December 14, 2018: Fuller House Season Four

Friday.  Today is the release of season four of Fuller House.  Luciana has been obsessing about this for weeks and is so excited that it is finally out.  She has asked for weeks on a status every day.  

I had to be up really early this morning to do some work.  So I started my day before six in the morning.  I worked for a few hours and had originally thought that I was going to take a nap after some work, but the work ended up going on for so long that I decided that I might as well just stay up and work.

Today, Valentina made a new drawing of me riding a unicorn farting a rainbow for an advertising campaign.  Luciana says that she wants a poster of it for her bedroom.  I love it, it is so cool.  It got a lot of love on Instagram, too.

But we could not drop everything and spend the day watching Netflix.  It was a work day first.

GOG’s Winter Sale gave away Full Throttle Remastered for free today which is amazing, because this was one of my absolutely most desired games to get on my wishlist this year and I totally got it for free!  GOG is the best.

I managed to work through a couple more boxes today of stuff that moved down from New York.  The progress on all of that is very slow, but at least there is progress.  Once we head down to Houston there is going to be a lot more space in the garage to move around and get things sorted and cleaned because Francesca has three large pieces of furniture at the end of the garage that is in the way.  Paul is going to drive that all down in his truck.  So that will make cleaning up the garage so much easier.

Paul has gotten everything that we need to use the shelves that we currently have now, so that is going to accelerate things quite a lot as we can put books and such onto shelves now.  We had only been able to use half of our shelving capacity since getting down from New York because the little nubs that hold up the shelves have been missing.  And now that some desks have been moved in and assembled in the dining room we already have a bit more room.  Paul is thinking that two more, large metal racks will go into the garage along the inside wall towards my office and once we do that we should be in good shape.

We are already getting to the point where we are just about to need to start the process of converting the DVDs that are in boxes.  The game plan is to go DVD by DVD and get it moved over to the NAS.  Then put the DVD itself onto a spindle to compress the physical space that it takes up and to throw out the plastic box that they are all in.  That, alone, might clear out a quarter of the garage and make all of the extra space just “go away.”  That is a year long project at least.  

Once the DVDs are completed, then the same thing needs to happen with CDs.  Only we don’t plan on throwing out the cases.  Those, we think, will move up to the attic into deep storage.  Then the kids can deal with them sometime in the indefinite future when they have to clean out our house after we have gone.

I got my office cleaned up a bit today.  It has been a bit hard to work in there as it was so crowded.  It is still a mess, but far better now.  I can walk to my desk, at least, now.

This evening Dominica made muzi muzi for dinner and the family settled in to all watch the fourth season of Fuller House together.  We’ve all been waiting a long time for this.  So we did that until it was time for bed.  I needed to go to bed on the early side tonight as I was pretty tired after only getting a few hours last night and working a very long day.

Once the kids went to bed, Dominica and I watched The Ballad of Buster Scruggs on Netflix which just released recently.  It was well shot and has some amazing acting and footage.  But, overall, it was not very interesting.  Most of the stories were overly predictable, gory, and depressing.  It is six short stories, but almost no story is really ever told.  It was a selection of quality cinema vignettes, but it lacked real substance.  If you are really into film as a study, it is pretty good quality.  But as something to watch for enjoyment, it’s just lacking.

December 13, 2018: New Portrait

Thursday.  This week has been so crazy that I was not even sure if today was Thursday or Tuesday.  I kept thinking that the week had just begun, but it is actually nearly over.

Today was just a busy, head down kind of work day.  Got a lot done and was very happy about it.  The kids spent loads of time working on projects for Christmas.  This year we are working hard on focusing on the kids making meaningful and thoughtful gifts for people, rather than buying things.  So they have been hard at work making stuff for days and have a lot to do yet.  Dominica is hoping to be leaving for Houston on Saturday morning if she can get all ready by then.

Rachel is supposed to be back on Sunday, so the plan is that we are going to go out to The Church to go dancing on Sunday after she returns from Austin.  

I spent several hours today working on the phone with Valentina.  We tend to do video calls while we work so she was looking at me for a few hours while we worked and she sketched this new picture of me today while we were working.  It’s awesome, I should use it as a my new avatar, my old one has been there for so long now at this point.

This evening I relaxed and watched a bit of Star Trek: Enterprise.  I have to get in some time with it before tomorrow since Fuller House releases tomorrow and the girls have been waiting for that for forever and we will be watching nothing but that once it releases.  I am making very good progress on Enterprise.  It is not that long of a show, I will be through it all in no time.

