The Measurement Post

Today I took off to Millennia for my lunch break and visited the new apartment complex. Construction and safety inspections were completed this week on my unit and the keys had arrived from Orange County (they do the inspecting before people can enter a new building). I stopped by to measure the place so I’ll have a good idea what will and wont work furniture wise. Though I don’t move in for another month I am eagerly anticipating making the jump to the new place. That and the fact that the holiday weekend will undoubtedly offer some great sofa deals, and I don’t want to have a sectional delivered that wont fit in the door. Place looks good, everything seemed in tip top shape (plus side to it being less than two days old). I am really liking the management staff there too. They are all always so nice and helpful, and more than willing to toss keys my way to go check stuff out without constant supervision (I have a trustworthy face apparently). Also met the building superintendent, who is a pretty cool guy. That’s him in the kitchen if you were wondering. These shots are pretty week and don’t do a very good job of capturing the rooms, but here you go regardless.

The Zaxby's Post

So you should find a Zaxby’s and go there. That’s pretty much the point of this post. If you care not for delicious chicken meals of the fast-food variety then go ahead and skip this post, because it doesn’t get any deeper than that.

I had never eaten at a Zaxby’s before coming down here, and had often wondered what the hell the place was as I passed it on my way to and from Target. One sunny Saturday, during a tour of area furniture shops I decided to give it a shot and see what kinda food they have (its all chicken by the way). So I go in and order the Kickin’ Chicken Sandwich, which consists of two thick slices of garlic buttered toast covered with mild buffalo wing strips and melted cheese. There is some sort of white sauce, probably mayo or ranch in there too, but it all melts with the cheese and wing sauce so I cant vouch either way. Anyway…best, sandwich, ever! Well ok, its no Potbellies, but its definitely pretty damn great. You should look into it if you haven’t partaken already. Here's a head start.


The Bathtub Post

My bathtub is in poor shape. The tub itself is fine but the cheap spay seal that my apartment company covers all sinks/tubs with is on its last legs. Water has leaked underneath the sealant and bubbled, causing peeling and exposure of the tub underneath. Its not an issue beside the fact that its pretty ugly. I don’t, however, want to have to be responsible for the repair come the end of my lease, so I’ve been going back and forth with the leasing office to have someone repair it. Preferably on a weekend because it takes 24 hours to dry. This weekend was when the repair was supposed to take place. 9:30 this morning was the time I was given. So I got up early on a Saturday (a crime in 49 states if I’m not mistaken) and showered up and got the tub cleaned and ready for the fix. 11:00 rolls around and no show on the repair guys.

So I call my apartment office. No answer. Call back 20 min later…busy. I continued to call on and off for an hour…busy, busy, busy. I finally get someone, and explain my situation and she tells me she’ll call back. 2 hours after that, I call again. The person I spoke to earlier has gone home for the day. Great. So I re-lament how I needed the guys to show up soon as I can't be without a bathroom during the week. She says she’ll call me back after calling the woman who originally scheduled the repair last week. This time I was amazed that she did call back. Unfortunately the woman who she spoke with claims to have never made a claim that anyone would come to my apartment, nor that she authorized any repair. Slightly pissed in tone, I told the woman that I was explained the procedure and how it would take 24 hours to dry and that the outsourced repair guys where set to come this morning, and I don’t know how I would have that information had I not spoken with someone to organize the repair. She had no answer to this besides that she'll call me on Monday once the other woman is in the office. We shall see. Either way I’m putting in my notice with these guys on the 30th. It would be nice to have this issue resolved before then however. But that is looking less and less likely.


The Superbad Post

You know a movie is going to be good when you sit-down to see it and the previews that run before it have taglines like “From the guys that brought you Superbad comes…” From the second Superbad started I knew I was in for a gem of a movie. Having savored trailers and internet previews for most of the summer I finally caught the hilarious teen comedy last night, and can assure you that Superbad is the new American Pie of this generation, and will be quoted and referenced more than Napoleon Dynamite and Old School combined. McLovin will finally dethrone Harold and Kumar, and Stiffler’s Mom will be forgotten.

