Monday, March 23, 2009


Sorry for the lack of posts which will continue for the foreseeable future. Scott is going through a tough time at school, involving a bad break up enforced by the girls parents who had the audacity to visit the X's house and make assorted threats if he did not stop seeing her. They've forbid her to even talk to him at school.

Needless to say Scott has been hit hard by this, I had to take him to the Doctor's today because he was having chest pains and trouble breathing. largely anxiety they said...he is miserable and it pains me no end for him to grow up and gain maturity in this manner. He's such a good kid and does not deserve this BS!

anyway there won't be any additional posts until we get this situation stabilized. I'm off to bed for some needed sleep.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

For those that Celebrate it
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Being Italian, and no longer married to my X with her Irish heritage, I do not. But, that does not mean YOU can't! So, head down to your favorite pub, hoist a pint, or two, or even three or more of your favorite green brew, kiss the Blarney Stone, dance a merry jig, listen to some jaunty Irish tunes with some cute Colleen, and ENJOY!

And know this....while you be eatin' corn beef and cabbage for dinner, I will be dining on a perfectly grilled steak this evening!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Saturday: The Rest of the Story

After Danielle left with her friend Bob (Bob is a girl by the way) I worked on the computer for a bit and made an excellent lunch; Shrimp Cocktail with some spicy cocktail sauce and fresh lemon drizzled over the shrimp. I chilled the glass in the freezer for an hour before adding the shrimp. This is what it looked like:

For a tastier large picture click the shrimp above!

Lunch was delicious! The shrimp was fresh and very succulent. The drizzle of freshly squeezed lemon juice over the shrimp made a very nice complement to the spicy cocktail sauce. I was very pleased the shrimp was on sale!

Bad news: I was still hungry!
Good News: There remained enough shrimp for seconds!

I returned the glass to the freezer, did some e-mail to pass the time away, then I made a second cocktail and enjoyed it greatly.

After the morning's wake up from the place looking for the person whose name of many syllables I had no chance in hell of pronouncing Murphy must not have been done with me. Work called around 2:30 - I was glad both kids were out since I ended up having to run into the office, returning around 4 pM. I spent the remainder of the day on the computer, watching TV (Iron Chef America, Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles, and Gary Unmarried to name a few) and then around 8 PM Scott called. His sleep over plans had fallen through and he wanted to know if he and a friend could sleep over here. I said yes, Scott arrived, we watched some TV together then his friend arrived. As they descended downstairs to play I enjoyed a campaign of Left 4 Dead before retiring around 1 AM.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Saturday Morning here in West Michigan

Another Sunny Day in West Michigan! It is gloriously sunny with clear and bright blue skies this morning!

After staying up late on the computer until about 2 AM some automated service called around 8AM, which woke me out of a deep peaceful slumber.....

They were looking for someone whose name of many syllables I had no hope in hell of pronouncing. There was a number you could call if that person did not live where they called. It was a number I had called called again....perhaps for the third or fourth time over a few months.

Unlike the previous calls, where I got someone whose accent was so think you could cut it with a steak knife, I actually got someone who spoke unaccented English! I politely explained to this person how this was not the first time I was called about someone whose name of many syllables I had no hope in hell of pronouncing, and would they please take note that based on the previous owner's residency in this house followed by mine that someone whose name of many syllables I had no hope in hell of pronouncing had not lived here at least for the past 40 years, nor did I ever expect that someone whose name of many syllables I had no hope in hell of pronouncing would ever be living here.

This person said he did not know how my number got back in the system and he would insure that someone whose name of many syllables I had no hope in hell of pronouncing would be sought at my number again.

I countered with I did not know either how my number got back in the system but obviously their company was simply behind the times and was not availing themselves of the latest technology, which was inexpensive, free in many cases in fact, and it would be a boon to a company such as his trying to locate people.

I told him that here in Michigan we had a marvelous invention and perhaps they had it where he was too. It could easily, and in a matter of seconds show that my number was not owned by someone whose name of many syllables I had no hope in hell of pronouncing.

He sounded intrigued so I told him "It's called a phone book." I then went on to inform him that MY easily pronounceable name of very few syllables is shown there, and, as I am in many online systems, if they had heard of the invention called the KOM-PU-TER (I had to sound out the syllables as the poor gentleman sounded very confused when I described the miraculous phone book which was an analog device, how could he possibly know about electronic ones?) he would have found no record of someone whose name of many syllables I had no hope in hell of pronouncing living at my address.

