Dozer Online


Big snow storm

A big overnight snow fall has pretty much shut down the city. It's too bad this didn't happen tomorrow; I hate to waste a snow day on a federal holiday. Oh well...


Daredevil movie

No romantic weekend is complete without a superhero flick, so yesterday Liv and I saw the Daredevil movie.

I liked this movie quite a bit. It was faithful to the original comic book, with several lines and images taken directly from the printed page.

Several minor characters in the movie are named after actual comic book creators. So if you hear someone in the theater laughing for no apparent reason, it's a comic book geek recognizing a name.

Anyway, Ben Affleck actually did a good job playing a man wracked with physical and moral turmoil, which you don't often see in the escapist action genre.

Since it's an action movie, it should surprise no one that Daredevil includes plot holes, abbreviated character interaction, some cheesy tough guy dialogue, and some too-over-the-top stunts.

But overall, I was very happy with this. With two Matrix movies, an X-Men sequel, and the conclusion to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, 2003 is looking to be a good year for geek moviedom.


Dinner at Dozer's

The day before Valentines Day was very fun for myself and Liv.

Now, for Valentines Day itself, I ventured into territory that is rarely ventured by me: cooking.

Like a typical bachelor, I don't cook very often. I never cook when I can bake, I never bake when I can microwave, and I never microwave when I can call for buffalo wings.

In fact, I once seriously considered using my kitchen space to store comic books.

So I figured that cooking would be a good treat. I prepared chicken cordon bleu bundles, which is actually pretty rudimentary. But it did involve actual sauteeing, which is not a small deal for me.

The dish turned out well, and we both enjoyed it. In fact, I plan to make cooking a regular weekend activity.


Breakfast at Tiffanys

Here’s a Dozer fact for you: I’ve never celebrated Valentines Day. Sure, I got the occasional card during grade school. And though it escapes my memory, but it’s entirely plausible that I may have given a valentine card or two way back when.

But my romantic record has been so consistently spotty that I’ve never been in a relationship during Valentines Day. So I’ve never had to face that seminal challenge of dating.

Not until now, anyway.

Liv and I started the festivities on the day before Valentines. The Visions Cinema was holding a special screening of Breakfast at Tiffany's. This is one of Liv's favorite movies, and I hadn't seen it yet, so we attended the screening.

Visions had a small restaurant and bar, so we met early for dinner. The theater hosted a free champagne bar beforehand, so the lobby grew pretty crowded pretty quickly. They were even handing out heart-shaped pastries to go with the bubbly.

A group of four crowded into our table space, but no one minded. It was one of those nice social situations where people you've never seen before, and probably won't see again, cross your path and provide for some fun conversation while they're around.

The movie was good also. This was Liv's first social foray into the city since moving here. So I was happy to begin showing her all the nice DC spots.


All my pride is all I have...

There is one lingering side-effect from helping Liv move this past weekend that is really bothering me.

It's not sore muscles. Liv didn't have anything that was too heavy, so I didn't strain myself. I was even capable of doing jumping jacks during the commercial breaks of Buffy the Vampire Slayer last night.

The main aftershock of the move is the endless parade of pop songs that are running through my head.

I couldn't listen to my own musical selection on the road. The rental truck that I drove didn't have a CD player; it didn't even have a humble cassette deck. So I scanned up and down the radio bandwidth during the drive, deluging myself with the most pop music exposure than I'd experienced in months.

The hits du jour linger in my mind. When I wake up, I hear LL Cool J begging for forgiveness over J. Lo's squeaky vocals. At work, the Dixie Chicks sing about landslides. And at night, Avril Lavigne yells "Yeah yeah yeah!" at the top of her lungs because she didn't want to write those two extra lines of lyrics.

Not that I'm complaining. I can thumb my nose at popular tastes as well as the next on-line ranter, but I'm sure a few of these songs will end up on my monthly music mix.

But geez, Budget, can't you at least splurge for cassette decks in your vehicles? Honestly...


My brush with political scandal

Helping Liv move this weekend wasn’t my first time driving a rental truck. In my first year of college, I worked on the election board for the student government. During the actual election, I spent two days driving a U-haul across campus, picking up and dropping off ballot boxes.

It was actually pretty fun plowing this big motor vehicle across the campus walkways, scattering students in my wake. But my attempts at creative parking racked up a few expensive tickets.

Fortunately, the student government covered the ticket fees. But during the next semester’s election season, an opposition party ran ads accusing the ruling party of spending tuition dollars on parking tickets.

Thus ends my history of political graft and corruption.


The big move

It's natural for a guy to be nervous when his girlfriend moves in. But I was more worried about the actual moving process.

