a guy and a bee

a collection of random thoughts and ideas from me, her, and sometimes us

Category Archives: random

mattress capital of the world?

has anyone else noticed recently that columbia seems to be the mattress capital of the world? i hadn’t really noticed this until lately when one mattress store left the columbia crossing shopping center and 2 days later there was another one. maybe the sign just changed and it caught my eye, but after that i started noticing more and more of the these places. there is basically a mattress store in every strip mall if you haven’t noticed. and if there isn’t a mattress store, there is a furniture store that sells mattresses.

is there a need for this many mattress stores and how do they stay in business in a down economy? i know i haven’t bought a mattress in several years and with the price tag on these things, people are more likely to continue to stretch their bucks and not replace an older mattress. am i missing something here and should get a new mattress? i count at least 9 on the yellow pages site and several more in laurel and other parts of the county. i know howard county is big, but i’d imagine there isn’t a need for this many mattress stores.

what am i missing here and why does it seem columbia is the mattress capital of the world?!

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mental note: places to eat

this is my mental note on places to eat. most of them are in howard county but i do venture out of the area to try some places. most recently when we were in towson last month we tried the S&J crab ranch, which was very tasty. if you have any suggestions or feedback let me know. generally, i stick with american or italian food. i’m not really a big fan of spicy food or rice/beans so that ends up cutting out most mexican or asian cuisines. i am sure i will blog about them after i try them as well.

so here’s the list:
hickory ridge grill
victoria’s gastro pub
sonoma’s
2nd chance saloon
cafe de paris
aida bistro
pub dog
venegas prime filet
the corner stable

that’s all i have for now. maybe this will help us not go to the same places all the time!

work travel

does your significant other travel for work a bunch? lately, bee has been traveling for work and i was thinking about how different things are around the house when she’s not here. it’s certainly quieter but i can also leave stuff wherever i want (until she comes home at least). of course that didn’t work out in my favor when bee was in chicago and a fell and fractured my rib, haha. i also find myself eating out every meal. if she’s away any portion of a weekend, i can pretty much guarantee eating out at 4-5 straight meals. sometimes with my folks, sometimes by myself but not at home.

the other thing i end up doing is cleaning up more and getting things together for when she returns. sometimes i end up fixing things that i put off i guess mostly because i have the time to do it. many times, i’ll find a random card for her to tell her i missed her.

anyway, i guess it’s just one of those things i was thinking about last week when i was home alone. it’s always good to enjoy some downtime and time along to reflect. so my question for you is, what do you do differently when your significant other is away?

happy anniversary to us!

lately, it’s been go go go and today we took the day to enjoy our anniversary. bee and i now have been married for two years. like any couple we’ve had a our ups and downs and are always working on keeping our strong relationship going. since we both decided to take off work today, we wondered down to annapolis and walked around the shops. i ended up buying a pair of new sperry’s but that was about it. other than food of course as we got food in several places as we walked around, LOL. i didn’t really need more shoes but am my mother’s son and couldn’t pass them up. it was nice to go on a day that wasn’t the weekend. the slower pace let you walk through stores at your own speed and talk to many of the shop owners. in the spring and summer, i am sure it’s busier on a a random tuesday, but not today. we were even the only people on the dock so we snapped this photo via her ipod touch.

we are typically big present people and i always win at getting the best presents but this year we struggled with anniversary gifts. if you follow the traditions, the 2nd year anniversary present is either cotton or china depending on whether you follow the traditional or modern gift list. we aren’t really big china people and didn’t even get any fine china for our wedding. her co-workers suggested that she get me something “made in china.” as far as cotton, that didn’t really fit either so we basically ended up present-less although i did pick up a couple things from the vera bradley outlet for her since her pattern is being discontinued.

