Saturday, December 31, 2011

Is it weird?

... That when I look up at a monitor in a bar or a restaurant, that I prefer the football people with big bellies? Is that odd?


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Rarely has pulling a lever for a presidential candidate been an undiluted pleasure for me, but...

...if current trends continue, I don't see any candidate I could vote for without the bile rising in my gorge. I think I'll be writing in my preference in November.

*le sigh*

Friday, December 30, 2011

Hungry Ghosts

This lovely group disbanded in 2001, but I'm so glad of the internet, for I have found them at last. This is haunting and lovely. Apparently, there is currently a UK band called Hungry Ghosts, and they are different from this one.





Very nice, like a super-slow tango, or something. Charming.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New favorite toy/ pupdate


You see the pink piggy toy, eyes bulging, quaking with fear, futilely trying to scooch itself to safety under the lap throw on the sofa? Alas, poor piggy! It's doomed! Doomed! Doomed, I tell you! No amount of scooching could save piggy from the rapacious maw of Miss Mandible.

doomed.

Praline chewed piggy for hours and finally decided a game of fetch was what this party needed. She dropped the toy on the sofa by my leg and sat there wearing patience like a statue until I noticed my wee hairy obsessive one sitting, staring at me and awaiting my pitch of the beloved object. This happened over and over, and I would realize she'd been waiting patiently and silently for no-telling-how-long, as I watched a film on the DVD. This one could give seminars on focus.

I will say this piggy gets major points for staying power. Mumsy's little FurGirlie is a ferocious toy de-squeaker(sometimes only taking a minute or two to disembowel a toy), and she has had this toy for over 10 hours without putting the kibosh on the squeak. I chalk this up to the thickness of the hard rubber on the toy-- it actually takes a huge effort for her to squeeze hard enough to make it squeak. Now, it did have two little appendage ears, but we snipped those off when it looked like she was going to eat them, and she's been obsessing over piggy ever since. She finally wore herself out and is passed out in her kennel cab with piggy.

We'll see how much longer this lasts, but it's already a record-breaker, methinks. More pupdates to follow.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A few hours ago...

my sister sent me a text telling me to go to Netflix and watch Mary and Max immediately. I absolutely loved it. Very sweet. Not for kids, though.

Douchebaggery 101

There's a guy who's apparently a famous football player anmed Deion Sanders who announced his divorce online. Problem with that was, well, he hadn't bothered to inform his wife of 12 years in advance of that announcement, and she was, well, surprised.

I don't need to add anything to that at all, do I?

Let's see if there is hue and cry about this, hmm? Surely this is more of an outrage than some guy kneeling when he's scored a touchdown, right?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Shamelessly purloined...

...from Bayou Renaissance Man, comes this exquisite, haunting Macedonian melody, performed by two cellists on one cello.



Gorgeous!

A sweet song about time with family at Christmas



He sings to his jet-lagged baby girl (he and his family live in London but hail from Australia) that she'll won't understand, but with the family she'll be handed round like a puppy at a primary school, and she'll come to understand one day that these are the people who make her feel safe.

This song is incredibly sweet and still manages to be funny occasionally. If your parents did it right, you'll be yearning to spend Christmas with them. My parents did it right, and I had a lovely time with Mom and Dad. I hope your Christmas was as warm and happy as mine was. :)

Amazing Roman aqueducts

Have you looked a photos of ancient Roman aqueducts still standing around the planet? A few are even still functional, after 2000 years, including at least one in Rome itself. Impressive.

Here's a great site that shows examples called Bridges that Babble, and features 15 amazing Roman aquefers. The scale of the architecture is breathtaking, and the skill of the craftsmen who built these water delivery systems is nothing short of exquisite.

I also found this one online at Nerja, on the Southern coast of Spain.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas From The Family

This one is endlessly mesmerizing to me.



Feliz Navidad!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Pup o the mornin' to ya!




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A proper bath.






It seems for weeks and weeks there's been sore little time to really relax. I've been involved in rehearsals or making jam or doing Christmas-related things or trying to get things more organized and I just realized Thursday that it's been absolute ages since I've had a bath rather than the usual shower.




In fact, recently in a store, I took a chance on a little box of bath melts. I was not familiar with the brand, Heyland and Whittle, and I really didn't know the contents of the melts, but the packaging looked quite refined and the fragrance of the contents seemed sweet and heady, so I indulged and sprang the dough. In truth, I spent over an hour worth of pay on this box, so I figured this had better be amazing stuff. Looking at their website now, I see the box of bath melts was comprised of skin-loving shea butter and I paid about half the UK retail value. Not only am I proud of myself for my little splurge, I'm vowing to go back and buy up the lot of what is left in the store. They are that good. I officially have a new love in the bathtub. The English know herbs, and it's no surprise that some of the most scrumptious bath products hail from there. (think Lush and Crabtree & Evelyn).