I had to drive a small rental truck across Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Much of this journey ran along the Pennsylvania turnpike, which could get narrow and twisty at times.

In the days before the move, I couldn't help but concoct nightmare scenarios of tipping over and plummeting down the Pennsylvania hills, or fighting off vehicle thieves in hotel parking lots armed with nothing but complementary soap bars and towels.

To my surprise, the trip went smoothly. Liv and I broke up the journey into two parts - vehicle loading and driving to Breezewood PA on Saturday, finishing the journey and unloading on Sunday.

So now the moving is done, and the real journey begins.


A one-way flight to Ohio

Three nights ago, I was staring down a snow storm. I was driving home from my writers group meeting, and a thick snow fall kept traffic under a slow pace.

As a native mid-westerner, driving in snow didn't bother me too much. But I was worried about how long the snow would last, since I had to catch a flight into Ohio the next day.

I had no intention of flying back. Instead, I would drive a rental truck along the Pennsylvania turnpike and help Liv move to DC. At least I would if the weather didn't get in the way.

Fortunately, it didn't. The snow ended just late enough to close my workplace to non-emergency personnel. At the same time, road crews were able to plow the streets clean before I had to set out for the airport.

The flight went smoothly, and I was able to join Liv at the farewell party that her co-workers threw for her. There were good potluck dishes and going-away presents. Liv's going-away presents were far more dignified that the gifts that I got when I left Cleveland. But that's a story for another time...


Guest writer at Cat Vacuuming

No writing exercises this week at Cat Vacuuming.

Instead, we had our first guest speaker - Christopher Cason, author of the children's book Even Ground.

Cason began by summarizing his book, which was about an African-American girl who deals with physical disability, low finances, and a menacing bully in a new hometown.

Then Cason talked about his experiences in writing and promoting his story.

For starters, he stressed the importance of "stealing time" for writing. Since he had a full-time reporting job and two children to care for, he couldn't afford to let many moments go by idly. For example, he worked out stories in his head mentally while driving. This is perhaps my greatest weakness as an aspiring writer, since my time management skills are horrible.

He also talked about promoting your work. Even if a writer gets published, the publisher will likely provide no promotional support. So it's up to the writer to get the word out, so to speak.

Book stores are a good venue to set up talks and book signings, as long as you contact the proper person (usually a community events manager).

Newspapers, magazines, and even radio shows can be used to promote a book. The trick is to send interesting press release material that will stand out in the daily deluge of mail that these media outlets receive.

Cason also noted that conducting book research through phone interviews isn't as difficult as it may seem. People usually enjoy being a resource, as long as they think you're serious about writing.

Finally, he gave a glowing review for the iUniverse print-on-demand publishing service.

Our conversation with Cason took up most of the meeting, so we didn't have much time for our scheduled book talk. This was fine by me, as I never finished reading the book anyway.


Stephen King on writing

I've been reading the book "On Writing" by Stephen King for an upcoming book discussion with the Cat Vacuuming Society writers group.

The book is an autobiography, but it's full of observations on writing as a process and as a business.

It's a quick read, and I hope I can finish this before the book discussion on Thursday. But I'm plenty busy with cleaning up my apartment for Liv's arrival, so we'll see...


Spycraft game begins

Yesterday, my Spycraft role-playing group began game play.

The game is set in the world of Shadowforce Archer, a James Bond-like setting of cinematic espionage and science fiction.

Our group went through a simple training scenario, so that the players could get accustomed to the rules. The game was fun, and the company, as last time, was enjoyable.


Saving Tony Danza

Just over a week ago, I made an agreement with another member of the DCplay group to organize an event.

So last night, I put out a call to see the sketch comedy show Saving Tony Danza at the DC Arts Center.

Over a dozen people met at Chez Antoine to get drinks and dinner before the show. The place is small, but it has crepes and a good bar (if you like ciders and fruity beers).

The comedy show was given by three improv actors. It had plenty of clever sketch premises and some good laughs. My personal favorite involved a certain caped crusader who had to endure some financial downsizing after the Enron collapse. The show probably could have done well with shorter breaks between the skits to preserve the performance's momentum. Still, people had a good time.

Afterwards, some of the group parked at the Cities restaurant, yelling conversation over the trendy dance music. Then we indulged ourselves in massive, foot-wide pizza slices across the street.


Chili and catching up

A friend from my high school days visited me last night. He was on assignment in Norfolk, Virginia, and he drove up to spend the night. I was going to take him on a Capitol Hill pub crawl, but traffic, rain, and confusing road signs delayed his arrival. So instead, I took him to a local bar with good burgers and chili. There, we shared beer and our most recent news.