the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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This Week In Misc. Goodness

After working eleven days straight, the weekend--a weekend, any weekend--is almost in sight. Hip-hip-fucking-huzzah!!

In brief: Valentine's Day. We. Owned. It. Oh, baby, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh! After a year's worth of fear, worry, and despair, it turned out that two or three weeks of frantic last-minute preparation paid off, and we sailed through our biggest day of the year, while all major competition--including Hallmark, who had paid presumably incomparable bills to IBM to pimp out their website--were crushed and left in little flaming piles by the side of the road. By mid-morning, when we started to see that we were going to hold up just fine, the shouts arose among the geeky rabble, testing the patience of the Fates--BRING! IT! ON! For the rest of the week, we of Technology were hailed as kings among men, celebrated with passing cheers and mass-emailed barbaric YAWPS from our senior management. For once, it is a very good week to be me.

Thus, I have been able to really enjoy this week's belated Valentine's dinner at Parallax, which is truly a culinary delight. Polite company might term it "Asian food in French style meets French food in Asian style." Trendy company might simply refer to it as "fusion." After a parade of wines, sushi, appetizers, salads, and entrees, I cannot describe it as anything other than this: FUCKING AMAZING. I apologize if the strong language burns your eyes or makes the Baby Jesus cry, but, honestly, this is the kind of place that can't be expressed without HBO-level warning labels.

Some would call the sushi menu limited, but it is simply focused, and what is offered is without flaw; I haven't tasted its equal since our trips to Vancouver or San Francisco. The spicy tuna was especially marvelous. Also consumed were massive appetizer plates of calamari (yum!) and smoked salmon (double-yum!); a salad of seared scallops, bacon, baby greens, and tomatoes, with a light cream sauce; Alaskan black cod with a miso glace; and, one of the evening's specials, a crispy half-duck in a Szechuan glaze, served with a bed of perfect sushi rice.

On the alcohol front, we sampled a tasty non-vintage bubbly (to celebrate), an Austrian Gruner Veltliner (round and delicious, like the best parts of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc), a German Gewüztraminer, a French Chenin Blanc, a lovely and very well-balanced New Zealand Pinot Noir, and--star of the show--cold, unfiltered sake!! Ever since our first encounter with this marvelous creature at a Berkeley sushi joint last summer, finding cold, unfiltered sake has been like a Grail quest for us. Most places have never heard of such a thing, and those that have are afraid to serve it because it is so unlike what most people consider sake to be. Thankfully, Parallax serves a bottle of the stuff that is damn near perfect, and a real blessing to behold in conjunction with the well-executed menu.

The service was very good throughout our meal; our waiter (a Champagne transplant) very quickly figured out our relaxed, try a bit of everything approach to dinner, and we never felt rushed--even after we closed out the main dining area, he was still puckishly tempting us with dessert.

So, to sum up... If you enjoy food, if you enjoy wine, if you enjoy the two together, Parallax should go immediately to the top of your to-do list.

Tomorrow, after an endless stream of pseudo-Thursdays, it is finally Friday, and the celebration continues with early-birthday treats: a trip to Chicago for One Man Lord of the Rings and the tasting menu at Topolobampo.

It's good to be the [info]exilejedi.... :-)

PS: Valentine says hello from her perch on my lap. Meow!

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Things That Have Lately Transpired

So, I've realized it's been way too long since my last post. I don't have a lot of time right now, but here's the last week or two in a nutshell.

  • Took Liz to the ER last Wednesay morning. The diagnosis was as we suspected, a ruptured ovarian cyst. She's had it happen twice before, at about the same time of year. The nurse who was taking care of us said she'd had one just the past week, so it must be the fashionable thing to do.
  • Signed papers and cut checks to the kitchen designer and the builder that we've been working with. We now have 50% down on the cabinets and appliances, and 20% down on the construction. The trigger is pulled; we are committed; there is no turning back. It's exciting! Can't wait for it to all be done. On a weird side note, Liz was too wacked on her painkillers from the cyst to be legal to sign things, so I got to cut all the checks; it was the most money I'd personally spent in a single day, and quite surreal.
  • Liz got me a new vacuum cleaner for my birthday! I can state quite proudly that it really sucks! I love it, though the amount of dust and cat hair that it has pulled from the carpet so far is quite disturbing.
  • I turned 27 on Wednesday, March 3, with little fanfare (as I didn't really desire any). I feel kind of weirdly old, and yet not old at the same time. Another year closer to the projected start of "Project Have Some Kids"...
  • Last night we lit out and hit the road, bound for fortune and glory in the mighty land of Canada! We're knocking about in the Niagara on the Lake wine region, visiting wineries, tasting their treasures, and fighting a desperate battle against going poor. We've tasted quite a number of excellent wines so far today, and we'll hit a few more wineries tomorrow before returning home. Tonight is dinner at Peller, where they've got a special tasting menu paired with wine, and we'll also be able to take part in a barrel tasting, so it should be a lot of fun. Liz is working on writing up her notes and will probably be posting them at some point this weekend or early in the week.