About Thursday night - I managed to get out of work about 30 minutes early and I tottered off to town. Hit Sam's for some goat cheese (which I love on greens instead of salad dressing) and then a swing by a salon where I allowed myself to be talked into a pedicure. Then back home, managed to have an indulgent evening despite getting some laundry done. Bowl of pasta with pesto and goat cheese on the sofa with the puppies and the latest version of Jane Eyre running and a not-bad(believe it or not) screw-top bottle of Spanish plonk, then it was on to the bathtub to try out the new bathmelts. I expected fizz, but it only melted and made my skin feel softer and smoother. Nice! I used the marigold, btw, and it's shocking how glorious it smells, considering I've always found marigolds to be on the stinky side. :P




So there I was, enveloped in all that lovely fragrant warmth, and occasionally puppies peeked over the side of the tub to give me quick little kisses. It was quite restorative. I feel so much better. I do love the claw-foot bathtub, but I have to say that looking up at the ceiling, its relief burnished with the glow of a candle, I was very happy with my selection of house in general, for all its shortcomings, and it felt very good to have earned a nice bath.




Now into the wild rush of the holiday weekend. I hope you, too, can find a moment for yourself to throw on the breaks and savor something nice all by yourself. Life is sweet.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Why is there a permanent dimple in my leather recliner?

Hmmm...





Somehow, I just can't muster madness at that sweet little face. As long as she doesn't chew shoes or holsters, she's pretty much got carte blanche.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dragon Leatherworks: A very nice holster for a very special gun

My carry gun in recent years has been an Airweight J frame, but in recent times I've wanted to explore upping the firepower of what I'm carrying. Himself gallantly bequeathed me the gun that killed Santa Claus, and the search was on for a suitable holster for same. Having long admired the look of Dennis Badurina's holsters over at Dragon Leatherworks, I was thrilled to acquire a quite smart-looking Flatjack with gorgeous stingray hide inset detail.

I don't claim to be any kind of gun expert. Though I love to shoot, I don't shoot nearly so often as I would prefer. I'm just a regular, rapidly-hurtling-into-middle-age woman with tastes related to comfort as well as style and sheer functionality. I'm short but I'm not tiny, and though I do have an approximation of a waistline, I have a junky trunk and angular things don't tend to fit well on my person. Generally, I've carried the J frame in an inner pocket of my handbag, but I feel like my posture is being affected by that carrying method. A couple of pounds wouldn't seem like they'd make that much difference, but they really have. The J frame seems sticky-outie in that small holster when on my belt, and was bad to catch on clothing due to the angle. Other methods for carrying the J frame are in the offing, but that will be talk for another time.

The Dragon Leatherworks holster arrived much sooner than I expected it, and it was visually and tactilely pleasing. The craftsmanship is quite well-executed, and the color options make for increased potential to put your personal touch on what you are wearing. I can't say enough how beautiful the stingray hide is. If I could, I'd cover a wall in the stuff-- it's that neat, and it seems far more durable than I would have imagined it to be. I also take the pretty underwear approach to holster aesthetics: though I would not show all and sundry the very pretty bra I'm wearing, I like knowing it's there. Same thing with my holster-- I pray there's never need for anyone around me in a non-sport-shooting setting to know that I'm even carrying, but I like knowing that the holster is something in keeping with my own style. To this end, the flatjack is very satisfying.

As for functionality, as you see in the photo above, the Flatjack sits nicely against my round hip, and yet the butt of the pistol does not cant out at an angle that would grab excessively on other things. In this photo, I have a long sweater pulled up to reveal the gun, but I can actually wear that sweater down over this pistol/holster combination without printing.

The pistol fits smoothly and snugly into the holster, but I also don't have to struggle to pull it out.

The best thing I can say about this holster comfort-wise is that I don't notice it being in the way or uncomfortable. I have started to notice not having an ache between my shoulder blades due to a heavy handbag, and I don't seem to have any ill physical effects from the weight being held snugly against my person. Neither the pistol nor the holster dig into my ribs or my side or my hip, which was something I worried would happen with my short waist and this larger gun.

