By definition, a blog is fairly self-aggrandizing. In this instance however, it might serve a purpose. Obviously, with a baby on the way, my thoughts are turning more and more towards “daddy” type of activities. That includes getting excited about “stuff” for the baby. Do you have any idea how much “stuff” a baby requires. I had no idea. I really didn’t. I figured it was mostly diapers and bottles. That doesn’t even really scratch the surface. Apparently it’s also tradition to create gift registries for said “stuff”, and, you know me, if there is one thing I enjoy, it’s scanning bar-codes (I know, bad joke).
So, I present to you, with the understanding that you are in no way under any obligation to actually purchase anything for my little one, our two registries for our baby. I’ll also put these in the sidebar as a widget, perhaps even including a “doomsday countdown timer” or something, lol.
Babies ‘R’ Us
Well, we’re back after our long and restful vacation to Savannah. We mostly went back for ourselves, just to see what had changed in seven years, but we were able to meet up with some good friends and have a great time while we were at it.
We started driving early last Saturday morning. With the wife being pregnant, and at the doctors recommendation, we stopped every hour or two for a stretch. That left us with plenty of time, but a two day drive. We decided to have some fun with it and stop at each state line for cheesy tourist pictures. I’ll spare you from seeing those. Our half way point was Mobile, AL, which isn’t really half way but does have something worth stopping for. The Brick Pit BBQ is located in Mobile and is on my (and others) lists of “Holy Grails of BBQ”. It’s a simple shack along side a back road in Mobile, about 20 minutes out of the way of anything in perticular. The sign on the road reads “This is the real deal. The Brick Pit, the best damn barbecue in the great state of Alabama”. That pretty much sums it up. The dining room is large enough for about 12 tables. You order through a small window at the back by the kitchen. Our first stop was all about the ribs. Perfect, succulent, fall off the bone pork spareribs. They were legendary. It was so good that we vowed to stop again on our way back in a week. We did, the 2nd time opting for the pulled pork. It simply dissolved in your mouth, it was even better than the ribs.
Fueled by tasty pork products the next day we hit the road by 5am and finished our drive into Savannah around 4pm. Just in time to check into the hotel. We found a great deal on staying at The Mansion at Forsyth. A cool boutique hotel, our room was huge and had a great view of the park. It had a massive soaking tub which Lauren enjoyed and one of those “rainfall” showers that I liked. As soon as we had dropped off our bags and changed we made a B-line strait to the historic district for some Pizza. We had always loved Vinny Van Go-go’s pizza while we were in school and it was still alive and kicking. We were able to meet up with two of Lauren’s old roommates, Brittney and Hallie and my old roommate Jason. It was awesome getting to catch up with everyone.
The next couple days we did the tourist thing as a group and met up with everybody for dinners and lunches. We went to our favorite Italian place where Lauren and I had dozens and dozens of dates. We visited all our old favorite SCAD buildings, various shops downtown, the school bookstore and most importantly, our old coffee shop, Gallery Espresso. It was great to all at once be excited to be back and at the same time, be in such familiar surroundings that it felt like we had just left. The SCAD kids hadn’t started classes yet, so we pretty much had the run of the town without huge crowds, which was nice. We even got in at Mrs Wilks, a crazy little B&B that serves the best lunch in the city.
Tuesday night we all headed out to the bar above our hotel for a little more catching up. I introduced Jason to Scotch and Lauren and the girls had milk and cake. We talked and caught up for hours and I had a great time talking shop with Jason. I really missed being able to have real artistic conversations with people and Jason and I are on the same wavelength on a lot of things so it was great to catch up. We even swapped some music by the end of the week and now I’m working my way through the great stuff he gave me to listen to (Teenage Bottlerocket is epic btw).
Friday we had to say goodbye once again to the city where my wife and I fell in love, where we met our best friends, and where we spent four years doing more crazy artsy things than I have in all my other years combined.
We packed up early in the morning and hit the road, stopping for breakfast along i95 before turning westward onto the i10 corridor. Thankfully traffic was light and we made good time back to Mobile where, as I mentioned before, we stopped once again for some BBQ. Saturday was more leasurely. We knew it was the shorter of the two sections so we were able to take our time. We stopped once again at each state line, getting photos at the ones we had missed the first time. Around lunch time we were in the middle of the Louisiana swamp. Stopping at a rest area, we asked some locals where we could find something to eat. The first things they mentioned were all generic and chain restaurants a couple exits away. We asked them for some more local flavor instead. It had turned into quite a “road food” trip. We were led to the Boudin Store, which from all outward appearances was just a convenience store (complete with gas pumps). Inside however, was a really nice guy with a thick cajun accent wanting to know what we’d like to eat. Lauren got the fried chicken and I opted for the shrimp and crawfish. Both were awesome. Just goes to show that there are some great experiences to be had at small local holes-in-the-wall.