December 9, 2018: Sunday to Relax

Sunday.  It has been a very busy week and today is my day to catch up and, most importantly, relax.

This morning Francesca asked us to do some research on the video game Fortnite which, until today, I had heard of but had no idea anything about it.  But I had spoken to a friend who was getting it set up for their kids because they really enjoyed it just this morning, so it seems to be the topic for the day.

Did a bit of research on it and ended up getting it set up for the girls today so that they could test it out.  Seems like it might be fun for them to play online with their cousins.

Liesl has been playing Elder Scrolls Online this weekend as it is free for a few days to get people hooked.  I tried playing it a little, but my verdict was that it was a massively large install (which I did yesterday) and not all that engaging.  Not like Skyrim or Oblivion were.  It didn’t draw me in and the idea of playing online with other people makes me so much more wary of it.  That seems like a lot of work and no extra value.

Liesl tried playing it and put in quite a bit of time but her character was ruined by getting stuck a few different places and having to spend in game gold to get them unstuck.  Making players play for game glitches isn’t a fun way to game.  And it was bad enough that she had to kill her character and start over having no way to recover from a glitch.

But while I immediately wrote the game off after the trial as being decent, but not good enough to bother playing, Liesl say that she enjoyed it and might want to play it.  Which really surprised me.

The girls started playing Fortnite tonight, just a little.  I played one game of it myself and found it insanely boring.  But Liesl tried it out later on and decided that it seemed like a lot of fun.  So we will see.

This evening, once Dominica and I got the living room television back from the girls, we watched several episodes of Babylon 5.  Oddly, this is a show that came out when both of us were teenagers, but neither of us every watched.  Amazing, given that it is exactly the kind of show that you would think that we would have watched.  For me, it came out right as I had started college and I was just busy with other things and it was over and forgotten before I ever had a chance to check out television again.

December 8, 2018: Egg Nog Soire

Yesterday was definitely one epic day.  Today I have the morning to get caught up on work a little, relax some, and getting ready for going on this evening with the same crew to a “Egg Nog Soire” at Ryan and Michelle’s house.

I spent the morning in the office.  Being gone for an entire Friday left me with a lot of stuff that I still needed to work on before I go anywhere today.  So it was a pretty busy work morning, and seeing the kids while I could.

Paul and Dominica went out and did some grocery shopping this morning while I was around.  They ran errands all morning, barely getting back in time for me to get ready to leave.

Liesl, the Flamingo Girl with her new bracelet from the Dallas Zoo


Luciana, the Penguin girl, notice her bracelet from the Dallas Zoo

I had to get ready around three, and get on the road a little after four.  I am not taking the train today, that works for the zoo which sits directly on the train line, but does not work for going to a house party on the south side of the river, that is both too far away and in the part of the city least served by the train system.  I don’t even know if one of the train lines goes into that region of the city.

Looking later, it looks like the Dallas Streetcar goes somewhere near there, and the very end of the Red Line might go to the general vicinity.  But nothing goes very close or is very convenient.

So after four I hopped into the car, and drove down to Kessler.  Dominica had picked up a bottle of wine for me to take to the party.  I had been hoping that Dominica would go with me today, but this morning she decided that she was having a bit of a panic attack thinking about going to a party at the house of people that she did not know and having to spend the entire evening making conversation with loads of strangers without even a single person that she had ever met before being there (other than me.)  I tried to see if Rachel would want to go, but she had to work this afternoon showing houses over in Fort Worth, and then had some parties of her own that she attended instead.  She later regretted not having dropped things to have gone as her other stuff was a bust and this was exactly the kind of party that she would have enjoyed.  And it would have been perfect for her real estate career.  She needs to go to more places where she is going to interact with potential clients.

So I went to the party all by myself, which in reality worked out pretty well.  I am comfortable meeting new people and making conversation and am pretty approachable.  If I had had someone with me, that would have been a lot harder to meet new people and would have been a lot of us talking to each other.  So in the end, while it would have been nice not to have have to have gone alone, it worked out pretty well that I did.

The party went until well after midnight.  It was a really nice crowd and I had a really good time getting to know people.  And the egg nog was really good.  The house was gorgeously decorated, too.  Definitely my kind of party.