I think this design and model of holster is an excellent value, and I hope Dennis has a long and distinguished career in this art. I definitely plan to buy his holsters for more of my pistols in future.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I've always admired the penetrating intellect and startling wit of Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens has died and I want to link here what I posted in Spring of 2007.
I highly recommend this clear-thinking article by Christopher Hitchens:
She's No Fundamentalist - What people get wrong about Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

There, Christopher Hitchens calls media pundits on the carpet for mis-characterizing Ayaan by calling her a "fundamentalist" and dismissing her views as "absolutist."
What was she thinking, that uppity woman, to shoot her mouth off about Islam? Doesn't she know we're all supposed to be towing (or toeing?) the politically correct party line? We can't afford to piss anyone off - shhhh! - they might bomb us.
Here are some great links & blog posts from Zelda at Sleeping Ugly about Ayaan and what she's been going through in recent years. Zelda's first post in that grouping features a link to a clip of Bill Maher's show on which Ayaan makes minced meat of the empty-headed windbags on the panel, including Maher. Her elegant, directly stated observation is the ultimate soft answer which turns away wrath, and impossible to refute.
What I'm wondering is if Islam is the religion of peace, as so many of its clueless defenders in the self-loathing Western media claim (indeed, they are so Godless that they admire anyone who can muster fervent belief in anything -- with the exception, of course, of Christianity), then where are the men of Arab and/or Muslim origin who are standing up to this fundamentalism which nakedly aspires to dismantle Western civilization? Where are all these supposed Muslims who are opposed to fundamentalist agression? Either they are cowardly, or they do not exist.

Yet one mere woman dares to raise her voice in opposition to the culture of violence and oppression to which she was born. It's nice to know someone has the cojones to call a dog a dog, even if that someone is female-- someone has to be one of the first to scramble over the barricade.

Thank God for uppity women.


Thanks too, to Christopher for all the energy and thought-provoking observations he brought to every argument. He will be missed.

Monday, December 19, 2011

South Park creators won't have Kim Jong Il to kick around any more

Then again, sometimes a dead horse wants more beating, so I hope they keep it up.

I give you Big Dwarf Rodeo from Reverend Horton Heat's 1991 Smoke 'em If You Got 'em.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

At karaoke [insert operatic laugh]




- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

sorry for the minimal posting of late.

There's not been a lack of inspiration of late, but a lack of time to document same. Not doing a Christmas tree this year-- alas-- but I did decorate the exterior of the house for a change, and I'll try to get a picture up soon. Work has been very busy with two interviews for promotions (didn't land the assignments, but at least I do get to continue to work from home with the puppies nearby for the foreseeable future) and the usual shopping scramble one expects this time of year. I've got baking to do and cranapeno jam to make, so I expect I'll be a busy bee for the next week. To make matters worse, I've tried to post occasionally on the fly from my iPhone, and the darned thing has been failing to upload the posts. Meh. As if I wasn't busy enough already, I've applied for a local State university, and pending their receipt of transcripts from all my other schools including the community college I attended in Spring, I hope to be enrolled in one or two classes for the coming semester. Wish me luck on that one.

I've bought some new furniture and shelving recently and I'm trying to get the house more organized, but the net effect is that it looks more like a tornado hit the place. Darkest just before dawn, eh? At least I have a lower bed now and I will worry less about Chuy and Praline doing long-term damage to their joints and spines with the leap onto/off of the bed. Plus now I don't have to climb up, either. Everybody wins, on that one. :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Is this a feature or a flaw?

I must seem incredibly accessible to total strangers, because it's startling the wide range of random crap people say to me in stores. Recently I was in big home improvement store in the paint department and a lady walked up to the counter with a fistful of paint chips and started raving about how perfect my scarf was with my hair and coloring, etc, and then she remarked upon my nail polish and she apologized for her hands- said she kept beating them up and I said that in a few days I'd be painting and mine would be all to' up as well. My paint freshly mixed, I said "bye" and walked on.

I went over to the light fixtures and got a new one for the bathroom, then moseyed over to light bulbs and then to the checkout stand. I was facing the checkout, waiting for the guy in front of me to finish, and I noticed paint chip lady was standing there, kind of in my personal space. If I was facing 12 o'clock, she was at about 3:30, and verrrrry close. I turned and smiled at her and she looked startled and said "I'm not trying to buggy-f**k ya."

Wot? omg. It was especially odd because she didn't even have a buggy.

This utterance made it my turn to look startled, then she started prattling about having lived in Germany for a long time and how those Germans just love to buggy-f**k ya even when you can't possibly move forward at all, and she would never be doing that to me because she hates having that done to her. I smiled and said "It's okay. I wouldn't let you if you wanted to."