Ulp! Time to change for dinner! Cheers!

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Since we took care of all the birthday festivities a week ago, today feels like only a barely merry unbirthday. I am tuckered out from getting in late last night. Tomorrow is going to be a hassle picking up Grandma's clock (I have to be in Richfield at nine -- ugh!). And the week just sort of looks blah from here.

Oh well.

So I'm officially 26 now. One year closer to the big 30. One year closer to my somewhat arbitrarily imposed "start having kids" age of 28. And it's weird, because I know I want to have kids, eventually, but I don't know if I want "eventually" to be so damn soon. Am I ever going to feel responsible enough to be a father? Am I ever going to figure out what I want to do with my life? Am I ever going to get my proverbial shit together?

Tick... Tock...

(I guess it didn't help that Six Feet Under started its new season the other night.)

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Things and Stuff

It's time for an update, since I haven't posted in a few days. Let's see...

Had a nice little early birthday party thing on Saturday night. There were twelve of us once everyone arrived -- Jim, [info]gieves, Mandy, Don, Liz's friend Talitha (or however she spells it),'s Julie (sort of like "TV's Julie", but oh so much more glamorous), Angie, Brent, H2 and her husband Bob, and (obviously) Liz and myself. We dined on various tasty munchies, including the infamous Rocky River "bar cheese", a gloopy cheese dip rich with horseradish. We had some nice bottles of wine, though not as many as we expected. A rousing game of Cranium. Good times were had by all!

We decided to have the party a week earlier than we otherwise would. This has totally confused my dear friend Cathe, from whom I received a guilt-ridden email about how awful she felt about missing my birthday, despite the fact that it's really not until next Monday. To clarify, we had wanted to have the party on the first of March, but we'll be out of town to attend my grandfather's funeral. And we can't postpone it until the eighth, since we'll be in Ann Arbor to see the RSC. So one week early is better than two or three weeks late, in my opinion!

Gift highlights, if you must know, include the Lego Imperial Star Destroyer -- at 3100 pieces, the largest Lego set ever released -- thanks mom-in-law Anne! -- and a replica of the One Ring from H2, to caress during meetings and publicly call "my precioussssss...". I can't wait!

We finally got around to setting up our Frigits on Friday night. They are the ultimate cat toy. Set just one marble going, and the cat is upstairs and watching attentively in seconds. I'll post some pictures sometime. :-)

Sunday, I thought I'd go out and take advantage of Triple Points Weekend at Suncoast, and maybe do some errands. But what looked like "just an inch" of snow on our driveway turned out to be six inches (more in some places). I am a pretty miserable judge of snow depth from the inside of the house. Once we dug out from the snow, we went out to the mall, where the selection at Suncoast totally sucked, and I got all disappointed and cranky. At that point, we forgot about the other errands we had been planning and promptly went back home to ignore the outside world. This allowed us to munch on leftovers and catch up on Futurama, Batman Beyond, and so forth. Liz bid on (and won!) an auction for a Chilly Willy model cel. And I finally got around to seeing Heavenly Creatures, which I'd TiVo'd earlier in the week. What a charming, beautiful, and downright odd little movie! I had no idea what to expect from it, and was amused, frightened, shocked, and touched by it. Highly recommended.

What else? Hmm.

It was clear and warm on Thursday and Friday. I delighted in being able to drive my shiny, clean car to work on Friday morning. By midday, the clouds had come back, and Saturday was entirely rainy, so much so that nearly all of the snow melted. Then, as I alluded to above, we got slammed with snow in the wee hours of Sunday, with another round of snow today, just in time to make the morning drive miserable. Why haven't I moved somewhere warm yet?