It was a fun day, but a long one.  A very busy weekend.  I am ready for some sleep.

December 7, 2018: Dallas Zoo

I have never been to the Dallas Zoo before.  I have been to the Fort Worth Zoo a few times, back when Liesl was little.  We used to drive out there, before Luciana was born and maybe when she was a little baby.  I don’t believe that we have returned to the Fort Worth Zoo since we moved out of Texas in 2013.  We have barely been to any zoo, for that matter.  We went to the Lisbon Zoo in 2012.  For Dominica and me, it all seems so recent.  But the reality is is that the kids almost never go to the zoo.  It seems weird that they have been to so few.  I am sure that I am forgetting some.  I know that we went to the zoo in Targu Mares in Romania, that was 2016.  And of course we went to the Atlanta Aquarium earlier this year, and that is kind of a zoo (it has otters!)  And they have been to the “zoo” in Disney World several times, but not since 2015 (days before we moved to Spain.)

This morning I got to work and put in about two or three hours of normal work and coordinating for my meeting with Boardroom Events this afternoon when Hilary decided that we should meet at the Dallas Zoo since there is a bar there that serves drinks.

I wanted to take the train and not deal with driving and especially not deal with parking.  So that made for a long day of train travel.  But the DART tickets are only three dollars since I would be leaving after noon, so you just can’t beat that.  But that meant that I needed to get moving really early.  So I handed the reins over to Rodrigo around eleven so that I could shower, get dressed, and get out the door. That made for a very busy morning as I tried to get as much done as possible before heading out for my meeting that was certainly going to go until the end of the day by the time that the train would get me back home.

Paul dropped me at the train station at Trinity Mills just after noon.  It was chilly and threatening to rain.  I got my ticket and had to wait about ten minutes before my south bound train arrived to pick me up.

I tried to get Dominica to bring the girls today, they would love getting a day to go to the zoo.  But Dominica did not want to tag along to a meeting and did not think that the girls would be happy given the weather situation.  So we will have to try to bring them some other time.

I rode the Green Line all the way down to the West End Station.  I had to make the transfer there to the Red Line, which I have never taken before.  I had a good twenty minutes to wait there, and it started to rain pretty hard and was very cold.  I had forgotten to have anything to drink, nothing at all, all morning so was pretty thirsty and cold and really wanted some coffee.  I tried to find a Seven Eleven, but spotted a nice Urban Roasters (or something like that) right next to the West End Station so ducked in there and scored myself a nice Americano to take to the zoo with me.  I stayed inside as long as I could safely do to keep out of the rain.

Scott Alan Miller Riding the Green Line out of Trinity Mills

I caught the Red Line south.  A homeless guy got on the train with me and talked to me all the way to the zoo.  He “scammed” me for some money, but whatever, I knew what he was doing.  He put in a lot of effort for some money and clearly needed it.  And he got me to the zoo and directed me where I needed to do which was handy.

The Red Line goes right to the Dallas Zoo front gates, it is so convenient.  And some days, you can even get two dollars off of your admission to the zoo if you take public transportation to get there.  So that makes it that much better.  Parking down there can be a pain and is ten dollars!  So avoiding that is a big deal.

It was cold, rainy, and a school day.  So the zoo was totally empty.  I mean… empty.  No one anywhere.  I went to the front and paid to get in.  It turned out that there was no public transportation discount on a Friday, but they gave it to me anyway since I was like the only zoo patron of the day!  I got directions to the Serengeti Grill and headed that direction.

It was a good walk to the grill, which we had heard was the place to go.  I saw no humans in the main part of the zoo.  I stopped and saw a few animals.  A mandrill yelled at me a bit.  I saw a few people walking under the “tunnel” that divides the two parts of the zoo going under the highway, but that was about it.  I got to the Africa portion of the zoo and all of the people disappeared heading off in another direction.  

Scott Alan Miller at the Serengeti Grill at the Dallas Zoo in the Rain

I got to the grill a bit ahead of Hilary, so I walked around and checked out a few exhibits in the area, and then settled in on the veranda to await her arrival.

Hilary got to the zoo a little behind me and had the funny experience of paying to get in and the front cashier telling her that her friend was already at the Serengeti Grill waiting for her, lol.  She was pretty shocked that the whole zoo knew that we were meeting there, but we were the only people there.  But it really highlights just had desolate the entire experience was. 

