Thank You” notes?

Told my shrink I would call him soon... 2 months ago.

The Pillsbury Dough Boy poked ME in the belly yesterday.

Bedroom closet needs a system.

Bathroom tile needs sealing.

Closet systems and tile sealant cost money.

The caulking around my windows that they fixed last week doesn't look fixed.

I'm not drinking enough water.

Need new shoes.

When did I become an adult?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Last chance for your "DREAM HOME"

Today: Friday, February 16th 2007 is the LAST DAY that HGTV will be accepting entries for the Home & Garden Television 2007 HGTV Dream Home Giveaway!

Hold on though... this isn't just the last day. No. These, my friends, are the LAST HOURS. Your entries must be in by 5pm Eastern Standard time!

Yes, yes... the taxes, the horror stories, blah blah blah. Go foreclose on someone else's dream house. Party Pooper!

For those of you with a little hope, a lot of luck and no issues about giving away some of your personal information via a form on a website (and I know you are not because we've all given a lot more sensitive information to sites much less reputible than I know I have) here is what just one entry COULD win you:

"The home at Winter Park, Colorado that is featured in HGTV’s "Dream Home" special, plus home furnishings, merchandise, an automobile and $250,000.00 in cash. The home is valued at approximately $2,100,000.00. The home furnishings, merchandise, and the automobile consist of: furniture and accessories (Approximate Retail Value: $125,000.00); a 2007 GMC® Acadia™ (ARV: $45,465.00); and a Doggie Dream Home (ARV: $1,500). Total ARV of Grand Prize is $2,521,965.00."


Here's what you could win if you don't enter at all:

Good Luck!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Taking out the trash

Ted's FINALLY moved the last of a seemingly never ending string of ginormous construction dumpsters from beneath my balcony yesterday!

It was actually kind of neat to see exactly how something that big gets put up on a truck... had always wondered about that process...

So now we have a couple more street parking spaces, and I can stop including, "turn left at the giant dumpster full of construction flotsam" in my directions when telling people how to get here.

We're expecting rain today. Hopefully some of that red Georgia clay and dubious seepage left behind will be washed away.

I know I've mentioned this before... but given the size of that restaurant, I am really surprised at how much GARBAGE it's construction generated. I wish I had counted the number of those dumpsters they've filled in the process of carving that space into my building. It's doubtful that they would have all fit inside the space they were there to support.
I saw this over the weekend. Yes, he was amazing and the movie itself was riveting. It was however a fairly typical "guy in over his head with [the mob] [a multinational corporation] [the government] [a single white female] [skynet]" kind of thriller. Aside from the fact that this guy was a real person the story was pretty familiar. It must have been a pretty compelling film though because I found myself uncontrollably talking to the screen, "What are you THINKING?" "Get OUT of there!" "NO, don't do it!" I didn't get shushed, but I should have.

I almost didn't recognize Special Agent Scully.

Monday, February 12, 2007

February 12 of 12

12 of 12 time again! This one was much more of a challenge than last month's 12 of 12 when I was on vacation. It's a Monday. A work day. Unless you are Ricky Gervais or Steve Carell it can be tough to make "the office" interesting. I was also challenged by my company's notoriety... how much to reveal, how much to keep to myself? My work is a source of pride for me but I still struggle with the anonymity question. Given the subjects of many of this months photos, I think a a lot of you will be able to discern my employer. Not sure how I feel about that. Well, here goes nuthin:

All the following were taken in and around the city of Atlanta, Georgia U.S.A. on Monday, February 12th, 2007:

Getting on the train (that's not me):

Coming up out of the station at work:

Ironically, I have to cross the street so I can get to this pedestrian bridge that allows me to cross over the street I just crossed:

A view from the bridge. For some perspective, take note of the white roof and blue light bar of a police car at the bottom of the photo above. That police car can be seen in the lower right of the photo below parked just in front of the crosswalk I have to ironically cross in order to get to the bridge:

So thirsty after all that walking, plus I want the cap:

