Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Thing #6 Completed: Move!

We are moved. We are even getting pretty well settled in and unpacked. Life is good. So, a few facts about the new house:
  • built post-WWII, roughly early 1950s (the paperwork is buried at the moment)
  • 1250 square feet
  • 3 bedrooms, 1 bath
  • 2-car attached garage
And a few pictures:

(clean, working fireplace in the living room)

(small, but adequate kitchen)

(beautiful knotty pine master bedroom)

(and just for fun: a mountain of packing paper in the den - enclosed porch seen rear-left, kitchen and dinette are rear-right)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Moving Update

(and no, by "moving" I don't think you'll be in tears...)

Here's a picture of the new house:

This picture was taken before it got cold and winter-y, so the landscaping is looking a little more drab at the moment, but great curb appeal, no?

Schedule delivery of new washer/dryer? Check.
Schedule locksmith to change the locks? Check.
Schedule electrician to fix some faulty outlets? Check.
Schedule Stanley Steemer to clean and deodorize the carpets? Check.
Schedule movers? Check.

It's a lot of work to move. More updates later.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

New Thing: Move

Some of you have heard the seemingly unending saga of Kurt and I trying to find a quiet apartment. We've moved so frequently in the past couple of years, that I'm starting to think maybe we really are running from someone or something. I won't bore you with all the details here, but suffice it to say we are through with sharing walls with noisy neighbors.

We closed on a house on Friday. This is my first experience with buying a house, and so I was astonished by the volume of papers to be signed in a room full of people. The sellers will be out by Tuesday, but I'll be out of town all week for work, so we will probably not actually move until the weekend Dec. 15. I'll try to post pictures, etc. later.

Thing #5 Completed: Eat at Dragonfly Neo-V

I am noticing that it's been a full two months since my last post. Oops. And this particular Thing seems so simple too: eat at a restaurant. How hard is that? The trick is, this is a semi-fancy restaurant, requiring the whole dressing up bit, and the rationalization of spending extra $$ on dinner. Last night though, we finally had a legitimate reason to celebrate (moving!), so off to Dragonfly Neo-V we went.

Dragonfly has been celebrated by numerous local publications (and even some national ones) as one of the top restaurants for vegetarians to visit. Vegans and vegetarians alike will find plenty on the menu to tempt their curiosity. The chef also uses local and/or organic produce as much as possible, which means the menu changes by season and availability.

Since this was a celebration (more on that, anon), I started the meal off with a Lavender-infused Bombay Sapphire Gimlet (very smooth and subtle flavors). For a first course I ordered a Roasted Pumpkin Bisque topped with a Rum-Raisin Gelato (which complimented the bisque amazingly). Kurt ordered a Salad which included such exotic ingredients as Baby Turnips basking in Rose-infused Almond Milk. Intriguing, but I was glad I went with the bisque.

For the main course I ordered Grilled Tofu and Kurt ordered Butternut Squash Gnocchi (they were accompanied by more fancy ingredients and adjectives, but I didn't write them down). My dish featured a base of pumpkin surrounded by some sort of a white dough-like creation (I liked the pumpkin, but wasn't crazy about what surrounded it), topped with a slab of grilled tofu (very spicy and delicious), topped with some hearty cooked greens.

For dessert we ordered the Pumpkin-Chocolate Torte which was accompanied by a scoop of Coffee Gelato. The torte had three primarily layers: pumpkin, chocolate, and a cookie-style base. The flavors were good, and it wasn't too sweet, but the cookie layer seemed a bit dry to both of us.

One of the fun parts of eating at Dragonfly was the little mini-courses that also came with the meal. The chef sent out a little miniature appetizer at the beginning (a smoked mushroom artfully placed atop a small orzo salad), the bread served at the table was paired with a really wonderful pumpkin/squash spread, and after dessert we were served a miniature cup of spiced hot chocolate.

My overall review: 4 out of 5 stars. The food was good overall, and some of it was really top-notch, but for the price, there were a couple of small points (the dryness of one of the dessert layers, for example) where I expected slightly better.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

New Thing: Write a Short Story

One good thing about being in school was that I wrote more frequently: often for assignments, but also to follow my own creative impulses. I have not written as much in the past few years (other than one script for a play that I revisit from time to time, but still haven't finished). This Thing will hopefully provide some additional motivation to flex my writing muscles.