I then, in what my daughter Danielle called my scary quiet voice, informed this person that I had utilized another free on-line service called a reverse look up of their phone number and I knew who they were in spite of their name not showing up on my caller ID. If this happened again, I promised him, I would contact the attorney general and Better Business Bureau of their state and lodge a formal complaint.

I then remembered to thank this person for waking me up on my day off, wished him well, and good luck on his search for someone whose name of many syllables I had no hope in hell of pronouncing, and hung up the phone.

So, in spite of the Miracle of Miracles when Scott when out for his SATs at 7:20 AM he did NOT awaken me, he was quiet as a mouse in fact, Murphy had to have been watching and decided I needed to be up!.

I tell you this tale not to complain, but, I hope as an amusement to you, perhaps it gave you a slight smile or chuckle when you read it.. Perhaps it even brightened your morning a bit.

ANYWAY, it is quiet as Danielle still sleeps and I putter on the CC (How does one putter on a PC you may muse) it is time to end this tale as I prepare for the morning's exercise bike ride.

Friday night

After work I decided to be industrious and I installed the custom order sliding shelf into the bottom left double-doored cabinet of the entertainment system. I'll post pictures later on. I wanted to remove the all-in-one printer device out of sight since it did not go with the home entertainment theater motif. AND the printer is white so it really stands out against my black components.

What a pain the install was. The bottom two brackets, which could easily have had metal between them to held them into place did not, so it was a fun experience particularly with having to work inside the back of the cabinet to get the rear screws in place. Lucky me got it right the first time and now the printer is hidden in the cabinet and slides out for easier access if you want to scan something or replace in cartridges. Now I must decide how to fill the empty shelf!

I picked up Danielle around 5 pM and we stopped at her Mom's and picked up her things, fed the Guinea pigs and gave them water, and then I ordered us dinner from First Wok which we picked up and eat while watching Ugly Betty. We then played Left 4 Dead for almost 3 hours on expert setting until Scott arrived home with the friends around 9 PM. I swear I was twitching when we stopped playing!

Danielle and I watched some TV, she and Scott (Who has SAT's this morning) went to bed around 11, while I stayed up until 2 AM or so on the computer.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Early Morning Music Musings

One of my all time favorite albums is Pink Floyd's Dark side of the Moon, which, incidentally is the third best selling album of all time. This came out in 1973 and I was a sophomore in Glen Ridge High School in New Jersey. I've seen Pink Floyd live twice, attending the Animals and The Wall concerts. I still have the program from The Wall concert. The Animals one, for reasons I will not go into here, was lost the evening of the concert. There is quite the story around that though, but at least one of my children read this blog on occasion. Perhaps I've already said too much.

As usual, I digress from the task at hand which is to blog about my early morning experience! I awoke at 3 AM this day, and after visiting the bathroom could not get back to sleep. After 30 minutes of trying I decided to listen to some quiet music via my MP3 player in the hopes it would relax me enough to fall back to sleep.

While I have listened to this album many times since I lived in my parents house in 1973, it has been many, many years since I listened to it with headphones as I often did while living with my folks. I did this for two reasons, it sounded better (I could afford a decent set of headphones verses a decent set of speakers), and it prevented that shout of "Turn down that damn noise!" from the bottom of the stairs leading up to my room.

On one wall of my room, which was painted a dark blue that was neutral to black light, I had in red black light paint, written the words to the song Time from this album. When the black lights in the room were on at night the letters seemed to just float in the air as the walls reflected none of the black was very cool. Obviously I really like Pink Floyd and have for many years.

Listening this morning I was reminded that you absolutely need the headphones to truly appreciate the nuances of this album! Many studies have been done linking things to memory triggers. Smell, sound, sight, music being sound is a good memory trigger. The fact that I listed with headphones really brought this fact home to me as I had a real experience in this area this morning.

As I was listening to the songs Breathe, Time, and The Great Gig in the Sky, I was anticipating subtle notes, effects, and vocals seconds before they happened. These were ones you had to have the headphones (or ear buds in this case, a good pair of Skull Candy ones) to really pick out.

While I had not heard them probably since living in my parents house over 35 years ago, here I was remembering them before they occurred during this morning's listening.

