Week of July 18, 2004

July 18, 2004 16:10 – 16:10

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Computers are real time vacuums. I bought a new computer this morning, and am still trying to get all my stuff from the old onto the new. And there are still tons of programs I’m going to need to reinstall.

…and I thought a faster computer was going to save me time.

Restaurant Review Time.

Tonight, we ate at El Pollo Gordo, which is a small place in the shopping center just south of the entrance to the Arlington Drive apartments (Mt. Vernon Square Apt., perhaps?). Katie had the chicken gyro. She proclaimed it VMBG (very messy, but good).

The rest of the family had the beef pacamoto, which turned out to be grilled beef over yellow rice (with some corn in it), with grilled onions & tomatoes. Before adding the firey green salsa, it was bland. But, the salsa pepped it up substantially.

We definitely will be going back.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Just got back from seeing Michael Moore’s documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11. For the most part, I found it “fair and balanced,” although I personally didn’t think it hit the gang of four hard enough. I would’ve liked to have seen something about the Pax Americana/American Empire plan cooked up in the early 90s, and now being executed by Bush, et al.

What was especially interesting, however, was as people were leaving, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a post-cinema audience talking as much or as loud. Clearly, Michael Moore stirs people up… hopefully, enough to vote.

Now… if only Kelly would get Ali to go see this movie. Now that would be fun.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

I’m contemplating breaking up with Diana Garmin, who kept me company for much of my recent journey. And, yes. Karen knows about Diana, and she really doesn’t mind her that much. Her main complaint is that with Diana in the car, I sometimes need to be reminded to keep my eyes on the road… if you know what I mean.

She sometimes steered me to a good place to eat or a cheap place to stay overnight. But, other times, she led me on a wild goose chase. One time, she told me there was a Motel 6 in Greeley. I followed her directions, and ended up on a desolate road, miles from town, next to an abandoned mine. She has an odd sense of humor.

Two days later, she did it to me again — sent me to a non-existent address, in search of another Motel 6. Sometimes, her memory is great. Other times, it’s worse than bad. Sometimes, she completely forgets where she’s going, and has to be reminded.

And then there’s Canada. She knows Vancouver and Edmonton. But, she’s completely ignorant about Jasper, Saskatoon, Regina and Winnipeg.

Diana isn’t cheap. She cost me a cool grand, and I can get my money back. So, maybe I’ll do that… dump her, until she’s a bit more mature. Or, maybe see if one of her cousins is any more savvy as a North American travel companion.

So… should I dump Diana? Wait for her to mature? Try one of her cousins? Or, should I keep Diana, even though she’s very high maintenance?

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Restaurant Review

Tonight, we went to Green Olive, which is a new international buffet place on Richmond Highway, just north of the new Safeway that will be opening later this century. That’s approximately across the street from Sheehy Honda, for you folks who don’t know the “South Alexandria” area of Fairfax County.

Service: well, it’s a buffet, so service isn’t really essential. However, the wait staff was prompt and energetic. No complaints.

Food: Good. The quality is on a par with Kings Buffet, although much more extensive. They have lots of seafood dishes, most with an oriental accent, many downright Chinese. Things aren’t nearly as exotic as the Peter Pan Buffet (currently undergoing rebuilding after a bad fire in May or June). But, there’s probably a higher % of things that any given person would actually eat.

Desserts: okay, but the cakes still seem stale to me. I much prefer the dessert offerings at Old Country Buffet, which are more extensive, fresher, and better. Any buffet worth its salt needs to have cherry cheesecake, or at least the raw components so you can fabricate your own.

Extras: they prepare meat on-demand, kind of like at Golden Corral.

Complaints: I wish they’d let you get your own drinks. Not only do I prefer to be able to make my own “special” concoctions, but I like to have refills at a pace I choose. Also, I like to be able to switch to coffee or tea to go with dessert. That’s a lot easier and more timely if you don’t have to ask somebody else to get it.

Also, I’d suggest that the restaurant permanently ban the noisy family that appears to be in the business of cultivating kids who don’t know how to behave in public. As bad as the kids were, the mother was worse, as she kept YELLING at them (having given them names like Seven and Dillon, what the heck can she expect?). [But, I’m betting that a certain dotter of mine comments and tells me that Dillon’s name is really Devon.] However, I don’t think I can fault the restaurant for that family’s faulty child-rearing techniques.

Wow. I get to drive to Annandale three times today! Two trips down, and one to go!

But, that’s okay. I do it for my one & only dotter. But, I will be happy when la dotter obtains her provisional certification to independently manipulate automotive contrivances… which should be soon.

Of course, that means I’ll also get to start worrying on a whole new level.