As they did with Knocked Up, Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg have taken the everyday loser’s life (and his friends) and fleshed it out in a hilarious comedy that draws parallels with all who see it. The phrase ‘it’s funny because it’s true’ has never applied to movie more than this one. If felt like I was watching my life on screen meshed with the lives of everyone I’ve ever known. There isn’t a single character in this film that you didn’t go to high school with. Not a line delivered or a situation presented that doesn’t drip with plausible implausibility.

On the negative side, Superbad’s plot is simple and blown out of proportion by its characters (due to their adolescent nature) and as a result delivers a lackluster climax and a tacked on ending that fails to deliver. However this is all entirely excusable and won’t phase 99% of the audience. Also the cop duo are just too inconsistent throughout the movie to the point where you end up wondering what they are going to do next. What initially starts as a jab at lazy cops spirals out of control into a string of bizarre occurrences and random situations that do little other than entertain the already laughing audience and confuse anyone who was looking for a point to their inclusion. But whatever, go see this movie.

If you don’t like this film you are either too old or are just not fun. Perhaps you have an opposition to the f-word, in which case you’d have somewhat of a basis for disliking this film, as Superbad drops the f-bomb every other word. The sheer vulgarity of many situations and the lines Seth and Evan deliver is perfected to a level that without it the movie would be but a shell of what it is. The movie cements Seth Rogan as a comic genius and will guarantees that Michael Cera and Johna Hill will become much more that ‘the kid from Arrested Development’ and the ‘wiener guy’ from Accepted. I look forward to not only another Superbad (they would be crazy not to do a college spin-off at this point) but more movies featuring these guys in the not so distant future.


The Trip Home Post

This past weekend I went back home to VA as a belated ‘birthday present’ for Mum. It was great to head back and spend quality family time with everyone. Stefan was in and out at training unfortunately, but made an effort to come back each night and spend time with everyone which I really appreciated. Went bowling with the family and Sarah; watched 300 on the projector poolside with Dad’s very impressive homebrew outdoor theater system; visited Eric’s badass new apartment in Arlington as well as visited the construction site that is/was his parents’ house (it’s looking awesome); chilled poolside with special guests Patricio, Alex and Jevan; tried out Sam’s amazingly comfortable new bed; saw Sarah’s swanky new office and even snuck in a lunch at Potbellies after stopping by for a quick hello at the Hunt’s. Sarah stuck with me from baggage claim in the arrival lounge all the way to dropping me off outside of the check-in. It was great to have her with me the whole time. I miss her already. Her new camera was in full force so I’ll maybe have some pictures to share later on. Though I looked through a couple and it looks like I’ll have to censor out a fair few (she has a knack for catching me looking like a complete prat).

One of the best parts about being home, besides the company of course, is always the food. I always look forward to eating well, and Mum and Dad never disappoint. Crepes in the morning, tenderloin for dinner, whatever the meal it’s always appetizing. We had a terrific BBQ with Ali and Bob last night right before I had to hit the airport, which was delicious enough to tide me over on my long and delayed flight. It was great to see Ali and Bob again, especially this time due to the finalized copy of Bob’s new book making an appearance. The book, which I illustrated, will be getting published in the next few weeks. More on that to come I assure you.

Though I feel bad about abandoning my hopelessly lonely cat, and don’t have any vacation days coming my way for a fair while, I really do love to take these little trips back home. I wish they could be longer, though I fear that if they went on too much more than a weekend then I’d be hard pressed to be able to ever leave.

The Topless Princess Post

So as I mentioned last week was ‘commissioned’ to do a canvas painting for my character of a neighbor; Cincinnati. If you haven’t read that post don’t bother with this one until after. Here’s a link.