THEN at one point, in the dark with my eyes closed, I actually felt like I was in the room at my parents house! I could feel the room grow larger.... see, in my minds eye in great detail with my eyes closed the layout of the room, sense the words of Time on the wall. If I reached out with my left hand, instead of hitting the wall in my Michigan bedroom I felt I would have encountered the doorknob to my old bedroom, I almost felt if I opened my eyes I might be back there.

It was quite the moving and enjoyable experience, and after listening to these three songs I was able to go back to sleep where I had a very vivid dream totally unrelated to the music!

Now, remembering this as I type it during lunch, I still feel the power of the experience and wonder....what would have happened if I had opened my eyes while feeling like I was back in my house on Washington Street in Glen Ridge......

Yes, of course I would have seen my tiny bedroom here in Michigan....but it is nice to dream once in awhile, is it not? To be back in the past 30 some years ago, to have my parents both alive again, to once again taste my Mom's home cooking.......ah!

Interesting footnote about my old bedroom, in addition to the words of Time on one wall, one of my friends, Dean Peterson had painted a large flaming Lynyrd Skynyrd (another group I saw live in concert) on one wall. I also had a few very good black light posters. Again in colors that could not be seen by the naked eye in daylight accented of certain areas in the room, such as window trim. On the ceiling, I had stars and such celestial objects painted in black light paint. The color of the ceiling and the stars was such that during the day with regular lighting you did not see them, when the black lights came was amazing. I spent a lot of time on that ceiling and friends often brought friends to see it, it was quite the experience. to come into the room, and have the black lights go on....and the stars come out. Even my parents were amazed by this, though of course my dad had to comment how there had to be a better use of my time......that was my dad!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chris and the Blustery Day

Because of this post's title, I feel I need to define the word blustery. The dictionary defines it as:
Main Entry:
bluster, blustery, blustering
1 : a violent boisterous blowing
: violent commotion
3 : loudly boastful or threatening speech

So, for those of you who do not know I tripped on the basement stairs Sunday night banging my back on the concrete and my back has been unhappy with me ever since. I worked from home Monday and Tuesday and today I decided I had to drag myself into the office because I had a couple of face to face meetings. After hauling myself out of bed and getting ready I headed out the door. I was expecting nothing other than the painful exercise of getting into the Mustang, which is a chore when my back is hurting like this, and then driving to work.

Well, you probably do not know we had wind gusts up to 50 MPH last night! I go into the garage and open up the garage door for the Mustang's bay using the switch on the wall by the door into the house. This is a good thing because many days I use the remote in the car and I would not have seen the the 15 foot long piece of facing from the eaves of the garage had blown off. It was lying right across the garage door opening and would have been flattened if I had just backed out without seeing it, which I would not have from in the car.

The soffit underneath the eave is almost loose, rattling and shaking, and ready to fly into the wind. So, the ladder is needed. I have one of those ladders that is four pieces and locks into different shapes. It is very, very, handy and very, very HEAVY! Of course it is lying flat on the garage floor too...... I drag it outside and tack the soffit up with a couple of nails (I will get some caulk and attach the facing back on when the weather goes above freezing this weekend). The pain while lifting, moving, and climbing the later was just wonderful!

I figure the deed is done, I go through the painful experience of bending to get into the low to the ground Mustang and start backing out. I get to the street and realize something is wrong. Chris ponders about this and then realizes his trash can, which was put out to the curb last night, is nowhere in sight! I look down the street and there at the end of a long trail of garbage is my can about four houses (and one cross street) away! So, I get out of the car which has the keys in it and SLAM the wind blows the door shut and, unknown to me at the time, for whatever reason, the car locks itself which it is not supposed to do with the engine off.

Cursing merrily (or in a blustery fashion?) I limp briskly down the street and collect the can and the bags of garbage, and return them to the curb. I head inside to wash my garbage fouled hands.. I return to the car on the street and happily discover it is locked! I express this in a blustery manner and head back into the house and get my spare keys. Another painful bend and I settle back into the driver's seat and just as I put the car into drive I realize I do not have my wallet! Another painful bending experience, more verbal issuance, back up the driveway, to find the wallet in the house, and then, almost an hour later, drive into work.

So, how was YOUR morning....thus far, at lunch time, the day has been going OK. I just hope when I arrive home that my temporary fix has held the soffit in place......

Weekend Update - The Prime Rib Dinner

As my son Chris pointed out to me via a comment on Facebook, one event I omitted from the weekend (that he took umbrage on) is that I took him and his siblings to dinner at Texas Roadhouse.

