Taco Subscription

I made myself stay up when I first woke up this morning, because I knew if I went back to sleep I wouldn’t wake up for several more hours. We struggled to get out of bed though, and finally got up when Summer went to work on her laptop. I eventually took a shower, and then we left to meet back up at her house after I picked up some Taco Bell for lunch.

I decided to try the $10 30-day taco subscription, since the Doritos Locos Taco Supreme was on the list of options. I figure I can eat $10 worth of those in a month without any trouble. I didn’t get a taco with the purchase of the pass though, so I’ll have to go through again another time to redeem my first one.

We ate, and then Summer went to the gym after she got her laundry started. I thought I’d play a game or something, but ended up piddling on my phone while intermittently letting the cat in and out of the house repeatedly. She just didn’t want to stay in one place, and I kept obliging her every whim.

When Summer finally got back, we met at Harbor Freight to shop for some deals. I finally got a longer level and a multi-tipped mallet, and she picked up a bunch of stuff for work. I warmed up some leftovers for dinner, and then we laid on the couch for the rest of the evening until bedtime.

Minimum effort!

Fire and Ice and Smoke and Mirrors

We got up this morning and tried not to dawdle too long, because we wanted to smoke some ribs for as long as possible. It was snowing, but we didn’t expect it to snow for as long as it did. I don’t think it ever really stopped all day.

Our first stop was Walmart to pick up what we needed. I got a huge bag of mixed fruit wood pellets, which will last years if I only ever use them in the little A-Maze-N tube smoker I got. Then we had to go to Summer’s to get the ribs and some other things, and finally we headed back to my house to set up the grill with a new tank of propane.

The smoker pellets took better than I expected, even after I dumped them off of the grill while wrestling the propane tank onto its holder. We used some of Summer’s Larry the Cable Guy wild game rub she had stockpiled years ago, which proved to be a mistake. I used way too much, but we wouldn’t know that until we ate them.

The ribs smoked for about three or four hours before I covered them with some old leftover barbecue sauce and wrapped them in foil. Then I let them cook another hour or two while I baked potatoes and made some bacon. Summer made broccoli salad, and then we called it a day instead of making twice-baked potatoes.

It was still snowing big, fat flakes, but the roads were clear enough to get to my parents’ house. We ate and visited for just a little bit, and then headed back home to clean up. We only ate one rack of the ribs, and they were extremely salty. The rub was overpowering, so I couldn’t even really tell that it had a smokey flavor. It may help to eat the next rack with some plain rice to cut the seasoning.

As we settled in for the night, I got Summer to stay up late and watch The Prestige. I’d been wanting to watch it again for quite a while, so I was glad to check it off the list. Summer didn’t feel great for most of the evening, so we wound down pretty quickly and went to bed.

Are you watching closely?

Re-Tired

I slept the worst I had slept all week last night, after waking up around 1:00 and lying awake in bed thinking my alarm was about to go off. When it actually was time to get up, I crawled out of bed super sore, but somehow I didn’t have to fight sleep all day.

We met in the shop and went over new COVID guidelines, which were basically nonexistent, or at the very least ineffective. I think they just accepted that everyone is going to get it super fast, so the primary goal is to keep kids in school no matter what.

After a little while, I went to Oakland to close out some work orders. Then I made it back to the shop just in time to pick everyone up to go to Old South for lunch. We had to wait for Zach and Greg to show up from their TV install, but then lunch was good.

Central Office went home at one, so we shut everything down as well. I hung out for a little while since Tammy didn’t have a ride, but then I had to head to my parents’ house to meet Pat, their retirement fund manager.

Julie didn’t show up because she was still sick, so we just had her on the phone. Pat seemed nice enough, but was mostly just vague in his gesturing that “there was enough money as long as he kept it there.” We did gain some insight, but I don’t think anything really changed. I’m tired of talking about it, but I still want to crunch the numbers ourselves so we can have a glanceable table of what to expect.

After he left, the rest of us had some curry for dinner, and then I headed home to meet up with Summer. I cleaned up most of the mess I made hanging the new track light, and then we watched Cool Runnings until bedtime.

Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme!

Amazing!

I woke up pretty early today after an early new year’s eve. Summer got up and went home to meet up with the girls, who were home a day early from their father’s. Eaddie really wanted to come watch the Andrew Garfield The Amazing Spider-Man movies, so I picked up around the house until they came over with a bucket of chicken for dinner.