How strange is that, though? I mean, have you ever even heard of "buggy-f**king" and if so, how long has this been going on?

Just when I think I've heard it all...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kickaxe!

I love Axe Cop!



And I'm so having Portal Gun envy. Just dial where you want to go, and shoot out a portal!

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Now! MOAR exclamation pointses!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Join the ranks of the young and exotic.

or not. Or just listen to this groovy holiday track from Combustible Edison.

Monday, December 12, 2011

10:03 and I'm in bed early for a change

It's not just getting ready for the holidays and all that-- I've been incredibly busy in and out of work. There's a seasonal surge in my industry around the holidays so I've been working overtime quite a few days lately.

I had a bad day at work last Tuesday, and I applied for a state university in the area that day. I've gotta get my transcripts ordered from all other school and then I'll at least be back on the slow boat to china with regards to my education.

I interviewed for a position a couple weeks ago and knew I wasn't a fit for the posting even before the interview. This really took the pressure off, and I hope I was able to make a favorable impression on a neat new boss lady. But if I never get promoted, I stay homE with my pups, right???

I'm not seeing a down-side.

I'll try to post more, m'dears.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Puppy Sunday: a good investment


The house is toasty warm with all the new insulation in the attic and the new windows, but the floor is still a bit chilly. When the weather started getting colder, Chuy wanted to spend the whole day on my lap, and that's not conducive to me getting work done, so last week I purchased a heated pet bed for them, and they like it a whole whole bunch. :) And on my lap or not, they remain my teeny tiny toasties.

Ivan probably blame this on my iPhone, but...

[thank you, auto-blood-correct on my iphone -- subject line was meant to be "i can probobably", not "ivan probably"]
I'm having a bear of a time updating my blog, of late. I've been dizzyingly busy in a good way, and the phone updates I've attempted to post have failed more than half the time. This time, I'm trying to post with no photos, and hopefully that will make the difference. I hope you are all having a grand holiday season with your dear ones. I'm cherishing every moment with my sweet puppydogs. Cheers to you all, and I'll post at greater length very soon.


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Friday, December 09, 2011

Scrooge up your courage.

In and out of stores lately I've heard enough jingle music to choke a barge brim-full of goats. It was therefore refreshing that when I went into Tuesday Morning several days back I heard that gloriously composed and quirky song Lush Life, a nice version of which evades me on Yootoob, and I'll therefore not post it here. Lush Life is a beautiful but sad song, and, frankly, depressing. It was such a downer of a contrast from the shoulder sagging weight of the usual high-test Christmas vivarin-laced cheer that it made me feel oddly peppy and happy.

I'm not feeling grumpy, but I'm kind of tired of all the pop tart noodling, them hosing up the Christmas standards they way the intercourse up the National Anthem before games of every stripe.

Nope. Not gonna do grumpy, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate some vicarious grumping. Here's Miles Davis' Blue Christmas. You'll recognize the vocalist Bob Dorough (Multiplication Rock) from some of the Schoolhouse rock songs. Good stuff! Also known as Blue Xmas, I think?

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The astonishing musical stylings of Jeff Buckley



Remarkable vocalist, extraordinarily gifted guitarist, lost too soon.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A quick glimpse at some wonderful glassworking by William Gudenrath

A superlative day with a fragrant ending...

I'm working on this customer. I normally will spend my day on the phone with possibly a couple dozen customers. Monday I spent about 4 hours making calls to vendors, internal calls, trying to resolve issues for this one lady who is a cornucopia of neuroses and, uh, special circumstances. I hate this and I love it. The people who are negative vortices of energy are the biggest triumph when you ride them out and make them fans anyway, and that's always my goal-- show them they can't wear me down and that I'm going to surpass their expectations no matter how committed they are to their disappointments and failures. I feel I turned the corner with her and it's all going to be okay. And then, if against all reason, they are still disappointed at the end of the day, I can reasonably conclude they are clearly insane not to fall utterly in love with me and I move on with my life and to hopefully help someone more deserving of my exceptional attention to service.