after we wondered the docks, we headed to crate and barrel and pottery barn. it’s a requirement for her every time we are out that way since there isn’t one in columbia. we bought a interesting serving bowl, so maybe that qualifies as china. haha. for dinner, we headed to george martin’s grillfire over in arundel preserve (it’s in “The Hotel”). we went for my birthday and really enjoyed it so we went back. it’s more upscale but not really fancy or traditional fine dining. she got the cobb salad and i had a nice marinated skirt steak. we started with their mac and cheese. they have a fantastic cheese bread that they bring out to every table so if you go, keep an eye out for it. the food was pretty good again and i am sure we will be back. my buddy gave us a coupon but it didn’t fit the requirements of the fine print so i guess we have to go back! we finished the meal with some cotton candy so i guess all in all, we filled both the cotton and china anniversary presents but just got them for ourselves instead of for one another.

so here is to many more years of happiness and happy anniversary to us!

i don’t get the baseball hall of fame selection committee

every player and sports fan even wants to be in their respective hall of fame. lately it seems like some of the hall of fames are under issues. for example, in the NFL HOF, there is always questions about art modell not getting selected as a great contributor or cris carter selected at WR. anyway, in the baseball hall of fame, my gripe is that it always seems like people get in after years of trying. how does this happen when the players stats don’t change after they’ve retired. the main issue here is the baseball writers association of america. the BBWAA is lame. many of these people vote on unwritten rules or made up issues about how they don’t like a guy or that they can’t vote on a first time balloter. a guy like cal ripken jr. doesn’t get a unanimous vote because one or two guys don’t vote for a first ballot guy. the guy that saved baseball and will have a streak that will never be broken. the guy that revolutionized the shortstop position and paved the wave for guys like jeter and a-rod. granted he also grounded into the most double plays in baseball history but if you played 2,632 straight games, you might have a bad stat or two.

anyway, my point is that these guys are voting in players and most of them probably haven’t played a game since rec league if at all. and my main point here is that players who are on the ballot year after year go up and down and might eventually get into the hall because all the sudden these writers think it’s a good time that player to get in. for example, this year, barry larkin was selected as the lone member of the class of 2012. he received 86.4% of the vote, but just last year, he only received 62.1%. the year before that 51.6%. so how does a guy that wasn’t deserving two years ago and only half the writers voted for all the sudden garner a 80%+ vote by the same guys that said two years ago he shouldn’t be in? don’t get me wrong, larkin helped the reds win the world series in 1990 and has some nice stats. he was an all star, gold glover, silver slugger and NL MVP so why of all the sudden does someone completely change their mind and decide to put him in? it’s not like they had a stacked ballot last year for the election with roberto alomar and bret blyleven getting in. you can make this case for many of the people who have gone in over the years. this year as well the late ron santo was elected by the veterans committee. in 1980, santo received 15% of the vote. now with each voter only getting 10 votes and players like willie mays, al kaline, brooks robinson, and others getting elected in the late ’70s/early ’80s, i can see santo not getting in at the time but now he gets elected by the hall of fame veterans committee after not getting much support decades ago.

anyway, at what point do we get a selection committee that puts people in based on merit and ability and not by a group of writers who make a decision on who knows what. it is prestigious and an honor to get into the hall of fame and i hope they would all vote that way. on a side note, according to wikipedia, the sports writers at the baltimore sun aren’t permitted to be in the group by their employers.

i won’t say that the BBWAA is a joke, i just think there has to be a better way to select future HOF members. and who knows, maybe one day roger maris will get inducted. or jack morris.

a trip to the air and space museum

yesterday, bee and i took a trip to the air and space museum, the udvar-hazy air and space museum. bee had never been to this one but she’s always loved the main museum downtown. now that one is her second favorite, haha. if you haven’t been, it’s out by dulles airport and holds tons of different airplanes as well as the enterprise space shuttle (s00n to be replaced by the discovery). if you have been to the other museum, you will know that it has more of the history of planes and aviation where as the udvar hazy museum has lots of planes, many of them military and/or donated by companies or private collectors.