Hey! I forgot! I hardly ever see him! He was home four four days I saw him an hour for dinner! I thought it was a dream! I was so happy I figured I must have dreamed it!! My back was hurting so bad when I wrote the post I forgot! Honest! I ran out of gas! I, I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts. IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD. (Who can name the movie the latter part of this quote came from after Honest...?)

Seriously though my son Chris, I do apologize! It was one of the high points of my weekend, and I am sorry I omitted it.

It was a great dinner. The kids were all well behaved, no one said anything nasty, no feelings were hurt, everyone was in a great mood, there was a lot of laughter and such, and it was one of the best dinners I've had with my three kids in a long time. And I did indeed enjoy purchasing $$$ prime rib for all of us....and I still marvel how my kids, thanks to the X, came to expect Prime Rib and take it for granted!

When I grew up we rarely had steak let alone the choice cuts, and I do not ever remember eating it out with my folks. When we had steak t was always the low end Sirloin grade from the Grand Union food store on Bloomfield Avenue in New Jersey and my mom cooked it under the broiler on the stove....ugh! Of course back then it was a treat! That Grand Union that I grew up going to with my Mom, and later on my own for her, became a large liquor store. Useless trivia you want to know for sure!

So, my kids if you are reading, be thankful that you have parents who can provide you with Prime Rib, and, more importantly, that you never went to bed feeling hungry because there was not enough food in the house to go around. When I was growing up we ate Pasta two or three times a week, and things like Macaroni and Cheese and Hamburger Helper. One night a week we had bologna sandwiches or Turkey if it was on sale. Sure, there was the occasional pot roast..once every month or so, but there were other lower cost things like Liver and Onions. Our not liking something was simply not tolerated at all. If you don't eat it, you go to bed hungry. End of story.

I know kids today do not want to hear about how it was in 'olden' times that their parents grew up in, but, I think they have much to be thankful for.

I'd like to think my kids though are aware of these facts, and, while not overly generous with the thanks (I had to fake cough like i was clearing my throat after we exited Texas Roadhouse to get the boys to thank me. Danielle, bless her heart, did so right outside the door. I don't think a thank you is too much to ask, and perhaps some deeper understanding of how rough things could be, particularly in these times of economic instability.

OK, I am climbing down off my soapbox now......

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Random Weekend Thoughts

The past weekend while in the 40's was raining, violently in some cases with very loud thunder.

Danielle had her boyfriend (yes boyfriend!) Jason over....that begs a discussion on the subject of my 14 year old daughter dating.

Evidently her ages definition of dating is someone you spend time with hold hands with but have no other physical contact with, such as hugging, kissing, etc. Sure different from my definition since my X and I would not permit the latter with our daughter only being 14. So, for now she has a boyfriend, who seems very nice and we share some interests in the technology space which is good and playing video games. Danielle has been told that if this progresses any further it will be over......but for now I am content for them to spend time in public places like the mall or in my house or the X's.... As his foster mom will not drive him anywhere on the weekends, I have to transport him him to and from here and the mall and such to his house.

Danielle and I watched The Golden Compass Sunday night when my 17 year old son went to the movies with a 21 year old gal pal......(yes, a 21 year old girl!). I had a bit of a conversation with Scott as to how his girlfriend, who is his age, would feel about this. He said she would be OK with it, I implied he has a lot to learn about women....though she could be one of the rare ones who would be OK with this. I often had issues with the X having lots of male friends at assorted points in our relationship. I pretty much did not worry after we were married.

The kids and I watched a lot of The Critic episodes over the weekend and played Left 4 Dead alone and together.

I spent considerable time making sure all data was moved from my old HTPC to the new one, and I even played some Left 4 Dead on the new PC which sports better graphics than the xbox 360! Whoo Hoo!!

Other than hurting my back tripping on the basement stairs Sunday night when putting kitty to bed, nothing else major went on over the weekend.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Computer Frustration
Why Tech Support SUCKS

Ever Been Frustrated with a Windows Issue?? Read On!

For those who read my post on February 22, 2009, the preceding Friday I built a new Home Theater PC (HTPC). I had two problems, one with memory (fixed and perhaps I'll post a short blurb about that later) and one where the audio coming over the HDMI output of the HTPC was only in Stereo.