After two months of generally feeling sick and crappy, the last week I've been feeling healthy again. I feel [touch wood] that exercising won't put me into a pneumonia-vulnerable state any more, so I only worked an hour late Monday. After work, I showered with a lovely lavender soap and went to yoga for the first time in over 2 months, hair swept up in a long ponytail. It felt amazing and I loved the smell of the soap and the fresh workout gear. I arrived at this class, and classical music was playing as the teacher put us through a slow-flow fusion of yoga styles. The studio was nearly dark, with a couple of indirect soft lights, and there was a nice scent-- vetiver or somesuch. Some poses were utterly unfamiliar, and some were glove-fit-perfection, and the first half hour was pretty rigorous, but by the end, laying in corpse pose felt like a great reward, eyes closed. The instructor put a cloth over my eyes and a nice lavender sachet on top of that. The scent was heady and relaxing.

Driving home afterward, feeling turbo-chilled and like nothing but nothing could possibly harsh my mellow, the path curved around when too late my headlamps illuminated the roadway ahead leaving void a distinctive wodge of negative space waddling into the roadway, white stripe cleaving its middle like a belligerent middle-finger waggling the threat of olfactory horrors my way. Whoopsie. Having swerved over as far right as I might without leaving the roadway, my left front tire still managed to squish the varmint soundly and I was in paroxysms of squick as I drove the rest of the way home, suddenly unmellowed to a profound degree. Went to the little supermarket in my town and noticed the folks seemed -- something-- odd-- I didn't think about it too much. I approached the cashier and she smiled then her face clouded as I drew near. I suddenly fancied I smelled something undesirable and blurted "do you smell skunk?" and she seemed not to want to say so, kind of screwed up her face and said, meekly, "kinda."

I stink of skunk. Goody.

I got home and the pups seemed to think I smelled interesting. Too interesting. Clothing got bunged in the washer and I gave meself a proper scrubbing and hair-washing. *shudder*

Later, dear friend Daniel came by in his luxurious new sedan and took me for a ride around the block. I asked if he smelled skunk. He said he didn't but then again, he'd just run over one about 20 minutes earlier that had recently been killed. What are the odds that your friend in a new car will run over the skunk you just killed? Anyway, I suppose if you're going to have friends, it's nice if you're all inured to the same kind of stink, innit?

Monday, December 05, 2011

Ooosh!




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View from my office.

I let teh puppehs out about 4:00am and it was 37 degrees and no snow. Awoke 3 hours later to a blanket of white. :)


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Sunday, December 04, 2011

A Grand Lady has passed away.

The past few Fall seasons, the kind and generous FarmFamily has hosted a gathering for shooting and fellowship, and I've been honored to be included among the guests. Always, we have been welcomed into the home of the lovely and lively Mamaw. Mere months after the gathering last year, she was diagnosed with a very agressive form of cancer. I've been in touch most closely with FarmMom and she's kept me updated on Mamaw. When I saw her in October, I thought she looked quite peachy considering what she had been through. The most telling signs of her ordeal was a troublesome cough and baldness I'd not thought to expect, nor to ask FarmMom about. Amazingly, Mamaw wore baldness with an adorable frankness that showed what a plucky and fearless woman she really was. Friday her struggle came to an end. I'm honored to have known her for these past few years-- a time all too brief-- and I pray the FarmFamily is much comforted by the warm memories of her courageous spirit and deep well of strength. I know one reason they are such remarkable people is because they were born of women like Mamaw. May she rest in peace, and may all who grieve her be comforted.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Sitting in rehearsal Thursday night...

I sat next to an older woman, and she and I pretty much amused ourselves the whole time. The group consisted of about 40 or so people, and it was a very chaotic practice session. She and I quipped and twittered sotto voce until the chorus director finally called for a break about 3/4 of the way through the ordeal. I wandered off to the loo and came back and sat beside her and she said "what is your name?" I told her my name, and she gasped, grinned and nodded as if she knew something about me that I didn't know my ownself. She proceeded to tell me that for 21 years of military service, when she went out to kick up her heels and whoop it up, if someone asked her name, she'd say "My name is Rita" and generally operated on the premise that someone with such a naughty name should be forgiven pretty much anything. The previous time I've heard a story like this was when a fabulous woman told me her shopping persona (with very expensive taste) was named Rita.

I like these stories. I'm sticking to them. Or they are sticking to me.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

You can't handle teh Kewt!

Excuse messy house. Teh Kewt trumps messy.


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**looking at this later, I'm enjoying the redneckery of the tennis-racket shaped handheld bug zapper on the coffee table.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sarah Vowell is hilarious.