Last Friday, before heading home I stopped by to drop of the finished canvas. He invited me in to his apartment (which for the record is in the running for most disheveled place I have ever entered- which is saying something as I have visited two of Eric Ferrara’s previous rooms). Anyway he invited me in and asks me to wait as he rummages through his cupboards. After a long and awkward pause and brief chat with his daughter he pulls his head out of the cupboard clutching a few interestingly smelling items. “You are an artist, so maybe you can paint these for me,” he asks as he holds out the first item. It’s a fridge magnet bus pass that has had the numbers scratched off. “I can’t use it without numbers on it. Can you paint my number back on?” he asks. I say that I could, though it might take a while with me leaving town for the weekend. He doesn’t mind waiting apparently.

The second item was a dilapidated plastic tumbler that looked as though it had suffered ten years of washing machine abuse longer than the manufacturer e
ver intended. Ion the side is a barely visible Hawaiian dancer girl, rather similar in style to Peggy Pepper. The poor girl has yellowed, chipped and flaked to the point of being barely recognizable. Whiteout crumbs over the areas where her limbs had been showed evidence of Cincinnati’s previous restoration attempts. “Think you can fix this?” He asks thrusting the pungent cup in my face. I tell him that I will try though I don’t think my paints are water resistant.

The last item emerges. It is at this point I become extremely uncomfortable standing there with this shirtless man in his dogs-dinner of an apartment. He holds out an old McDonalds’ toy of Princess Jasmine. The Disney princess is seated with her tiger on a magic carpet/cloud base that has wheels on the bottom for pull back and zoom fun. If the man where a five year old girl that is. However this Jasmine was special. Her top had been scratched off, and I assumed he wanted me to paint her a new one. “I scratched off her top,” he boasted through a toothy grin, “Can you paint her some titties or me?” he finishes, looking at me like as though he had just told a very impressive story. I instantly responded “no” a little too quickly. He looked taken aback. I stammered a string of excuses involving paint not sticking to that type of plastic and me not having the right colors, and started to leave assuring him I would try my hand at the other two trinkets. Three times he tries to convince me to try painting the boobs on his toy. Each time I politely make up some stupid reason. I eventually got out of there and have yet to return with his cup and pass. I’ll do the pass, cus he needs that. But the cup wont happen. Sad thing is he really didn’t seem that bothered with the canvas in the end. Some people eh?

The 'Major' Letdown Post

As you may or may not know I entered the Doritos sponsored Unlock Xbox contest, in which gamers submitted Doritos inspired arcade games online. 5 Winners were to be selected and of those five a grand champion who would have his/her game published and available on Xbox Live. One week before the finalists were to be announced a video appeared on the contest website detailing the submission process and the narrowing down to 5 finalists. During the video my image was shown as one of the five that remained (after the screen gradually eliminated submitted images). This got me extremely stoked and feverishly awaiting the final judging. Last week it came to my attention that Major Nelson, the Xbox content manager would be touring the US and surprising the winners by letting them know they won in person. Not only that, he was blogging the whole trip. While he wouldn’t give up any concrete facts as to his location en route, he left little tidbits of clues for hopeful contestants to track. After coming really close (Florida’s Panhandle and Atlanta where two of his stops) I was left empty handed. I was really enthused about tracking the guy, and had my co-workers, family, girlfriend and even girlfriends’ co-workers all feverishly checking for blog updates on the Major’s site. Meh, whatever. Though bitter I am over it. Least I was until today where I got to see the finalists. How they selected some of these I have no earthly idea. I’m sure there is a good reason. But as someone who just lost to Pillbug's Quest For Flavor and Monkey's From Mt. Dorito I am rather bummed.

Least they used me in a video which means they liked the picture enough to spend some time on it. And as depressing as walking away without a plasma TV (one of the many awesome prizes all the finalists get) I did have a lot of fun getting overly stoked over the prospect of Major Nelson ringing the doorbell.


