Intro to Sledding 101

12-31-05_0937.jpg, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

This is my cousin Anne, who, despite having been in the Navy and travelled the world and been and done and seen and whatnot, HAD NEVER BEEN SLEDDING. EVER. She did grow up in TX for the bulk of her life, but no matter, we needed to remedy the situation. On New Year's Eve Day, before Swedish Pancakes III, and before my flight back to NC, we got up, went to Target (#00000000001), bought some sleds, and went to College Park. It had snowed, others had blazed some trails, and we had perfect weather for an hour of sledding. More, better pictures:

Unloading the sleds.

Anne's initial run.

Sledding delight!

Ben has sledding delight too!

Saucer launch!


Hiking back uphill.

Action shot.

Slightly better action shot.



Salsa & ReddiWhip for dinner

Salsa & ReddiWhip for dinner, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.



Kikkomom, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.


Hole., originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

Yup. Really, that's what it says.

Target # 000000001(now a Super)


(not really) - Someone called someone else this morning and said there was a gas leak in someone's apartment. Someone asked a really big favor of someone else and needed someone else to go to someone's apartment because someone was at work and someone else needed to let the gas company in to check out the leak.

"Are you sure it isn't the pilot light?" asked someone else.
"NO. I'm SURE it isn't. It has been smelling like gas for the last day or two." said someone, certainly.
"What about the landlord, doesn't she live there?"
"She doesn't care, I called and left a message. No response." replied someone.

Someone else and Mr. someone else rushed to the apartment. Mr. someone else rushed down the street to secure two cups of coffee and two muffins, one banana nut and one orange cranberry. He returned to the apartment to find Someone else waiting out front. They decided to head around to the back of the building, where they found the gas company van parked and waiting. Someone had told someone else to wait out front.

After the gas company representative locked his keys in his van (oops!) he came upstairs and determined in about 30 seconds that the pilot light on the stove had gone out, relit it, and was on his merry way. While Mr. someone else sat with the windows open and consumed muffins and coffee, Someone else found a note on the fridge from the landlord stating that she would be out of town until the new year, and in case of emergency please call blah blah blah at numbers numbers numbers.

Needless to say, Someone else and Mr. someone else were not pleased. But we'll get over it.


Holly Jolly Christmas

Christmas may have come and gone, but all the food is still here. I'm in Fargo visiting Val and her folks, on my traditional annual "24 hours in Fargo" tour. This is also my farewell tour, since Val's folks are moving to Montana, so I've gotta get some Fargo photos taken on this tour.

The Twin Cities are being rapidly condoized everywhere I look. Every vacant lot, abandoned building, or other space seems to have been consumed by some dense, expensive housing. Weird. Weird to see since I haven't been in town since last year, but also weird in a "who's gonna live there?" kinda way.

Anyway, happy holidays and I hope you're all doing well.



Ikeamom, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.


Dad and the dancing Tompte

Dad and the dancing Tompte, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.


12-23-05_1511.jpg, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

My motorcycle shirt from cafepress.

Dad's office

Dad's office, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

Another airport morning.

12-23-05_0734.jpg, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.


Stripes has a new hat...named Bucky.

On the move before the move

Today is my last day of work at BCE. They must bid adieu to "Utility Typesetter #329". It hasn't been an easy job, and I can't say I'll miss the work itself, but I learned more than I wanted to about the world of thermography and office stationery. I've always liked business cards, and the last few years have been a crash course for me in the most classic format of the medium. Now BCE is doing full-color digital printing, so they'll be able to keep producing cards (among other things) no matter what the future of thermography holds. I'm not just saying this, but I've had some really great coworkers too, and they've made the work bearable.

Tomorrow I fly to MN for the Holidazzle, then one quick, FINAL holiday trip to Fargo, fly back to NC on the NYE, and then we'll be moving to CT in the first half of January.

We have our apartment lined up, and we're thrilled about that. There was a week between viewing the place and having our background checks clear that was a bit frustrating, but now the frustration is focused on the moving companies. It seems there are schemes in place to keep us from relocating for less than $7,000 US, and that is the "discounted" price. Val heard one hopeful epic tale from a coworker of having been moved from L.A. to this area, a coast to coast trip for the bargain price of $850. And that was after being quoted $1,000. It seems the truck went through a weigh station and they realized that they had overestimated the weight of her belongings, so they refunded the difference. We should be so lucky.

Anyway, happy holidays to you all, and look me up if you're in the MSP for the Christmas, in NC for the NYE, and in CT for whatever reason after that.


For me?

For me?, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

Break room!

Break room!, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.


big little weekend

The past 48 hours have witnessed my last shift at Southeastern Camera, the arrival of Val's sister (which was in addition to Val's folks who got here friday), Val's graduation from UNC, post-graduation brunching (not to mention other worthwhile dining & snacking), a call from Middletown (telling us we are the newest tennants on College Street), and a catnip frenzy, brought to us by a newly graduated Dean.