This week I need to get my driver's license renewed (it expires on Monday!), and I need to buy a green shirt for Saturday. Since Grandpa was red/green colorblind, the family has decided to wear reds and greens to the grave. (The completely unsubstantiated and unscientific but delightfully sentimental theory being that he couldn't see those colors in this life, but can finally appreciate them...)

Oh, I remember now!

The guy who used to own,, and has let them expire, so I bought them today, as I should have years ago. Hopefully I will put them to better use than he did -- which shouldn't be hard, because he'd just left them pointed to stupid domain parking pages for the past three years or so. I feel an urge to get out my Daffy Duck voice and shout, "Mine mine mine! Down down down! Mine mine mine!"

And in conclusion, I would like to say that I totally need one of these.

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What words ryhme with "buried alive"?

Reasons to be happier than usual:

  • I had actual useful stuff to do today at work! And I might even have enough to keep me busy tomorrow too!
  • It got above freezing yesterday AND today, and tomorrow should be even warmer!
  • Today was SUNNY!!
  • My car is clean and beautiful again!
  • Had a wine tasting dinner last night at the Laurel Run cooking school, where I learned lots about French white wines, and surprised myself by discovering that I no longer dislike caviar. W00t!
  • A box came from UPS, that looks like a birthday present... It's from, and given its size, I have some pretty strong suspicions about what it might be! (Insert "Imperial March" here...)
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Hawaii Part Six

For the second time in as many days, it is New Year's Eve.

This is because we actually crossed the international date line sometime yesterday, making last night technically New Year's Eve. The Star stays on Honolulu time, though, so tonight is also New Year's Eve. I think it's Tuesday, somewhere, but I can't really be certain.

Our birthday girl is, naturally, delighted by this double celebration.

We spent all day at sea, rolling from one wave to the next, feeling a bit sloshed about in our cabin. Nights have been the worst, when the wind howls past our balcony. The sea bands seem to be helping, so I have been leaving them on as much as possible. The captain assured us that we are actually having very smooth seas, and that he is quite pleased with our voyage. I shudder to think about what it must be like out here when he considers it "bad."

Most of the day passed by while Liz and I napped, snuggled comfortably in our stateroom, emerging only for mealtimes. Toward mid-afternoon, we hit the spa for some hot tub time, and lay about on the lounge chairs there, watching the ship's wake trail off into the distance. The spa tubs are especially nice because they are not crowded, and no one under eighteen is allowed in the spa area. We split a mango smoothie at the fitness center before heading back to our cabin to rest some more.

Liz had a pedicure appointment this evening, and came back with shiny red toenails -- very nice. While she was away, I got into my tux, and had a few minutes to preen and prance around in front of the mirrors, practicing looking suave. Damn, did I look good. :-)

We met my parents downstairs at the grand atrium, where we got formal pictures taken. From there we went to our dinner at the SoHo Room, where we met up with Liz's mother, bearer of the almighty champagne. Anne had picked up a bottle of Dom that was simply superlative; it effervesced away in our mouths as we drank it, and it was quite a delightful match with the sea scallop appetizer that Liz and I had selected. My steak was a taste of heaven, and Liz's monkfish was out of this world. My parents seemed to enjoy their veal chop, having basically picked it clean. Anne says her tiger prawns were also quite good. For dessert, I had the clear winner, a chocolate cheesecake dipped in tempura batter and fried. Mmmm-mm!

Liz and I noticed, with some satisfaction, that the captain had also selected the same restaurant that we had. That's kind of a nice validation of one's tastes.

The staff brought out a birthday cake for Liz and we all sang. I hope we succeeded in embarrassing her.

Then my parents were off to "The Music of the Night," a song and dance production of a bunch of Andrew Lloyd Webber tunes, while Liz and I headed back to our room to crash.

Addendum, from the next morning:

Liz says that the countdown to midnight woke her up. She says she tried to wake me up, to little avail. It apparently went something like this:

Liz: Monkey, wake up.
Me: ...
Liz: Monkey, happy new year!
Me: zznurgh?
Liz: Monkey, it's the new year! Happy new year! I love you!
Me: Okay. That's nice. I'm going back to sleep now.

At least, that's her story.

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