The Red Ring Returns Post

The ‘red-ring-of-death’ is once again plaguing my 360. Meaning that the little guy is going to have to be mailed away for a second round of surgery. As most gamers will probably attest to, this is particularly irritating being that the summer drought on game releases just ended and great titles are hitting the system pretty much every week from here till the holidays. Being that this is the second offense I’m hoping that they will send me a fresh console vs. Trying to patch mine back together again. Mainly because it will probably avoid further issues as mine is a aft-defective launch unit, but also because the newer models run quieter and have HDMI output. Fingers crossed. *end nerd rant*


The Unproductive Morning Post

This morning kinda sucked. Got up early to go to the gym with Craig. We’ve been slacking recently due to him being allover the place on business trips, and me being incapable of exercising without someone to tell me to. As I stumble to my car I notice there is more broken glass allover the parking lot. I pick up two or three Corona bottles every time I head to the dumpsters these days. Apparently drinking in the parking lot is way cooler if I leave bottles in the middle of the street. Last night it seems, smashing them on the curb was the ‘in thing’ to do, as there were numerous patches of glass explosions on the ground on the way to my car. I start my trip to the gym and notice that my car is making odd noises. I pull over, and sure enough my back tire is flat, and all four wheels are covered in a powdered glass sparkle. I head back, change into work clothes find the closest place that is open and slowly roll down to Pep-Boys. Have to wait 45 min. for them to open then rush in with my car to have them check out my tires.

Turns out only one was punctured, the others were just dirtied. Interestingly enough it was a screw that had driven itself into the rear tire, not a shard of glass. Had I not have left for the gym early I would have been late for work, as the repairs took longer than seemingly necessary. When I got to the office I had to apologize for bailing on Craig, which is never fun. Found out that I had missed my dentist appointment I had scheduled for yesterday also, which was a pain to re-organize. While on the phone I also attempted to change my flight time on Friday to something earlier so that I’d get the chance to see Stefan before he leaves on Saturday for training. However after staying FOREVER on the phone I found it would cost me $240 bucks to shift my flight a few hours ahead. For that price I could make a second trip. So I had to abstain. Shame that I will barely see Stef on the upcoming trip though.

The Chesty Painting Post

So I don’t talk to my neighbors, mainly due to the language barrier, but there is one guy downstairs from me who I’ve been on relatively friendly terms with since I moved in. He goes by the name Cincinnati and is a pretty unique character. Guy is 50-60 something, has the longest yellow toenails ever recorded on a human being, walks a Paris Hilton style Chihuahua and has a mustache/frizz-hair combo that makes him look like the illegitimate son of Arch Campbell and Albert Einstein. He also takes any and every possible chance to flash the hang-loose signal and say “Right on. Right on”

So the other day I am getting out of my car with grocery bags and he accosts me on the stairs saying rather abruptly, “I need tot talk to you guy. I’ll be in your apartment in 10 minutes”. He then ran back into his apartment and I heard the door lock behind him. I was nervous that maybe he was pissed about something or even worse; wanted me to look after his dog for a weekend. 10 minutes later he’s wandering around my apartment shoeless and smelling like a rotten pipe. He makes idle comments about everything in the open and then gets to the point. “Hey guy, I know you are an artist. I look at your paintings through your blinds at night when I walk Boomer. I picked this up at a junk shop,” at which point he presents me with a small, battered canvas that smells like a truck stop bathroom, that has a picture of a woman’s face next to a jaguar that is roaring and pawing at what looks to be a sunset with a palm tree on it. Basically it looks like the kind of retro crap a 60’s porno director would have hanging in his shag carpeted lounge.