Just as we sat down to eat, Doug called from next door with a TV issue that I thought was going to be a de-synced remote again, but this time it seemed the volume on the TV was being constantly turned down. I couldn’t resolve it with a stuck button, so I told them it would just have to be replaced. I’ll have to go pick a new one up for them tomorrow.

I ate, and then we started the first movie. I had forgotten how good the 3D was in those movies, because it was actually properly shot in 3D by someone that actually took advantage of the technology and knew how to use it. We took a dessert break between movies, and then I made some popcorn for the second one. They were both pretty emotional movies that I just adored. I think even with the new MCU version of Spider-Man, Garfield was my favorite of all.

Eaddie and I stayed up a little later watching some YouTube, until she was ready for bed. I had to negotiate some space in the bed for her from Autumn, but they settled in pretty quickly. Summer had long been asleep, so I wrapped things up quietly before bed.

Gotta get back into the swing of things…

WIN█

I got up early this morning after having some trouble sleeping, then ran home to shower. On the way out of town, I stopped by Casey’s for a cookie, and McDonald’s for breakfast. It was a long drive to Bentonville to get Mitch, so I put on The Matrix to listen to the original before we watched Resurrections at noon.

I made it up there with enough time to get a little food, so headed back to Fayetteville and went into the Buffalo Wild Wings right outside the Malco theater. It was exactly how I remembered it in Russellville. So much so, that we had trouble getting out in time to make it to the movie. I didn’t even have time to get through concessions for popcorn.

The theater was really nice. I had been to a movie there once before, but it was a really long time ago. The Dolby theater with reclining seats reminded me a lot of the one we visited in Dallas, but through all of the trailers and bumpers, I couldn’t tell that the height channels were used at all. Even the feature film didn’t have any obvious Atmos sound, which was super disappointing. The movie itself was pretty good though. They could have cut the runtime in half if they hadn’t included all of the clips from the original, but I guess it served to point out every one of the callbacks.

After the movie, we went to Arcadia Retrocade for a little bit. Mitch had never been, and I thought we’d spend some time there and reminisce. He had been struggling with some anxiety all day though, so we ended up playing a few games for just a short bit, and then heading on back to his place.

On the way back, we stopped by Big Whiskey’s for a while. I finally got my soda, and eventually we got some dinner as we chatted away. It was really great getting to catch up some more, and I’m excited he’ll be closer in Conway soon. We stopped by Mac’s liquor store on the way back to his place, and I picked up a stout that he recommended after they didn’t have the Bentonville Brewery flavor I had a sip of at the bar. The lady at the counter was super sweet, which seemed very different from every liquor store I’ve been to before.

After I dropped him back off at his apartment, I looked for the largest Walmart I could find. I ended up at the one across from the main office, but had trouble finding the actual entrance. It was weirdly obfuscated from the road, but I made it. The store was very large, but outside of an empty clearance area that was half the size of ours, and two entire aisles worth of bicycle helmets, there wasn’t a whole lot very special about it. I had to wait in line a while to check out, and then I was on my way home.

The trip back was rough, because for some reason people wanted to park in the leftmost lane the entire way back. After I finally got on I-40, I ended up behind a truck and another slow car trying to pass one another at like 65 miles per hour. Another guy behind me got mad and passed me on the right shoulder, all to cut off the guy in front of me. By the time I got home and cleaned up a bit, I was too tired to lug anything over to Summer’s, so I just went to bed.

Always the plan.

People That Clap at Movies

I kept waking up last night as though I was completely full of water. I couldn’t even really sleep in very late because of it. The girls were already awake, so I got up and picked at some old leftovers. Then when Summer and Autumn went to the gym, I left to clean up.

On the way home, I stopped by Ridgewood Brothers to see if they might be free to see The Matrix Resurrections with Mitch and me next week. It didn’t sound very likely, but I had to try. Gary never responded either, until I called him out on it late in the evening.

When I finished getting ready at home, I went to pick up the girls and we made our way to Conway. They really wanted to eat on our trip, so we went to Red Robin first and had some pretty good burgers. I still don’t really think they’re worth the prices they charge, but at least it’s something a little different.

After lunch, we went to Sam’s Club for a bit, then Target. That place was absolutely packed and it was pretty difficult to get around the place. The checkout line stretched back to the cosmetics, but fortunately we pushed a cart around for absolutely no reason and bought nothing. By then, we didn’t have time to dawdle on the way through traffic to the theater.