I have always admired the well-crafted short story (whether it be presented as a narrative, or as a short film or play). I ran across a draft of a short story that I began several years ago, and I am hoping to finish it, or failing that, start from scratch. I'll let you know how it goes. If it goes well, you might actually get to read it.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Thing #4 Complete: Get a Bartending Job

As of today, I am officially a hired bartender! I will be working for the catering department at Weiland's Gourmet Market as their resident bartender (and also as an occasional server). Previously they have always hired bartending out through temp agencies, and haven't always been pleased with the results. This seems like a win-win situation for both of us. I am already scheduled to work the next three weekends, two bartending gigs, and two food serving gigs. Hooray!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

New Thing: Learn to Tie a Tie

Okay, to be clear, I do know how to tie a tie, but I use the "four-in-hand" knot method, which is fast and easy. The drawback is that the finished know is asymmetrical in appearance, a fact that has bugged me forever, but I've just been too lazy to learn a more complicated method.

I will probably learn either the "half-Windsor" knot or the "Pratt" knot, both of which are symmetrical.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thing #3 Completed: Inventory Book Collection

All my books (although come to think of it, I probably have some more books in storage) are now entered into my LibraryThing account! Go ahead and check my library out if you are interested: my account name is StarvingPlaywright. I don't think any of the books are too embarrassing. :-)

The author tag feature is fun. I am also intrigued with the idea of making a mosaic picture of all my book cover images.

Note: The "Currently Reading" blurb on the left-hand side is now replaced with a flashier "Random Books" widget.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Thing Update: Get a Bartending Job

Minor progress here: I was the bartender for a private party a couple of weeks ago. It counts because I responded to an ad on craigslist and got paid (as opposed to just bartending for friends), but I'm not knocking this item off the list, because it was just a one-off gig. To complete this thing I want to either find a part-time job at an actual bar, or get more definitively involved in doing occasional-to-regular event bartending. I definitely enjoyed the party gig, though, and am looking forward to more gigs or more work.

Thing Update: Inventory my book collection

I am probably about half-way through inventorying my books. Trouble is, I didn't get it finished before we moved (just a few houses down the street). Now we're mostly settled, but a question remains as to whether we will be shuffling the room arrangement upstairs. The current situation has the master bedroom (and the bookcases) in the room closest to the street, and the second bedroom is setup as an office (and spare bedroom, in the event of guests). This might be swapped due to the fact that we can sometimes hear our neighbor's television in the front bedroom and it seems the second bedroom is quieter. Summary: the books are still in boxes waiting to be unpacked.

In the meantime, you may notice that I've added a "Currently Reading" feature to this blog.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Thing Update: Sandman Vol. 4

The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists

I just finished reading The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman. Although composed of a number of individual episodes, this entire volume told one basic story, that of Dream attempting to recover the soul of a women who once loved him that he condemned, perhaps wrongly, to spend eternity in hell. His recovery mission is complicated when he arrives in hell only to find it has been recently vacated, Lucifer having decided he's ruled hell for quite long enough, and the woman who once loved Dream is no longer there. A good, solid volume, with some interesting ideas about the concepts of heaven and hell.

New Thing: Get a Bartending Job

Learning to make drinks in a classroom setting was great, but I shelled out some cash to do so, and now I need to earn that money back. My other job has been keeping me pretty busy for the past couple of weeks so I haven't had much time to look for a part-time bar tending gig, which is what I'm after. Tomorrow, I will be working with a job placement person on what leads I can pursue.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thing #2 Complete: Perform Clean Install on Computer

So...long story about this Thing. Apparently it is not a great idea to plug a laptop's power supply directly into the USB ports. Who knew?

The story actually begins quite a long time ago when I bought a nifty little point-and-shoot digital camera. I like the camera a lot, mostly because it slips easily into a pocket and I am therefore more likely to take it with me, and the pictures it takes are pretty great considering its limitations. The problem began when I connected the camera to my computer to transfer my first set of pictures. Or rather, the problem began when I went to disconnect the camera from the USB port it was plugged into on the back of my laptop. Somehow, it broke...kind of. Part of the USB port actually broke off and was absconded with by the camera connector, creating a new mutated USB port that now worked with the camera and nothing else. It also exposed some prongs inside the USB port which are normally covered.