we arrived around noon and started with the space shuttle. they have a separate whole hanger/wing for the the shuttle and lots of the other different NASA paraphernalia as well as the history of space flight and rockets. if you haven’t been to a shuttle launch or seen a shuttle in person, the sheer size of it is incredible. to think they were all built in the ’60s and have flown for years as technology has grown leaps and bounds is amazing. as a child after a trip to key west, we stumbled upon a shuttle launch on the way back and stayed an extra day so we could see. what an incredible experience to see it lift off and take that crazy adventure. anyway, from the picture to the left, you can see the scale of the enterprise and the building itself.

after we wandered around the space shuttle and the different NASA items, we moved through the main portion of the building. when you enter the main part of the facility, you come across an SR-71 blackbird. at over 100 feet long of stealth technology, it’s a sight to see. from there there are lots of war planes and civil aviation items. a whole section of stunt planes and different planes from the early decades of aviation hang from the ceiling. a supersonic, concorde from air france spans across what felt like half of the floor. on the other side there are planes from WWII, both US and German, as well as an F-15 Tomcat and JSF X35B and many more. there was a speech taking place from several members of the tuskegee airmen as part of a black history month celebration. we took a lot of photos of different propellers and hope to do some sort of photo display of them. we did not get a chance to go up in the observation tower because the line was pretty long and decided not to wait as i am sure we will be back. it does cost $15 to park, but to enter the museum it’s free, so there’s that.

we took lots more photos and posted some of them on my flickr page here.

after the museum, we went over to the outlets in leesburg and did a little shopping. we bought some new beach towels, which was entertaining because at one point there were flurries coming down. afterwards, we met a couple of our good friends and fellow elon alumni who live down that way for dinner at dogfish alehouse. after a whole day of hanging out and relaxing, we got home and passed out. surprisingly, bee didn’t even fall asleep on the way home in the car.

casual friday

i don’t know about you guys, but my office has a business casual attire dress code on a regular basis and on friday, most go for the casual friday attire. no ties required at the office, unless you have an important meeting with a customer. and while we have casual friday, it seems like because we have a mix of blue collar and white collar workers, casual friday has been taken to a whole new level. granted, it’s nothing like meredith from the office. LOL.

now, most people during football season or occasionally on baseball season will wear their favorite team and players’ jersey. don’t expect any fashion icons to be showing up out of a group of engineers. maybe some slightly over worn jeans, but the other day, i saw a guy in a cut off sleeve t-shirt and it wasn’t even friday. why has casual friday and business casual attire gone downhill so far? granted, i understand that the blue collar workforce doesn’t really need to wear a pair of khakis and a collared shirt, but let’s at least put on something with sleeves and have a little respect for yourself and the office. some of us didn’t buy tickets to the gun show for a reason.

i am sure someone else had a cut off sleeve shirt one today as well. probably the same guy but i didn’t see him. maybe it’s just me, but i feel like casual friday has really gotten casual in the office. even hooded sweatshirts are making an appearance at the office.

what’s up with maple lawn?

maple lawn, off of rt. 29

anyone else notice that maple lawn doesn’t seem to be catching fire like expected? built in 2005 and publicized as a mixed use community, it seems like maple lawn hasn’t blossomed like many have expected. as the community grows and more and more move into the area, maybe it will thrive more but as of this point many years later it seems to be lackluster at best.

i recently heard that the AAA offices might be moving out of their location there and back to columbia off of snowden river parkway and route 32. if that happens, it will be another company in the long line of companies that tried to have a location there that have failed. granted, it’s not the greatest economy these days, but match that with it’s location, it doesn’t seem to be drawing many people who don’t live close by. trapeze (correction from wordbones, thanks!!) green turtle, maggie moo’s, a pizza place that i can’t recall the name, and several other restaurants have tried to make it over there and have closed. the latest to close up is pita and rye. although it is believed to be temporarily closed per their website, it isn’t drawing customers to the area. one the bright side, a new harris teeter location opened up awhile back and they added a fast food chain, which should do well because there aren’t many options like that in the area. ultimately, i like the area and hope it does well, but it doesn’t seem to be going that way. we haven’t been to the looney’s that replaced the green turtle yet and weren’t impressed with pita and rye so we’ll see what’s next. that end of the county needs more options in my opinion so when facci and kloby’s, at johns hopkins road, are too crowded there is somewhere else to go eat and shop.

do you visit maple lawn? is it too far from traditional columbia for you to visit? just don’t make it to that part of the county?