Speaking at a University, Sarah Vowell was asked what she thinks of all the people in the audience who were sending and receiving text messages during her time at the podium. Here is her response:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

1.5 years later, still experiencing thermostat rage

I don' t know what happened to distract me (new job? general house renovations, etc?), but in summer of last year I vowed to sashay out to the hardware store for a new thermostat. I have as yet to fulfill that vow, but about 4AM I awakened to a bloody boiling house. In winter, I generally keep the thermostat anywhere between 60 and 65 F. This keeps me comfortable and makes for a good temp for snuggling pups, and keeps me from getting hot if I bustle about the house.

The digital thermostat I have in now keeps re-setting itself to heat the house to 70, which is much too hot for my tastes. I'd already prepared for a cold night by putting on a down comforter and a large heavy blanket, plus installing after-burnered furballs in bed for area heating purposes. Praline sleeps by my feet (toasty!) and Chuy is always against by stomach or my back, so I'm pretty much covered for furry hot-water bottle style heat.

Anyway, I'm going to get the old manual toggle style thermostat, since this one clearly answers to Sauron, and no amount of fiddling on my part will compel it to do my bidding. Piece of crap. Yes. This one's going to be blown to bits on some upcoming range day.

...and speaking of range days... I'll be posting my view soon of a gorgeous holster from Dragon Leatherworks. Watch this space.

Monday, November 28, 2011

First morning with new bedroom curtains

I painted the new wood on 3 of my 14 windows yesterday. Made coverings/curtains for 9 of them, and hung 8 of those. Waking up today, the place has a decidedly more cheerful aspect. Gone are the ghetto sheet/pillowcase curtains. Yay!


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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: pup-sprung.





I bought a new recliner (my first, in truth) about 2 months ago and the pups just LURVE perching on the top of it. Consequently, the top of the recliner has a sort of deflated look. Of course, I don't scold the puppies-- this is their home too-- because they are just wallowing in a bit, and not clawing or chewing and being actively destructive. Lucky for me I'm short enough that I don't really need the top part much, anyhow. :P






Yes, btw, the puppies DO love their sweaters. They seem to have observed that the sweaters have a warm-making effect, and on the cold nights and days, they are happy for the wee extra bit of insulation. :)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Baby, it's cold outside.

Or at least it's getting that way quickly, the mercury having dropped about 15 degrees since I first awakened today. I have today and the next 3 days off, and I'm determined to get a lot done on the house, so I suppose it's just as well that it's stay-at-home weather. Still, I'd love to curl up with a mug of hot tea and the book I'm reading all weekend. One thing that is glorious is how the house is staying warmer with all the new windows. This is a relatively small house and it has a LOT of windows (14, I like a bright home), so those old single-pane aluminum ones seemed to wick cold (or heat, ugh) into the home with remarkable efficiency. This is much better, and they look much prettier. :) I need to do some rudimentary window coverings this weekend so I can take down the sheets, which probably look rather ghetto. :P

I have a pot of beans cooking in the slow cooker with some nice spices and a heaping helping of roasted Hatch chiles. I can hardly wait. There may be cornbread in the offing later on, too. Teh puppehs have their sweaters on, and it's time to roll up the old sleeves.

I have all my crown molding for the house. I need to paint that and to prime and paint the remainder of the corner and divider blocks for that trim. I really want at least one room of crown molding up before I go back to work on Wednesday.

I decided to dispense with mitering the corners by using these corner blocks, and I already have two rooms' worth primed and painted and ready to go up. Several weeks back at Seconds and Surplus in Dallas, I was able to purchase a pre-primed wood crown molding for the entire house for less than $250, including tax. However, due to the limitations of my glorious little chariot, I could only buy the 8' lengths, rather than 16', so nearly every wall in the house would need a mitered join for the molding. I've decided to put a divider block (not the size on ad, btw) on each wall, obviating the need to miter the molding, thus sparing the horse wot am performing the odious task for me. The rooms are not huge, so I hope that breaking of the line of the molding with dividers doesn't make the rooms look even more chopped up and wee. I definitely don't need things to look more small and cluttered than they already are.

Pictures soon to follow. Hope you have a great weekend!

The goats who stared at pumpkins



And ate them.

Took these pictures on Wednesday when it was all sunny and bright. I pass this herd of goats quite frequently and think the kids are so adorable.

mmmm. Cabrito. Yum!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ferrofluid

Have you heard of ferrofluid? Ferrofluids are colloidal liquids made of nanoscale ferromagnetic, or ferrimagnetic, particles suspended in a carrier fluid (usually an organic solvent or water), and they become strongly magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field.

There's loads of videos of these on YouTube, but I like this one in particular. Fascinating stuff.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: yin/yang pups

Sorry the posting has been sporadic lately, but I've been super-busy, and my iPhone Blogger application has not been cooperating, for the most part, so I haven't even been able to post on the fly, most of the time.