Tourists. Every time I get down about my job I remember something a coworker said to me once as he pointed to a tour group watching us from their observation area above the newsroom. He said, "It's pretty cool to have a job where people pay to watch you work." These folks are outside the studio where my first duty of the day awaits. This is their last stop before the gift shop:

First duty. Run robo-cams for the afternoon show (not me again by the way, that's my trainee). The window the group in the photo above is looking through is directly behind this view:

Second duty. Master Control. Sit in front of this thing with many flashing lights and make the commercials play:

Third duty. Another Master Control. Sit in front of this OTHER thing with many flashing lights and make the commercials play on a different channel (not me again, but I had been sitting there just 15 minutes and 39 seconds prior):

Back on the train home:

Feelin artsy as the train crosses over the freeway (that IS me for a change):

Nearly home now... notice that the interior of the elevators in This New Condo are still not done. The shipping/protective quilted blankets still cover the walls:

Finally, the "bonus" picture for February, "Love" taken on my walk from This New Condo to the MARTA station. It's last in this post but was actually the first pic I took today. This is a statue that is out in front of "The Old Courthouse" in my neighborhood's downtown square. From the front you'd see an elderly couple embracing. It's remarkably lifelike, down to her pocketbook sitting on the bench next to her, and his cane in his left hand. Most people see it from the front, but I like this view from behind. As long as bronze lasts, they'll look forward to the next day, together.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Restaurant Review

Restaurants, actually.

Before we get to the courses served last night at Chez Condoblogger (above), lets take a walk downstairs to Ted's where I dined on Friday.

Late last month the folks at Ted's Montana Grill (conveniently located directly below me) invited the residents of my building to enjoy a free meal one night as part of their pre-opening training sessions. It took place during my work hours however so I could not attend. Since then the restaurant has quietly opened for business. For some reason I held onto the card on which the invitation to the training dinner was printed, so Friday afternoon I walked downstairs and very humbly and politely asked if (and if they couldn't I would TOTALLY understand) they would still honor the invite. "Just this once, and don't let it get around the building," was the manager's reply. AWESOME!

When we arrived around 7 the place was PACKED! Lots of families, and LOTS of late 20 somethings still wearing their work clothes at the bar. The host taking names at the door warned us that there MIGHT be a wait of as much as 70 minutes! Instead of waiting we hovered until two seats at the bar opened up and ate there. Dinner was pretty good. P had beercan chicken and I had bison meatloaf (we ordered modestly so as not to take TOO much advantage of their hospitality). We also ordered grilled shrimp on a skewer to start. Interestingly the entrees came out BEFORE the appetizer. Our server/bartender said that they were still working out some of the timing because certain dishes (apparently the two that we ordered) we're ready made and didn't take long to get out. Everything was good. Nothing exceptional or extraordinary, just good. The fact it was FREE probably improved my opinion too!

Overall it was a nice experience. I'm still kind of surprised that even with the restaurant filled and the kitchen running at full steam I don't hear any sound or detect any scents from my downstairs neighbor. I even put my ear to my floor (Ted's celing) and couldn't hear a thing.

I'm told that in the near future Ted's may start offering a "room service" style menu from which they will deliver directly to the residents of my building. Kinda cool!

As for VD dinner in This New Condo... it came out GREAT! We started with a trip to the HUGE International Market nearby. This place is BIG:

We got all the stuff we needed, headed back to This New Condo, opened a big ol bottle of Woodbridge Cab (we ain't fancy) and started to cookin. I have to admit, it was all pretty darn good.

The filets were very good, and the salad was OK, but those roasted potatoes were the best part. I'd also make the parmesan puffs again. They were a big surprise, not very bready, more quichy... which I should have suspected considering the amount of egg in the batter.

The flambéed strawberries over "hot" vanilla ice cream were good... but much like the chef, they weren't very flaming. There were some wisps of fire, but nothing as dramatic as I had hoped. The "hot" ice cream was accomplished by softening some vanilla Haagen Dazs, mixing in some tabasco and then refreezing. Sounds weird and unappetizing, but dudes... SO GOOD! Totally unexpected.