Saturday night we pulled into the driveway finishing what was a truly great roadtrip. We had so much fun in Savannah and it was great to see everyone and catch up. It was a long drive, but totally worth it.
I think the image probably speaks for itself.
Coming in 2011
Coming in 2011. Me, the sequel. We’re so excited!
We get a special treat this week, Chris will be visiting with his girl friend Erin for a long weekend. They’re flying in tonight and will head back out around lunch time on Monday. We’ve spent the majority of the week cleaning up the house and getting ready for them. I think they’ll officially be our first guests at our house and we’re happy to have them.
We actually went a little overboard and did a bunch of home repairs/improvements that we had been neglecting over the past couple months. We sanded and repainted an entire set of deck chairs and rocking chairs for our backyard, Lauren and her dad created and entire mosaic patio table, we replaced light fixtures, light bulbs, and other assorted things and even hung some new curtains in the guest room. So, if anyone else ever wants to come visit, Casa del Matt is ready to receive you, lol.
I’m excited Chris is visiting, I haven’t seen him in forever. Hopefully we’ll get to do some cool stuff while he’s down here. I think today and tomorrow we’ll probably do the touristy stuff and sight-seeing and just get a little dinner. Saturday we’re going to be a little more ambitious and Chris might be coaxed into playing paintball with me. I’ll see if I can’t round up a few more guys and make a day of it. Saturday night we’ll have a little BBQ going down, complete with Margarita machine (thanks for lending that to us Davis’). Sunday we’re going to try and catch an Astros game and just relax a little. Sounds like a good weekend to me. Hopefully they have fun too.
Well gang, another year come and gone and now we’re into the double digits. “2k10” doesn’t sound right quite yet, but “10” doesn’t make sense either, and “20-10” just sounds weird. Oh well, at least it’s here. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that 2009 wasn’t exactly the best year on record. We had quite a few crazy moments family wise and the country/world had quite a few crazy moments all on their own. Hopefully 2010 will be a little better for everyone all around.
Personal update wise, we just got back from visiting my parents in New Hampshire. My dad is doing better and is 75% of the way through his chemo treatments. Eight down, four to go. We had a nice trip and actually had a breeze through the airports with short lines and little waiting. I was quite surprised. I got a couple nice presents, a few t-shirts from Think Geek, a nice paintball mask, a bottle of Crystal Skull vodka, all kinds of nice stuff.
For those of you who might be confused by my receiving a paintball mask, worry not. It’s actually something I’ve been enjoying playing lately. I went with a small group about a month ago and I’ve been hooked ever since. In fact, my “big” present is actually a paintball gun that I’ve yet to purchase. I did my research very thoroughly and decided on the Tippman A-5 as my first gun. Tippman is apparently known for it’s very rugged and durable guns and the A-5 suites my needs in the “awesome” category. They designed that gun in such a way that it’s completely modular and customizable. You can add things like barrels and handles and stocks and change it from a normal paintball gun into a replica of anything from an AK-47, to a M16 or MP5 to a full on Barrett .50cal. Check out some of the options here. Of course, those mods are a little pricey. I wanted to start out a little more reasonable. The way I figured it, I would need two things to get the most bang for my buck: a nice barrel and an electronic trigger. After reading review after review, I decided on a “Flatline Barrel” and the WAS E-grip. The barrel is actually kinda funky, it’s not strait. It has a slightly raised slope that actually adds backspin to the paintballs. Backspin, as you probably know, makes round objects travel further and straighter. If everything I’ve read is correct, this thing is nasty. It’ll add nearly 100 feet of range and keep it laser accurate. The grip, well, that’s just as awesome. The electronic trigger allows for single shots, 3 round bursts, semi auto and full auto firing. The upward rates of fire are over 25 balls a second. I found both of these in at Ultimate Paintball for about $400 in total. I normally would never spend that on myself, but I got $350 in total over the holidays and my birthday, so I just about break even.
Anyway, just wanted to wish everyone a good 2010, I hope everyone’s holidays went well and that you got to spend some time with loved ones. It’s tough getting back into the groove of working, especially after having a nice long break. Oh well, that’s what coffee is for, right?
After two solid days of play, and years of previous experience, I feel it safe to say that MW2 passed the “15-Minute Test” with flying colors. That’s not to say it’s perfect however and this post is more pointedly a rant about the sour notes in an otherwise brilliant symphony of gaming goodness.