He continues, “I wanted to know if you paint me a picture on this, though it is a shame to paint over it. My daughter thinks it’s a crime to ruin the artist’s work!” I offer to use a small leftover canvas I had under my futon 1)to be nice and 2) because I don’t want that moldy piece of crap in my apartment any longer than I want this guy’s manky feet trodding allover my carpet. He presents me with a picture of Betty Pepper, a pinup girl used in old Dr. Pepper billboards. The photo (which also smells like a dead cat) has Cincinnati standing in front of what looks to be a factory billboard with this chick on the sign. He is grinning like a madman. I tell him I will paint him the canvas but it may take a while. He leaves very appreciative and happy. “OH WAIT!” he slams back up the stairs and beats on the door; “Could you make her chestier. I’m a boob guy!” He grins at me (he has no teeth, I feel I must mention that too for some reason) while making a gesture to his own overly developed chest region, and then leaves.

So now I’m stuck painting a boobjob on a vintage Dr. Pepper billboard or a crazy old man who lives downstairs. Not exactly news, but bizarre enough to share. I need to learn to say no to people. Hopefully my new neighbors will be a little more…well not this guy.

UPDATE: He's a poorly shot picture. So it turns out she’s ‘Peggy Pepper’ and I had the name wrong. And the building he’s standing in front of in the picture he left me is the Dr. Pepper factory in Texas. I rushed the painting tonight to get it done before heading off for the weekend. It’s nothing much, but it’s a fair mix of my white/black on color-wash style with the original character. All blue with white foreground and red lips. I’ll see how he likes it tomorrow.

The Unobtainable Couch Post

This past weekend I went looking for new furniture for my new apartment. I know I don’t move in for another month and a half, but I figured I could price some things and possibly arrange for delivery in advance. Many places had interesting pieces, but most of which where far too pricey. Furniture is one of those things I’ve found that can cost as much as you are willing to pay. I stopped by Ethan Allen to see what they had on offer and was met by Linda, a very nice designer, who walked the store with me, showed me fabric patterns and sat me down with a catalogue and material swatches to plan and design a sectional from the ground up. Very cool idea, but considering the couch would cost more in monthly payments than my apartment is worth, I believe I’ll have to shop a little more thriftily.

I hit outlet stores, used furniture galleries and designer places. The best luck was at the huge furniture showrooms as far as quality-to-price goes. I could deck my whole place out for under 300 bucks at some stores. But I imagine I’d be in the same boat I am currently, wherein all my furniture is falling apart a year down the road (damn you Wal-Mart rollback event!) I found the perfect couch; sectional rather, that would be absolutely brilliant in the corner of my new place. It’s a low-backed sectional with a chaise arm that is comfortable as all hell and is in the exact style I’m after. The thing is $999 however, but the sales event running could save me 10%. So I figured with the financing they offer I could pay a nice 100…150 bucks a month and pay it of no problem. Unfortunately when I went to sign the paperwork I was not approved for the credit. Which stinks as I was really keen on locking that particular couch down… There is a chance I’ll be approve after its been reviewed, but generally when you don’t get the green light on the instant in-store credit, you don’t get approved later on either.


The Swing Band Post

Last night I went to Timpano Chophouse for the first show for ‘Dick Simmons and the Amazing Swing Band’. Mr. Simmons is the owner of Colorvision and has been a long time karaoke and lunge singer. He’s pretty good and has a solid Sinatra crooner style to his voice. I designed the band’s logo recently for him and skinned his bandstands/designed his invitations for last night’s event. To have a pleasant first night, Dick invited a lot of department heads and important people from work and his social circle to go to Timpano’s for a meal on him to serve as his debut audience. I didn’t get an invite directly which was unfortunate, but his assistant Donna invited me along as her ‘plus one’ which I was appreciative of. I know it’s cheesy to say, but I like to be included in these sort of company events, especially now that I have more vested in the company job-wise. Food was excellent and made even better by the fact that I had two steaks and two rounds of desert due to a delivery issue at our table. Delicious food, good company and fun entertainment. Having never been before I was impressed with Timpano’s lounge atmosphere and had a great time hanging out with everyone before and after the show.