A very romantic evening and a good test run for dinners to come!

Friday, February 9, 2007

VD comes to This New Condo

Due to our conflicting hours, P and I don't spend a lot of time together during the week. This is bad and good. Good because we are both happy with the way things are working out as far as our relationship is concerned. It's monogamous, it's low drama and it gives each of us the "me" time that we both like very much. Bad because we end up trying to cram a weeks worth of life into Saturday and Sunday which can be stressful plus we live across town from each other and we are always trying to work out which place we'll be spending the weekends.

This Saturday/Sunday bottleneck also crates issues when special days (holidays, anniversaries, birthdays) land on non-weekend days. St. Valentine's Day, for example, falls on a Wednesday this year, so we're improvising.

Tomorrow is VD in this new condo! We've decided that my place will be home base for the next few days so that we can give my kitchen it's first REAL workout.

Our mutual gift this year is preparing a fancy dinner together. Part of the fun will be visiting this HUGE International Market near my place to get the ingredients. You can buy anything in there... we like to go just to look at all the weird meat for sale. Here's our fancy menu (and pretend like a really snotty waiter is announcing the prix fixe menu to you in a condescending tone when you read it, maybe just a HINT of your best Prince Charles immitation for flava):

To start we'll be preparing Parmesan Puffs. For our main course we are serving Filet Mignon with a Rich Balsamic Glaze paired with a First Class Bleu Cheese Salad and Roasted Potatoes with Greens. To top it all off we will VERY CAREFULLY plate Strawberries Flambéed in Vodka with Hot Ice Cream.

Told you it was fancy! I’ll TRY to photo-document our efforts and the result.

R.I.P. Vicky Lynn Hogan

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Top Design

If you haven't seen the Wednesday, 2/7 episode of "Top Design" and do not want to know the outcome, don't read anymore.

There is a whole 'nuther blog in me. One in which I tell everyone what to watch on TV and why. I know good TV. I also know crap TV. I watch both, and everything in between. TV has been my career for the past 15+ years (I've been "in" broadcasting since high school). That does not necessarily qualify me as an expert... I know many in my industry who have been doing it longer than me and still think that "Full House" (aka: Mom Died, Lets Have a Party) and "I Love New York" (aka: Mom's HERE Lets Have a Party) are good shows. For the record, they are not. My ability to judge shit from shinola did not come from my job, rather my job is a manifestation of my desire to make more shinola.

OK... so that's my pedigree. Here's the post:

Bravo is home to some of my only "appointment viewing" anymore. Top Chef just ended, and honestly, I don't love that show... and I KNOW this is going to sound naive... but it looks too edited. I KNOW EVERYTHING is too edited... if Top Chef wasn't too edited we'd be watching someone whip egg whites for 15 minutes or sitting through 15 minutes of dough rising. I GET that we have less than 50 minutes to jam 48 or 72 hours or even a whole WEEK into and I accept that those...

Shit... this is warming up to be too big a post.

Here's what I LOGGED ON to say:

TiVo records Top Design for me and I like it. Maybe it's because I am looking for inspiration to cover up the "builder beige" color on the walls in This New Condo, maybe it's because of the high number of "family" members, maybe it's because I have just a tiny crush on Ryan (was his jacket tonight cool or lame?), whatever the reason, I like it.

Tonight John got kicked off. Pissed me off. This guy (and I use the word "guy" loosely) should have gone, at LEAST according to the way the show was edited.

They've totally sold me on this show. That's not easy. I'm SO jaded that the twists and surprises on "Law and Order" I can see coming for miles, even the episodes that are not "Ripped from the Headlines." P constantly accuses me of having seen a show before because I say the next line before the actors have a chance.

Top Design has surprised me... but not in a "oh my gosh!" kind of way, more in a "they lied to me," kind of way. Tonight they built John up as someone to watch and by the end he was gone. I read about him on Towleroad, where I learned that he was going to announce on the show that he is HIV positive. I was pullin for him even before I found that out though. He has this kind of wierd dual energy thing going on. Half daddy half drama queen. Fun to watch because you never knew which side of him would speak next.