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double-take on the MARC train

grown man gets on the train holding an old, stained, smelly, gross booster seat (yup, like for a toddler).  no teeny, tiny little person in tow.  picks a seat, sits the booster down, and sits in/on it.  he is not a small man.

oh, and there was also a girl with blue hair.

i love the morning commute.

orioles, what’s next?

new 2012 logo!

with the ravens season over, it’s time to focus on baseball season. being born and raised in the baltimore area, i was raised as an orioles fan. growing up with the oriole way was great but not being old enough to remember the ’83 world series and not seeing one since has been a tough way to be a fan. as we all  know, the last 14 years have been tough for any orioles fan; however, i can’t give up on them now.

“What? Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”

having grown up as a baseball fan and playing and umpiring baseball for the vast majority of my life, i always watch the game with a critical eye. i sometimes joke that i’ve forgotten more about the rules of baseball them some people know. we all know this year is going to be a another rough year. there was promise when andy mcphail came in and things went okay and now that he is gone, dan duquette is attempting to put his stamp on this organizations. he’s stirred up things in the front office, but has he done enough? we’ve had a problem developing talent for years now and some of those people that were in charge for the last several years are still around. as far as the talent on the field, i haven’t been blown away. seems like more of the same but on a bigger scale. he’s brought in a lot of decent talent and some older talent as well as a mix of foreign born players. many of these guys are expected to strengthen the organization overall but how many of them will make a splash with the big league club? on the surface, i like some of the deals that they have made.

new oriole, tsuyoshi wada

i would have hoped they showed up and made a splash with a #1 pitcher, especially now that Guthrie has been traded, but there’s two sides to everything and one of those guys would have to want to come here as well. now we have a chance with the guys like wada, ayala, hammel, eveland, and a cast of others who we have signed to bolster up a rotation with guys who hopefully have bright futures like britton, matusz, arrieta, and tillman.

they’ve also worked to bolster up the other position players. when i say worked, we don’t know if they will work or if anyone of the trades/signings are any good. right now, none of them remind me of the hardy trade last year but hopefully they will turn into a nugget as showalter would say. i’ll leave all the advance stats and sabremetrics up to the experts like camden crazies and camden depot, but on my gut feel, and i know many of the others feel the same way, it’s going to be a tough season. last year, i had great hope for the team. at the start of the season , i had them at .500 or better, but this year, i think its going to a struggle to even get there.

this year as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of oriole park at camden yards, i am going to continue to enjoy the team and the stadium. for the second year, bee has gotten us a partial game plan for my birthday. it’s been different the last couple years enjoying the game through the eyes of someone who is new to the game. when we get to the stadium, i enjoy watching the game through her eyes and explaining many of the different aspects of the game to her. having been to at least 150 games, from memorial stadium to camden yards, it’s neat to see someone who is new to the sport. i’ve seen great games, terrible games, games in final week of the streak, the orioles vs. cuba game, fireworks games, and many more. this year, again, we will cheer on her favorite player, nick markakis and many others, and give it the old college try. just like the orioles.

what’s next? who knows what will happen. maybe, for a lost generation of orioles fans who haven’t seen a winning team, we will see a billy beane like season and make a run to better than .500 and make a run at the postseason.

see you at the yard! i’ve met lots of great people there over the years so stop by!

oriole park, photo courtesy of me on flickr

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