Since the camera still worked in that port and I had a second USB port underneath the first one, I continued using my computer, blissfully ignorant of the peril my laptop was now in. You see, directly adjacent to the USB ports is the connection for the power you see where this is going?

So, nearly two weeks ago, I went to plug the power supply into my computer, and accidentally attempted to plug it into the damaged USB port. The instant smell of burnt plastic was the first clue that something was wrong. The second clue was when my laptop refused to power up in any fashion whatsoever. Cue the panic.

My promptly delivered my computer to the local Laptop Guy and after a few days of anxious waiting, received the following verdict: 1) the laptop is okay; 2) my data was recovered; but 3) the USB ports are now officially dead. Oh, and my CD/DVD drive has weird issues, namely it has troubles burning new CDs or reading existing burned CDs, although it still seems to work fine with professionally produced CDs (i.e. installation CDs).

Time to panic again, because without the ability to easily transfer files to/from my computer, I am somewhat crippled for some of the things I regularly need to do for work. Enter Rudy, the ultimate "Laptop Guy" who provided a beautiful solution: a $35 card plugged into the side of my laptop with two high-speed USB ports.

So...a total of roughly $250 later I am back in business, and since the laptop repair folks did a big chunk of the work by performing the clean install of Windows and hardware drivers, all I had to do was re-install my software and data. *Whew!* Thing #2 complete.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Brand New Thing: Inventory My Book Collection

In my dream home there is a library. It has built-in bookshelves on every wall, and perhaps a fireplace for ambiance. In my current apartment I have to make do with a couple of cheap bookcases, one in the living room, and one in the bedroom, and some of my books are kept in storage. Having completed my First Thing, my new Next Thing is to catalog my book collection, using the oh-so-cool Internet gadgetry of

Friday, July 27, 2007

Thing #1 Complete: Learning to Mix Drinks

I completed my first Thing this afternoon by passing my Mixology final test. I am now a certified mixologist and licensed bartender. I have committed 150 drinks to memory, everything from Shirley Temples to Mimosas, from Tom Collins to Long Island Iced Teas, from Sex on the Beach to Slippery Nipples.

Some of the highlights of the class included learning to make layered and flaming drinks:

Also, for the record, my favorite drink with a naughty-sounding name is now: "Slow Comfortable Screw, Up Against the Wall".

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Thing Update: Mixing Drinks 2/3 Complete

Two weeks in, one more to go. Since I managed to cram one week's worth of classes into two weeks (due to some work/schedule conflicts), next week I will be finishing the classwork. The final step (passing the written test as well as a mixing-drinks-for-the-instructor-in-a-timed-setting test) may stretch to the following Monday, depending on how confident I'm feeling on Friday. So far on every quiz and the midterm test I have scored exactly 99% (no more, no less), so I'm feeling very confident about the rote memorization and book-learning part. I'm not as confident with the mixing of the actual drinks yet, so I'll spend some extra time this week practicing to boost my confidence.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Thing Update: Mixing Drinks, Class #1

Three styles of classes are offered: two weeks of daytime classes, two weeks of evening classes, five Saturday classes, or any combination thereof. I'm opting for the latter. This week, I'll be attending evening classes (with one day to make up next week). Next week, I'll be out of town for several days so that will interfere with most of the class sessions for the week. The third (and final) week, I'll plan on the daytime class schedule.

The class atmosphere is great, and in the current session there are only about 6 students so there is plenty of one-on-one time available with the instructor. The classroom is equipped with a mock bar large enough for five bartenders to be working side by side. We work with actual bottles, but they are filled with colored and painted waters, so the focus is on procedures and presentation, (no taste testing during class).

Class format is typically an hour or so of instruction/demonstration/'lecture' followed by partnering up and taking turns ordering and making every drink from the chapter. Each class is kind of a stand-alone unit, and the first class (after certain orientation details) was on Martini's, Manhattan's and Rob Roy's (which are all the same type of drink, just different alcohols). I learned a total of 12 drinks and variations last night, and I can now make a classic martini: dry, dirty, or perfect, whatever your preference.