I have a feeling that John will be back. Someone will have to drop out and he'll be called in to replace him or her, or there will be SOME twist (like in last season's Project Runway) where booted designers will be back. Though it IS pretty early in the season... usually if you are gone in the first or second show, you are G-O-N-E. That's probably John's case.

I worried the day would come when I would start just posting for post's sake. So far I have been able to keep this blog pretty condo-centric. Top Design at least has SOMETHING to do with my experience as a homeowner in that I am trying to find cool, cheap, creative ways to make my house my home. But this is DANGEROUSLY close to being just a random posting.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

A little...

...wordplay from one of my daily reads.

The only thing we have to fear is...

Turns out I needn't have been so scared of Applying for my Homestead Exemption at City Hall. Was EASY! So easy I did it while stripped down to my Hanes boxer briefs!

Yup. Still a bit sweaty from my 30 minutes in the world class fitness center and dressed in nothing but my unmentionables, I applied for my Homestead Exemption online. I figued I could "cool down" while I visited the county website to see if there were any guidelines for applying: what to bring, how long it takes, which line to stand in, etc. While I was digging around though, I found an online application and 5 minutes later it was done. No fuss, no muss. Even got a form letter emailed to me that said if there were any problems they'd be in touch, otherwise we were good to go!

The interweb is slowly curing my fear of signing stuff, while at the same time feeding my fetish for being inappropriately dressed for important events. OK, the second part is made up, but I'm trying to put suggestive keywords into this post to see how many google hits I can get from people searching for, "stripped," "boxer briefs," "sweaty," "unmentionables," "fetish," and the sexiest of all, "Homestead Exemption!" Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

I don't know if this is standard practice all over the country, but check your county's website. Look for the Tax Commissioner's page and you too may be able to set aside your fear of paperwork and surly city workers. But hurry, the deadline in my county is March 1st.

PostScript: I wonder if there really are horny 80 year old dudes out there googleing "unmentionables" lookin for pictures of ladies dressed in their bloomers.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Tuesday Agenda:

1 - (and this really is the key to the rest of the day going as planned) - GET ASS OUT OF BED!

2 - 30 minutes in world class fitness center.

3 - Walk to City Hall.

3a - stop at local coffee shop for a chai tea latte (so delicious on a cold morning).

3 (con't) - Continue walking to City Hall

4 - Apply for Homestead Exemption.

5 - Walk to local High School

6 - Donate Toy Hydrogen Car to the nice Science Teacher.

7 - Walk home

7a - Chai refill?

8 - Check clock to make sure it's not yet noon.

Monday, February 5, 2007

We didn't have hydrogen cars when I was in High School

The "H-racer" is going to a new home:

Re: Hydrogen "toy" car offer
To: "[Condoblogger]"
From: "[Nice High School Science Teacher Lady]"

Thank you so much for your generous offer, Mr. [Condoblogger]! I would definitely be interested in the Hydrogen car. It would fit perfectly into my environmental science curriculum as we do a unit on conventional and alternative sources of energy, and hydrogen fuel is one of the alternatives we look at.

If it's not too much trouble for you to drop it off, that would be great. Thank you again for the offer!

[Nice High School Science Teacher Lady]

Friday, February 2, 2007

It’s late Friday night and I am on the train home.

There is something wrong with the train which is causing it to stop every few yards. The operator has apologised for the delays... but she needs to take this lame horse out back and put it out of it’s misery.

I apologise for any typos... my Treo doesn’t spell check.

The lady behind me is selling bootlegged DVD’s. She already has Alpha Dog (“the one with that white boy who used to date that girl who got divorced from that other dude...”). She is assuring the guy buying the discs that she watches them to make sure no one’s head is in the way!

I left work early... Feel kind of badabout that... A little.

P is waiting for me at my place. We’ve been “not drinking” during the week. The week is finally over!

Have a good Superbowl Sunday weekend!

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