Today's puppy photo is of the pups cuddled on a blanket on the sofa. Sorry for the poor lighting, but hopefully you have an inkling of how sweet the moment was.




:)






Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fix-A-Flat Ass



true conversation from my living room 5 minutes ago

LawDog: How many people are in Columbus?

aepilot_jim: It's the capitol of Ohio.

LawDog: So... 5,000 people?

aepilot_jim: Spoken like a true Texan.

landed a small role in the musical.

I was excited to learn that I'd been cast in a small role in the musical, and then I went to the theater company's website and saw photos of their current production, all singers wearing small headset microphones. Oh, dear. My singing is full-voiced, and I'm nervous about how that is going to affect the other singers who only croon. Maybe they can ramp the amplification down on my mic? I was excited because this is an older musical with big chorus parts that simply beg for full-voice, classical singing, and it didn't occur to me that the company would use mics on stage.

*sigh*

Still, I'm pleased to be in the cast and I'll do my best to fit in while not hiding it under a bushel.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

careerbuilder.com's last-ditch attempt to reel me back in.

When I was looking to make a change and move away from Dallas, I dipped my toe in the pool with careerbuilder.com. Even with extensive customer service and management experience, I didn't get a single email or call from any interested parties in the area where I wanted to move. Within several months of seeing this was a dead-end, I stopped biting at the leads they dangled, and eventually blocked their address from my email.

They seem to have retooled their email address, because this week I got a new come-on from them with a whole bevy of new career prospects for me. The top match for me?

Funeral Director/Embalmer.

Among the requirements: Must have a current Funeral Director/Embalmer license with the state


Hmph. Let me check my little index of certifications. Embalmer license? Check. Embalmer license for the State O' Texas? Curses! Foiled again!

How they made the leap from my job history/qualifications to Funeral Director/Embalmer is a mystery to me. And not to disparage that job type at all-- I'm sure they make metric butt-tons more money than I do now, and obviously, they fill a necessary niche that is not for everyone. I'm still just baffled this was sent to me as an option.

By the way, careerbuilder, I don't have an arc-welding license or a degree in rocket surgery, either, FWIW.

If I wasn't cynical about careerbuilder.com before, I certainly would be now. As it is, this only pushed me farther around the bend.

Pshaw.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Howard Garrett - the Dirt Doctor

A few weeks back I did an important post on Fidotoxicity which I hope will help spread the word on this serious occurrence. Some wrote and asked for links to Howard Garrett's site and for information on his radio show. You can go to his site here and here's a link to his excellent radio show information,which you can listen to online. Howard's methods are for organic gardening and his show is where I've learned much of what I know about letting nature work for you by using native perennials to have a garden scheme that is hardy to your region's weather and soil. Though his focus is on the heat-hardy perennials for the North Texas region, he also has a wealth of information on the site related to things which are universal, such as proper depth for planting a tree to engineer the long-term health of same. He also touts the importance of letting nature help you control pests with beneficial insects like ladybugs and mantids. One thing I highly recommend is his recipes for soil amendments like compost tea. These things are easy and just take a little bit of effort, and are ultimately cheaper than using toxic pre-packaged chemical stuff the stores sell.

The ladybug thing may be regional, though, FWIW. I was visiting my Great Aunt L. and her husband in the Ozarks one Autumn when the days were still warm but nights were chill, and there were swags of thousands of ladybugs trying to get into her house at the windows and doors. I would buy a bag of about 1000 ladybugs at Redenta's or some such garden centerin Dallas, but Aunt L couldn't give them away. The "one man's trash ..." principle applies here, I suppose.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Can't believe I let someone goad me into this, but...

I'm at an audition for a musical. I'm like the oldest person here. They're all children.

Maybe they need a crone in this production...


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Guilty pleasure - Craig Colton on UK X Factor

I have to admit that I adore Craig Colton's voice and song stylings on X Factor UK. So many of those pop idol shows are chock full of predictable, trite singing that's just like what already pollutes the airwaves, and Craig is actually quite gifted and unique. He doesn't fit the usual popstar mold, and I like him all the more for that, plus he makes a Lady Gaga sound better than I knew it could. Plus, he's a Scouser.

The singing on the video starts about 1:40, but it's fun to hear his charming accent, too. Check it!


Monday, November 14, 2011

un-asked for diagnosis.