This is how I felt after two weeks of trying to fix the issue

And this is why. As I mentioned, the HDMI port on the HTPC was delivering only stereo sound, not Surround Sound, nor would it output DTS or Dolby sound. The card in question with the HDMI port was a VisionTek Radeon HD 4870, a high end 3D graphics card that also has an HD audio processor.). I tried everything. First I went into mega research mode spending many hours and days searching for any problems with the HD 4870 line of cards in the area of audio problems.

Many, many hits were returned providing many threads to chase down. All were around the sound not working at all coming off of the HDMI port, not just it putting out a stereo signal. So far as I could find after two weeks of research was that I, lucky me, was the ONLY person to have this issue! I actually took a lunch break every day at work to search further on this issue....I rarely take lunch breaks (yes, I am strange, what can I say....)

This is about how I felt at this point in time!

I tired different version of the drivers for the video card from VisionTek, different versions of the RealTek driver that goes with the HD audio processor on the video card. Different combos of the two of them! Nothing! Sometimes it was a battle just to get stereo out of the system. I had the motherboard's sound device disabled in the BIOS, I re-enabled it, tried combinations of settings around the RealTek HDMI device and the devices offered by the motherboard. Again, nothing!

I pride myself of being very knowledgeable around computer hardware and the Windows operating system. Sure, there are many people that know more then me, like my friend Mike who humbles me with his expansive knowledge, but there are many more than do not. I was upset because with all my years of computer expertise I could not fix it.

I e-mailed VisionTek, the maker of the little to no help at all from them and it's been a week as of today since they replied to my last message to them answering one of their questions about my problem, plus two subsequent requests for help.

I e-mailed RealTek, the the maker of the HD audio driver...twice, they did not reply to either of my messages.

I posted on 6 technical forums, including one specialized audio/video forum that also had a section for computer audio video.

I posted on Microsoft's own Vista forum. Since the problem was manifesting in Windows as having the Surround Speakers option grayed out in Control panel it was conceivable that it was a Vista issue. Not a single answer from there! Never have I had such a horrible technical support experience in my life!

You did not want to be around me at this point!

I was very close to returning the card, getting a different one that just put video out over the HDMI connection. Since the motherboard of the system has its own surround sound capability I could just run an optical cable to the computer system and plug that into my Sony AV Receiver. But I had researched this with great care before buying the video card. I wanted to have all my devices connected via HDMI cables! I did NOT want to run a separate cable when the HDMI one should be supporting my audio. I did not want to BUY a 20 foot optical cable either for that matter! I wanted the ^%$*!#&!!!!!! board to do what it was advertised to do!!!!

When I installed the new receiver after Christmas I had three devices connected to it and I was using 14 audio/video cables. With the new receiver I have four devices and only four HDMI cables! It is so much less cable clutter, so I made sure when I spec's out the parts for the new computer that I had a card that could do audio/video over HDMI.

ANYWAY....last night I removed all the drivers from the manufacturer of the card and went to the chip set makers site and used their drivers. Typically it is best to use the drivers of whoever made the board so you take advantage of any customizations they may have added. This was an atypical case. Not only did it fix the audio issue (I screamed out YEA! at the top of my lungs scaring the kitty when the blue Dolby DTS indicator lit up on the receiver after the PC was rebooted), but it also increased my graphics score from 15,200 3DMarks to 16,000.

3DMarks are a graphic measurement system devised by a company called Futuremark that makes graphics benchmarking/testing software. Complex animated scenes are rendered in real time and the higher the score the better. My previous Home Theater PC scored around 4.400 3DMarks.

So, as I said quite the atypical case here, with an atypical solution, using the chip set drivers which fixed the audio issues and increased my graphics processing power.

In closing I can't say a single good thing about VisionTek's support group or their business either. In my last message to them seeking help I also copied the sales department and their general information address. Not a peep back from any of them!

To VisionTek, who makes the card, I say YOU OWE ME TWO WEEKS OF MY LIFE BACK!!!!

While I realize RealTek did not make the VisionTek card, it is their HDMI device driver that provides the audio functionality. They could have at least replied to my e-mail which was a plea for help mentioning VisionTwek was unable to help me.

There is no excuse for this in a tech support environment.

I'm disappointed in Microsoft for not answering a question in their forum. Sure, it's a user forum but I know there are Microsoft people there!

I really do thank those few in the other forums that did try to help, and I thank Newegg where I bought the card from for the offer of returning it for another model card. These were the only only bright spots to this tarnished experience!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Look at the date....say it without the year.....command day!