There are more pictures than I care to put on blogger, so I'll let you know when they're on flickr. Here's a preview...

[HERE, I added some sets to flickr, including the catnip.]


Last call @ the Last Resort

Last call @ the Last Resort, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.


Mid-town, CT

Yesterday, after an eeeeeeeeeeeearly morning drive to the airport, we took our 6:30am flight to DC, and then wondered if we'd get to take the next leg to Hartford, CT. The winter weather that had just pummeled the midwest was headed up through New England, and our flight was in danger of cancellation. We took off, but by the time we got to Hartford, we weren't so sure about the landing. After circling and decending, we realized that the "cloud" we were in was actually all the snow and until we were about 50 feet over the runway, you couldn't see anything.

The landing was fine, but the airport wasn't sure where to put us, so we taxied around for a while. We ended up getting in about 45 minutes later than scheduled. We took the shuttle to the rental car and it looked like this outside:

We had to scrape off the rental (Thrifty Rentals, indeed!) and head into the blizzard to drive the 30 miles to Middletown. The freeway was awful, and we never topped 45 mph, but we made it to Middletown a little later than planned. We looked at an apartment right away, and then had lunch at the local historic diner.

Val ordered salmon cakes, and they took a little while, but when they came they looked like this:

This is O'Rourke's Diner where we ate:

AND this is Val's new library:

We met with Val's new boss, and some other folks from the department stopped in to say hello. I got a quick tour of the facilities, and Val and I walked around the library. A view from the top floor of the library, of all the sledding students:

and us looking out the window:

We went from campus and checked into our hotel. We're right downtown on Main St., close to campus and the best of Middletown. The view from our hotel window on Main St.:

Last night we walked to dinner. Today was looking at housing, and hopefully we'll have that all sorted out soon. Tonight we're having dinner at Little Tibet.

And that's the news from Middletown, CT.


It says "BAD 4 U" on his forehead.

Say hello to my little friend!

Morning (and snow!) in DC

Morning (and snow!) in DC, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

Greek Fiesta?

Greek Fiesta?, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.


Mittenpaw II

Nothing more to add to the mittenpaw drama, just a better picture of it. Maybe I'll just call him "Drumstick" while the fur grows back in.

So, to fill y'all in on some details, Cupcakes and I are headed for CT this weekend because we're MOVING to CT in January, as one of us is gainfully employed there now (I'll give you 3 guesses and the first 2 don't count). We're gonna scope the place out, try to arrange lodgings, and generally familiarize ourselves with Middletown, CT and the surrounding area.

It looks like a cool little college town, and I have the addresses of the local record, camera, and toy stores, so I'm not going in blind. There seems to be a fair amount of industry there, including printshops of all shapes and sizes, so ungainly employment for the rest of us shouldn't be a problem.

We'll be there , in between NYC and Boston, and all y'all are welcome to visit, or let us know when you'll be in one of the major metropolisesesses nearby.

Adventure, thy name is VALEX™!




Night out!

Night out!, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

We drove to Raleigh to witness one night of the Seventh Annual Great Cover Up at Kings Barcade. Dean is a big fan, and rightly so. It consists of multiple nights of local bands covering anyone they like in short sets of 4 or 5 songs. This is full-costume, full-on covering. We met Jill and Jamie at Dean's house and headed downtown Raleigh. The line up consisted of the following covers:

Freddie Mercury (One guy with a mustache and a gold lame jacket sitting at a piano quietly fumbling through some songs. Funny, but thankfully a short set.)

Elvis Costello (With double doubles! The first song was a guy in standard young Elvis garb, but they also had a bandmember with the later "Hermit Elvis" look. Very good.)

Three Dog Night (The highlight of the evening. Mustaches, wigs, dashikis, choreography, crowd banter, and, like, 7 or 8 band members.)

The Birthday Party (This was a serious tribute. Seriously.)

Kyuss (Why?)
Anyway, we left after Kyuss took the stage, partly because we didn't understand the name of the band, but mostly because we didn't wanna listen. Overall, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED if you find yourself in the area of Raleigh, NC.


Awwww! Mitten Paw!

Mitten Paw!, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

The sad story goes like this...Val gets job, Alex gets flowers for Val, Bucky eats leaf from flowers (lillies), Alex looks up hazardousness of lillies for cats online...HIGHLY TOXIC...Val, Alex and Bucky go to all-night emergency vet in Durham, Bucky gets 3 different vomit-inducing cocktails, one of which eventually makes him throw up, vet recommends constant fluids for up to 48 hours, Bucky left overnight at vet, picked up first thing in the morning and taken to regular vet, left for day at vet, brought home overnight, brought back to vet for more fluids next day, brought back to vet day after that for bloodwork to make sure kidneys have not failed. Bucky's paw was shaved for his bloodwork samples/fluids, and now it looks like he's wearing a mitten. Now you know the mittenpaw story.