The Cinemark was packed as well, with several theaters showing the new Spider-Man: No Way Home. We got snacks, sat down, and then I got up for more popcorn just in time to make it back before the previews. The movie was pretty good, but didn’t really have many surprises after all the rumors and spoilers that have been going around. I enjoyed it, and so did the rest of the room as evidenced by the constant clapping any time a character returned. I was pretty disappointed in the 3D, mostly because of the darkness of the projector. I guess I’ll have to just prioritize the large format screens from now on.

When we got back home, Summer and Autumn went to bed pretty quickly. Eaddie and I stayed up and watched several episodes of House, so we’ve only got three more episodes to go.

Planning with adults is stupid. Families are much easier, because they can’t leave.

Watermelon Sugar Is a Helluva Drug

I got up early this morning and went home to get ready for a day in Little Rock with Summer and Eaddie. Summer dropped Autumn off with her parents since she got in trouble last night, and then Summer had to do some more work setting up the new lube shop on Chenal. We hung out at the shop for just a little bit before meeting a couple of her coworkers at U.S. Pizza Co.

The service was pretty slow, but mostly when we were waiting to pay and leave. The pizza wasn’t bad, but reminded me of a worse Brick Oven. We really didn’t get why the others liked it so much, but at least Splash paid.

Afterward, Eaddie and I dropped Summer off back at the shop and then made our way across town to get the car washed inside and out. There were over half a dozen people standing around outside, so they had us done in mere minutes. I didn’t have a plan as we pulled out, so I ended up turning down a residential street. I’ve never seen so many leaves in my entire life. The entire street had a wall of fallen leaves that were all raked up to the edge of the street. I’m guessing they have street sweepers that come along and suck them up later. It was hilly and leafy and pretty, but much too dense of a neighborhood for me.

Eaddie decided she wanted ice cream, so we went to The Original ScoopDog and sat in the car to eat. Neither of us could finish our treats, so we drove back across town to Summer and let her finish them off. Then she dropped us off at the AMC for Eternals. Eaddie hadn’t seen it, I didn’t mind watching it again, and we needed to kill some time before their concert.

After the movie, we struggled to settle on a place to eat, and were also worried about how much time they had before they needed to be at the Simmons Arena. Chuy’s was out because of a relatively small wait, so we ultimately decided on Wendy’s. Summer found one near the arena, but the lobby wasn’t open, so they ate in the car. Then I dropped them off at the arena for Harry Styles.

The rest of the night was just me killing time. I went by the liquor store where I picked up a habanero whiskey a couple years ago, but unfortunately I couldn’t find it again, and I don’t think they carry it any more. I hung out in the parking lot there for just a few minutes before migrating to McDonald’s.

Again, I brought a bunch of things to keep myself entertained, and used absolutely none of them. I didn’t even use my earbuds because I felt super uncomfortable sitting around in that neighborhood. There were far too many people on foot around there, and every single lobby appeared to be closed. I just played on my phone and drank a bottled mojito until I noticed one of the employees writing down license plate numbers.

I gave her a minute to get back inside and then drove on to a gas station for a bottle of water and restroom break. The restroom was super gross, and of course the only soap was a bar that had fallen into the sink and was stopping up the drain. I tried hanging out in the parking lot there for a bit, but got pretty sketched out when some guy started crawling around on the ground right outside my window. He appeared to be using a crayon or something to draw on the concrete, but then he rolled over onto the ground and started “washing his hands” with leaves that had blown up against the curb. I decided to move on, driving up the road a bit and then coming back to settle into a dark Taco Bell.

Eventually Summer let me know they were almost done with the encore, so I moved further down the street to the Shell station near the onramp to the highway. There was even more foot traffic there, so I didn’t hang out long before going back across the street to the Wendy’s next to the McDonald’s where I started. It wasn’t but a minute after I pulled in that they walked up, so we loaded up and headed home.

I had to stop by my house for a package first, but then we went up to Summer’s for the evening. Autumn was staying the night with her grandparents, and the other two went straight to bed after a long day. I don’t think I’ll do this again.

I really hate the city.

Who Are You Calling?

I woke up pretty early this morning for how late I went to sleep. We just laid around though, until it was time to get ready for the movie. We’ve had plans to see Ghostbusters: Afterlife for about a week, and I invited my parents along as well. As soon as I was cleaned up, I picked up the girls and met my parents at UEC.