And contrary to what James Bond is famous for ordering, a 'classic' martini should not be shaken and should be stirred...of course, he had his reasons.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Thing Update: Mixing Drinks

I took the first step today to becoming a professional mixologist by registering for a 40-hour course offered by the Professional Bartending Institute. Classes begin Monday. It's normally a 2-week course, but I have some conflicts with the class schedule during the second week so it will probably take me an extra week or two. More updates as I go.

P.S. Spellcheck recommends I change "mixologist" to "sexologist"...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thing Update: Sandman

Just finished volume 3 of 11 ("Dream Country"). I incorrectly thought I had read this one but I had not. This volume is one of my favorites so far (also the most recent, which could influence that opinion). "Dream Country" includes the dark but powerful story of a writer who imprisons one of the muses; a story of cats dreaming of a revolution; and a wonderful telling of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in which the original players perform for an audience which includes the real Oberon, Titania, Puck and other faerie-kind known to appear in that particular play.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Thing Described: Read though Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" Series

I went for far too long in my life without knowing who Neil Gaiman was. Then I stumbled upon "American Gods" and it was a profound reading experience. But Neil Gaiman is probably most famous for his "Sandman" series of comics, which according to Wikipedia (so it must be true), is considered "one of the most original, sophisticated and artistically ambitious comic book series of the modern age". This epic series of more than 75 issues was repackaged as 11 graphic novels, and this is the form in which I will read about Morpheus (not the guy from the Matrix) and the rest of The Endless. I am currently ready to begin reading Book 4 of 11.

Thing Described: Learn to mix drinks

One of the several/many/various ways that my current life is a departure from my life growing up is the fact that I now drink alcohol--responsibly, of course. We practically have a fully-stocked mini-bar at home (sensibly housed in an old entertainment center in the kitchen), but we really only use it when we have company, and even then, I can't make anything more interesting than a gin and tonic. I have visions of learning to mix and pour like a pro (or at least with a bit of flair), thereby earning me bonus points with said company. I am also toying with the idea of working part-time as a bartender (tips are great after all). Right now I am trying to decide whether to just learn as I go, or to get some formal mixology training. At minimum to check this Thing off my list I will need to learn to make two of my favorite mixed drinks: a Tom Collins and an Apple Martini.

P.S. Spellchecker wants me to replace "mixology" with "mycology" and as fascinated as I am with fungus, I don't think I'm ready to add it to my Next Five Things list...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thing Described: Eat at Dragonfly Neo-V restaurant

This Thing is pretty simple. Dragonfly Neo-V is a restaurant here in Columbus that I have been wishing to try. The restaurant is right down my alley, serving gourmet vegan cuisine. I keep hearing great things about it, and now maybe I'll have the excuse I need to make the splurge.

Thing Described: Become CAPM certified

This Thing is work-related. I have been trying to work my way into a career in Project Management. I had a great 1-year introduction to the field while working on the closeout phase of a project at the Ohio State University Medical Center (chasing robots, for those of you who've heard me talk about it). My employer owns her own consulting business and is mentoring me and giving me an 'in' into the business. She just started a new project at the Cleveland Clinic, and I will be working for her, on a part-time basis at first, and hopefully that will grow into full time again. To further my credentials I am pursuing project management certification through the Project Management Institute.

Ultimately, I will work towards a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, but a stepping stone will be the Certified Associate of Project Management (CAPM) certification. It will involve taking a 40-hour class and passing a test, but that is significantly easier than obtaining the PMP certification.

Thing Described: Perform a clean install on my computer

My poor laptop is showing its age (about 3 years). I have to carefully watch that it doesn't over-heat. The CD-burner no longer works. It has memory-full problems, and sometimes the wireless access gives me fits. What I really need to do, is start over with a clean install. What a pain though. First I will need to back up all my important files (made more difficult since the CD-burner stopped working and I lost my USB flash drive). Then I will need to wipe the hard drive clean. Next will be the long arduous process of reinstalling Windows and everything else. And finally, all my important files will need to be transferred back. I know my computer will run better, but I have been stalling due to the many hours it will take to complete.


As mentioned above, this blog is based on a simple idea: set five mini-goals for yourself; blog about your progress; when one mini-goal (or Thing, as they are commonly referred to) is complete, replace it with a new one. Mini-goals are defined as smaller than "Establish World Peace" and larger than "Do the Dishes". Posts on this blog will consist of "Descriptions of Things", "Updates Regarding Things", and "Things Completed".