We checked out the grill but discovered that they did not serve alcohol there like we had been led to believe.  So that was a bust.  There were at least three people working there, though.  They must have been bored out of their minds.  No people in the zoo at all.  But it made it easy to talk to them and find out where we could go and they said that the Prime Meridian Cafe over in the main portion of the zoo would have alcohol.  So we got directions and headed there.

It was a cold and wet walk through the zoo, but we eventually found the Prime Meridian and went inside.  This was much larger and fancier than the grill had been.  And they definitely had alcohol, decent beer on tap in fact.  So we got ourselves a few beers and sat down and talked business for an hour or two.  We refilled our beers and then went out to explore the zoo.  We were told that beer was allowed anywhere in the zoo except in the children’s zoo area!  That is so awesome.

Hilary got cut wrist bands for the girls, a pink flamingo one for Liesl and a black penguin one for Luciana.  Perfect for our girls, animals and colours that they love.

We had a great time wandering the zoo and checking out exhibits (mostly indoor ones.)  It was a blast and as long as we were there, we really had the place to ourselves.  It was pretty cold and wet, there was a good reason for no one else to be there.  They kept turning on lights and music and stuff for us as we had walked around.  It was very weird having so many people working at the zoo, but no one there seeing things except for us.

Around five it was getting darker and colder and pretty much time to go.  We were having so much fun that when Hilary said that there was a Harry Potter Burlesque show that she had heard about and clearly had that glint in her eye that she wanted to go and didn’t have anyone that wanted to go, I offered to tag along if she wanted.  So we made some calls and decided to do that!

Riding the Dallas Zoo Carousel with Hilary

Hilary called an Uber and while we were waiting we rode the carousel at the zoo and while we got some cute pictures, I also discovered that my vertigo is sensitive enough now that I can not even ride a carousel any longer.  That part of my life is now officially over.  Even that tiny bit of spinning does me in.

Our Uber arrived and we took a short ride over to her friends’ house that was not far away, but in a part of the city with which I was not familiar (which is not hard to do in a city the size of Dallas) and met her friend Ryan and hung out there having a few beers while awaiting the evening plans to kick in.  I love the neighbourhood of the house.  Really neat area, much older than the part of the city that we are in.  These are hundred year old houses down there, rather than forty year old houses up where we live.  Even old town Carrollton was only from the 1930s.  Turn of the century homes in Dallas are decently uncommon.  There wasn’t all that much in the area at the time.  It is, in fact, pretty weird to think about Dallas even really existing that long ago, the whole city seems like a recent construct.

We hung out for a while till Ryan’s wife Michelle got home from work.  She got home and we headed right out in the Jeep to go touring around the local Dallas area checking out the amazing Christmas lights that they do in that area.  We had a blast and wow the houses and lights around there are really something.  I did not know the area at all, it was like being in a completely different city than the one that I have been living in for the last decade!  Amazing how a city can be so large that you can live there and never get to know it at all.  And we are decently active people.

After the tour de lights, we went to Velvet Taco for dinner.  Dinner was awesome.  I have never been to Velvet Taco (there are so many good taco places in the Dallas area) and they had an amazing selection of vegetarian and pescatarian tacos.  I went for a falafel taco (amazing) and a fish and chips taco (also amazing.)  

After tacos, it was right over to the Viva Lounge to get to our seats for the show.  Michelle decided that it had been a long day and she wanted to get some time at home so just dropped us off.  Ryan decided to join us so we were a threesome for the show.  The Viva Lounge is a major burlesque venue in the Dallas area, but I’ve never made a show here.  This was Hilary’s first ever burlesque show.  They have a cocktail bar right in the show area, so doing drinks during the show is easy.

We were not that early, only time for one drink before the show started.  It was “A Hogswarts Holiday” and pretty well done.  We all had a really good time.  The show was very funny.

After the show we grabbed an Uber and dropped me at the Southwest Med Center station and I took the short ride on the Green Line back home.  It was well after midnight when I got to Trinity Mills Station.  

Dominica said she was going to pick me up, but was running so late that I thought that something was wrong.  So I started walking looking for the car.  I ended up making it well down Trinity Mills before she blew past me going to the train station.  So I had to jog quite a ways to get back to where she was.  I probably should have just walked home, it would not have taken all that much longer.

It was a very fun day.  And I have been invited to a Christmas “egg nog soire” tomorrow evening.  So my weekend is already getting busy.