The New Apartment Post

It's official now, I’m definitely moving apartments as soon as my lease is up here. I found the perfect place and a pretty good deal considering the area. I’ll be right behind the Mall at Millennia and extremely close (less than a ¼ mile) from Festival Bay and International Drive. Signed the paperwork and put down my deposit today. Still sticking with the one bedroom, but a much larger one, high 800’s as far as square footage goes, compared to my current 600 or so. The apartment complex is fantastic with gated entry, a killer clubhouse with pool and poker tables, classy fitness center/gym and lovely pool with cabanas, lounge chairs galore and a sweet palm tree in the center. The apartment itself is just what I wanted. It’s a corner unit on the 2nd floor so I get a balcony and an extra set of windows down one of the side walls vs. solid drywall and a neighbor on both sides. Below me are the garages also, so I don’t have to worry about plodding around and disturbing anyone below either. I’m right off of a lake but don’t have to pay for lake view being that my balcony and bedroom window are overlooking the back of the building. I can see Universal Studios on the horizon from my balcony which is pretty cool at night I can imagine. I really look forward to getting out of this area and stepping up to something nicer, and now I finally can afford it. So for all of you that haven’t come down and visited me yet, wait till winter break and you can warm up down here poolside and stay in my much classier place.

The attached picks are stills from a video that is far to big to post on YouTube, so they aren’t that great. Plus the place is filled with furniture which throws things off a bit. I’ll have proper shots come October I promise.


The Advancement Post

This week was a bit of a ride for me at work, but one that ultimately paid off in the end. I’ll be able to move into a nicer area and start to save some money each month (finally). Had dinner with Bruce and his buddy Greg at CityWalk last night before catching the team-member only, advance screening of Bourne Ultimatum (see review below). This weekend it will be time to kick the apartment search into high gear and hopefully lock down something for the 1st of October. Monday will be an interesting day as I’ll be taking Bruce’s place at the Universal creative meeting while he is in California for Siggraph.


The Bourne Again Post

Summer means sequels, and sequels work best with action thrillers and big franchises. Unfortunately the Bourne series has never been much of either to me, and the third attempt to capture the adequate thrills found in the first movie falls as flat as the first sequel.

I don’t remember much about the first two movies, besides that they were adequate action flicks with dreadful camera work. Coming out of the third I am feeling the exact same feeling. Ask me anything about the plot, the reveals and the character connections and I’d barley be able to give you an answer, but mention any scene or segment and I’ll write you a list of shots that made my head ache and my stomach lurch. Seriously this movie is ridiculous in the camera department. Two characters can’t have a face to face chat without the ‘gritty’ director having his cameraman shake wildly and go nuts with his focus, and many fight scenes lost their impact due to sheer irritation with the filming. “Ok, so in this scene Mr. Damon I want you to act very solemn because you’ve been shot and are depressed. Ok Camera 2, I want you to dance around him about three inches from his face and spin the focus on your lens around like a top. What? You can’t see what’s going on? Perfect! and… ACTION”

We follow Jason Bourne as he is still on the run and using cool dodging tactics to avoid evil government agents. What exactly is it that Mr. Bourne is running from/towards? I don’t know ask is many reoccurring flashbacks which spring up throughout the film. The black and white blurs are supposed to tie everything together and keep the audience guessing as he slowly pieces together his back-story. Sadly they are not very helpful and even at the film's desperately anticlimactic finale we are left with many unanswered questions. This would bother me more if I had any desire to find out the answers. We’ve been strung along through three films now, each time finding out that there is a new bad guy/evil government agent who pulls the strings. This is the case with this third entry. I believe (don’t quote me) that this is supposed to be the trilogy ender for Jason’s story. If that’s the case then I am very surprised with the ending, which does eliminate all immediate threats to Bourne that spring up in this film, but doesn’t do much to wrap the character up at all. In the movie's defense there are a few good close combat brawls and some big car crashes (if you can tell what’s going on enough to appreciate them).