The word for today is debacle. From dedictionary:

de·ba·cle[dÉ™ bák’l, dÉ™ báak’l]

[note: the box characters above should be upside-down e’s, known to phoneticists as schwas]




chaotic failure: something that becomes a disaster, defeat, or humiliating failure


breakup of river ice: a sudden breakup of river ice in the spring thaw, causing a violent rush of flow water and ice

[Early 19th century. From French , formed from débâcler , literally “to unbar” (used of ice breaking on a river), from, ultimately, Latin bacculus “stick” (source of English bacillus and bacterium).]

Yes. I’d say that that sums it up pretty succinctly.

Back to the Affordability debacle… (Or, should I say back to debacle?)

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

I hate bad data. And computers.

«insert curse word here»

Monday, July 19, 2004

No Eggsplanation

I don’t recall noticing before. However, this morning, as I prepared to make an omelette, I noticed something rather odd on the inside of the egg carton.

Uh… okay.

So, why in the world are these dorks putting jingoistic slogans inside egg cartons? Why put them anywhere, in fact?

By saying “God bless America,” are they in fact saying “God damn the rest of the world”? In terms of wealth and natural resources, isn’t the US already pretty well blessed ahead of just about every place else?

What is this moronic need to keep reciting this little bit of nonsense every few seconds, and now, the apparent need to plaster it on car windshields, the sides of buildings, billboards, and now… eggcartons?

Do these superstitious idiots somehow conceive of an omnipotent being who, for some inexplicable reason, needs to be reminded every few seconds to bless America? For goodness sake… they invented God. Couldn’t they at the same time have invented a God who doesn’t need little reminders plastered on the inside of egg cartons?

Or, are these little postit notes not really intended for their God? Rather, they’re aimed at everybody else. They’re their way of proclaiming: Hey! Look at me! I’m a superstitious patriotic idiot who thinks that this God I’ve created is dumb enough to take sides in war, and to favor an already-rich country above all others.

What a load of crap.

Or maybe, they’re a diversion! The egg farmers are really terrorists! They’re trying to lull Godfearing American Patriots into eating their genetically modified eggs. That’s it! After eating enough of these “special” eggs, Americans will become more pliable, more gullible, and easier to manipulate so they can take over our country! Pretty soon, the terrorists will be in control! And, you’ll know the US is being run by terrorists when we have things like the Patriot Act, an unelected government seizing power after manipulating and tainting election results, and leaders who are bent on bending over backwards to let big business destroy the environment.

Uh… wait…

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Today was a day for tears. First, this morning, we learned that Steven Simpson’s father died. When he told us, with our having been away for three weeks, I thought that perhaps it’d happened while we were gone. Then, later this morning, I learned that it’d just happened overnight, like between 3 and 4 am.

The Simpsons are in the process of packing up to move to Arizona, where Steven will be going to school this fall. His father was diabetic, and the best guess is that he died from heart failure, a frequent complication of diabetes. How very very sad.

Then, after today’s service (a presentation about the economics of Ecuador, exploitation, and eco-responsibility, by Robbie Tinker), there was a light buffet and memorial service for Betty Baran. Betty and her husband, Saul (who died two years ago), were amazing people. Founding members of MVUC, they were active in the civil rights movement. The presentations by family and friends were moving and thoughtful, and brought most of the assembled friends to tears a number of times.

I didn’t know them well. But, knowing what I know now, I wish I had. I need to make more of an effort to get to know the elders of MVUC now, while they’re still with us.

A while back, it occurred to me that we should create a regular feature in MVUC’s newsletters and on the web site, featuring the lives and accomplishments of our founding members (for starters). Three times recently, I’ve learned wonderful things about members… only after they died.

Another weird thing about today… at about 3:30 this morning, a looong empty voice message was left on my cell phone. At the same time, Karen’s cell phone also rang — and she was the recipient of FOUR voice messages. She hasn’t listened to them yet.

Given how few people know our cell numbers, and the fact that they’re unlisted, it’s hard to imagine how/why we’d independently gotten voice messages at nearly the same time. Our numbers are not at all similar, so they couldn’t be “similar” dialing mistakes.

Also at 3:40, while I was trying to get back to sleep, I heard a loud explosion. I turned on the scanner and learned that it was from a car that crashed into a utility pole over on Beacon Hill Road.

So, between 3 and 4 this morning, there were a LOT of very odd vibes going on.

Then… this evening, as I sat down to try to begin to write the affordability report, I (with the eagle eye assistance of Katie) discovered that the data still has lots of problems. I’m not sure how I can write with any confidence. But, with only two weeks, I don’t seem to have any choice.

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