Get it????

Fried Pasta - The Fifth Generation

As I've posted before I remember growing up as a child having pasta with homemade sauce twice a week, and, on the occasions there was leftover pasta, it would get put in a bowl with some sauce, and then sometime later in the week it would be fried in olive oil, garlic, basil, and topped with grated cheese.

This was a very cheap and very tasty meal and I remember one of my parents staying their parents remember getting this served to them when they were growing up. Both my parents are gone but this tradition lives on.

SO, last night I fried up some for Danielle and I, adding in a small amount of meatball, pepperoni, and sausage from the left over sauce and it was awesome. Scott ate lomein from down the street. Sigh! He does not like fried pasta.......I wonder what that mailman was doing around the house on weekends I was supposed to be working.....

Danielle has been eating fried pasta for some time...she is the fifth generation (that I know of) in my family that has enjoyed this simple but delicious meal.

Tonight is pasta, garlic bread, sauce and meat from the batch I made Sunday. It promises to be quite the delicious meal....and somewhat affordable since I got three (maybe four if there is left over pasta tonight....) meals out of it.

Buon Appetito!

Monday, March 02, 2009

A Very Nice Weekend

Sorry for the lack of posts, been tied up with new system working a couple of issues, so that's been taking most of my free time, or playing Left 4 Dead with the kids, or watching TV with them, and frankly how many times do you really want to read about that???

SO, this past weekend.....normally Scott and Danielle would have gone back to their Mom's house Friday evening but she was traveling so I had them until Saturday. We had planned on watching the new Futurama movie Friday night but Scott had plans with his friends. I picked up Danielle at school after video game club and we stopped at Pizza Hut on the way back home. Scott dislikes Pizza Hut but Danielle and really I enjoy their stuffed crust pizza. and had not had it in ages. I ordered the pizza to go as she did not want to eat in. I returned to the car where Danielle was talking on her phone and we got into an amusing back and forth while she was talking. I returned to the interior of Pizza Hut, nabbed our Pizza and we enjoyed it while watching Ugly Betty. We played some Left 4 Dead and then each spent time on our computers. Scott came home around 10:30 and we watched a couple of The Critic episodes off of DVD before retiring.

Saturday after getting up, riding the exercise bike, and doing some house cleaning, I took Danielle to pick up her friend Jason, and we came back to the house. I ordered us lunch from Jimmy John's, and we settled in to watch watch the new Futurama movie Into the Wild Green Yonder. This is the fourth of four direct to DVD movies planned for the series which was canceled awhile back. There are no definite plans for another but fans can check out the link above for some possibilities going forward.

Saturday was my friend Suresh's 40th birthday so I sent an e-card and an Amazon gift Certificate. Turning 40 is a noteworthy occasion! I used to work with Suresh and the X and I were very close with him and his wife Indu.

A phone call from the road told me the X was close to home, and as I knew she had back pain and was tired from traveling, after Danielle and I dropped Jason off I ordered food from China Garden for the three of them, and picked it up on the way to dropping off Danielle at the X's house.

I spent the remainder of the evening with Tails watching TV and working on the new computer. I had not realized how much data and programs I had to transfer. This is a good opportunity to clean house somewhat so the transfer process may take several weeks of my free time.

Sunday I went out at 8:30 after getting up to shop for dinner. I went to Forest Hills Foods and bought what I needed to make homemade spaghetti sauce with sausage, meatballs, and pepperoni, as well as a loaf of Italian bread and the ingredients to make Garlic Butter.

I made the sauce and meatballs and had everything simmering by 1 PM for a planned dinner time of 5 PM. That also allowed about 4 hours for the garlic butter to pickup the flavors from the fresh garlic and spices I used.

Scott showed up around 3 PM wanting to spend some extra time with me and we played Left 4 Dead on expert level and got all the way the the finale. We failed three times and I had to get cleaned up and finish dinner, but we still had an awesome time, yelling and screaming when failed to get to the end of a level by a hairs breadth. It was a lot of fun.

Dinner was awesome! I had tried a radical variation on my meatball recipe and it was great! I think one or two more tweaks and I will have achieved meatball nirvana! After eating and cleanup the X, Danielle, and I watched Meet Dave which was an awesome movie. I was in bed early at 10 PM as I've been trying to get more sleep lately (though I ended up having a very restless nights sleep for some reason.