The movie was pretty great, though I could see why others felt like it spent too much time pandering to fans of the originals and not enough time on a new storyline. It’s been a while since I’ve seen either of those, so I couldn’t say how it compared in laughs per minute. We were all quite happy with the movie though, and I’m anxious to see if they do anything more with it in the future.

After the movie, we headed back home to meet up with Noah for dinner. Summer made chili and I grilled hot dogs, and we all had a mix of chili dogs or Frito chili pies. Then we played a long round of UNO FLIP until Noah went home. Finally, Eaddie and I wrapped up the night with two more episodes of House.

Four feet above her covers!

Peer Pressure

I was a little bit late to work this morning after rehearsing a big speech about standing up to the man and not being a coward. We didn’t have much of a meeting when I got there though, and in fact we were actually told we wouldn’t really be having those meetings moving forward, unless we have something we need to discuss.

I eventually made my way across the street for our called CPPC meeting, and though it ran a little long, it felt like a really good meeting. Before the meeting, I was concerned about the fact that we were still discovering mistakes only a few hours prior. Once we discussed the intent a little more, and addressed my questions and concerns, I was much more satisfied with what we were doing.

We voted to send the draft to the school board, and I made my way back to the shop just before lunch. Almost all of us went to Western Sizzlin to eat, and then it was a pretty quiet afternoon. I didn’t really get out of my office, and I think that actually made the issue with my contacts worse. I’ll be staying out of them the rest of the weekend.

I worked a little late on the meeting minutes, then went to The UPS Store to return an Amazon order. Then I picked Summer up from work so we could go pick up a white dress shirt for Eaddie’s concert tomorrow.

After dropping Summer off at her car, I went home and started some laundry and watched Shang-Chi to see what it looked like in their advertised “IMAX Enhanced” format. I’ll have to go back and skip through it in the widescreen format to compare later. When Eaddie finally got home from her band trip, I took her home and we went to bed.

I abstain.

Köttbullar

We slept in a little this morning without losing much time, thanks to daylight saving time coming to an end. We went downstairs and loaded up on breakfast, and then cleaned up and packed for the return home. We still had a full day planned though, so it was a slow drive across the city to find an Ikea.

I’ve wanted to go to an Ikea for ages, and we never had a chance to stop the last time I saw one in person in St. Louis. There were two to pick from in the Dallas area, so we went to the one up north. Summer thought I was kidding about meatballs, and the look on her face when she saw the sign at the entrance was worth the drive all by itself.

Having never been, we were really impressed with the showrooms as we wandered through the maze. Some of them looked really incredible, and I could really see us building something entirely out of what they had available. As we finished our way through the upstairs showrooms, we entered into the restaurant where even there, you could get a push cart for your trays full of food. Summer got the regular Swedish meatballs, and I tried the salmon meatballs so we could share. Everything was pretty good, and it was a neat break from shopping.

After all of that, we really had to rush through the downstairs area in order to make our movie on time. I wish we could have spent a bit more time there, because there were actually a couple things we wanted to buy, but we ended up grabbing a couple bottles of fruit juice with mulling spices that totally wasn’t real wine, and running out the door.

The drive back to the AMC wasn’t too bad, but parking was a chore. We finally found a parking garage and briskly walked to the theater just in time to get settled in before the show. The theater was incredible, with countless Dolby speakers on practically every surface. As the previews came on, they barely scratched the surface of the experience. The seat shakers felt natural, and brought an additional layer of depth that I loved. I just wished the movie had lent itself more to that kind of theater.

I enjoyed Eternals, though I understood that it wasn’t exactly a blockbuster style action film in the traditional way. I couldn’t see it being rated poorly though. There were some things that probably could have been done better, but overall it had a nice pace for how long it was. It wasn’t like Dune that felt super slow the entire time, and then ended just as things got good.

Once out of the movie, we made the drive home. The GPS took us on our alternate route this time, heading north through Oklahoma. It was a slightly shorter drive by distance, but also shorter in time with the lack of traffic leaving the city. We stopped once for gas and food at a Moe’s inside of a Pilot, where we got surprisingly good service worthy of a tip.

Eaddie was still awake when we got home, but took a shower and went to bed as Summer crashed. I still had my own routine to go through, but then it was off to sleep as well.

Literally hundreds of speakers.