Went to the dr today, and they xrayed my lungs and there is no pneumonia. In fact, the radiologist said everything from heart to lungs is normal or not unusual. The dr said I need to see a pulmonologist to test for lung function. She said that a cough can linger a couple months after an illness. Goody.

They gave me a printout of the analysis of my films from the radiologist, including the one from when I went in two weeks ago. I pulled into my drive at home and looked at the printout and noticed this little depth-charge: Mild degenerative disc disease is demonstrated at multiple interspace levels in the thoracic spine, it said.

Uh, what?

The first person I told about this said "it's an age thing, sweetie."

Um, ouch.

How did this getting old thing start happening to me?
Cough or no, I'm getting back into the yoga studio. Even if I only do half the stuff and end up laying in corpse pose for half the time, at least I'll feel like I'm doing something, instead of feeling held hostage by a cough like I have for the past 5 weeks. I don't think I have symptoms of the disc thingie yet. Let's hope I continue not to have...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Remiss in my posting, correcting a neglected duty with regard to Veteran's Day.

Roberta says it here, perfectly: We are indebted to the men and women who have nobly served our nation, and under the weather on Veteran's Day on Friday, I didn't post at all, but I did pause to consider them and to give thanks for their commitment. Saturday I tipped a five spot into a VFW can at the local grocer and took a lovely little poppy for my lapel, which I'll keep wearing.


I'm still reeling from the aftermath of illness. Last week's business trip seems not to have helped. I'll work at least part of the day tomorrow, but this cough is still so bad that I'll probably go to the dr tomorrow. The dr a week ago yesterday told me that after all the shots and 20 days of oral antibiotics, I pretty much could not possibly still be sick and this must be allergies. I think tomorrow I'm going to insist upon another lung xray - because I still think this is pneumonia. Tuesday will make 5 weeks I've been sick.

Not good.

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: worn out puppies


Chuy and Praline are ready to go to bed when the sun goes down, and they actually seem indignant that I don't go to bed then, too, and now that delay is even more pronounced since it's getting dark so much earlier. Here they are asleep early last night, poor little lambs.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Marines!


I first met the Marine in my family when he was a tall, skinny teenager dating my sister during their high school years. He was and always has been a quiet, reserved guy, occasionally opening his mouth to bowl us over with great wit. He and my sister broke up sometime around the end of high school and they went their separate ways. In the way life has of serving up a do-si-do, she and he circled back to one another several years later and all grown up, they were wed. I'll never forget how they were the loveliest couple I've ever seen at their wedding-- she with her post-punk artchick short shock of white hair and cooly unconventional but very romantic gown and he in his Dress Blues looking every bit the bad-ass buff Marine with arm-candy bride. I can see him in my gorgeous niece and nephew, too, and I know that so much of the principles of the Marines have been formative in their lives.

I'm thankful for S. and all the Marines who serve our great nation. We are indebted to you.

Happy Birthday, Marines!

I found the coolest Indian food joint

This place was small but very tidy and nicely decorated. I'd heard it was wonderful from some folks at the local office. Went in with a colleague who'd never had Indian food before. I suggested she try the chicken korma, and she did and was delighted. We had some nice mincemeat samosas, and she particularly liked the mint chutney. I was very pleased that her first foray into Indian cuisine was to her satisfaction, and she said that was her favorite meal of the whole trip. :) I appreciate when people are open minded enough to try something like that, and I expect she'll relish future opportunities to have Indian food. Good on her. :)

I noticed there was a tv in the corner and glanced at the screen just in time to see a piece of Naan bread flying out of the tandoori pot in which it had been cooking-- they had a camera in the kitchen trained on that cooking vessel so you could see the flurry of activity. This was a very cool feature. And the Naan was delicious. mmmm.

It was nice to visit our other office. About 5 or 6 times, I heard someone approaching saying they heard my voice and couldn't wait to meet me. I disappointed a couple of women by declaring that I'd pictured them as brunettes, one of them having been downright insulted until I pointed out my own brunetteness. I managed to keep a somewhat firm grip on my couth, having only blurted inappropriateness a couple times, and I'm mostly not embarrassed about it.

This place is beautiful, and I could see living here one day, but I don't know if that will ever be in the cards. We shall see.

In the mean time, I'll be happy enough to be back at my house, because-- as ever-- home is where my dogs are. :)

I'll be so happy to roll into my driveway about 7:00 tonight. :)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Meep! Meep! Meep!

Meep! Meep! Meep!

I was so wiped out Monday night that I fell asleep and was not awakened by the earthquake that rattled the doors of my colleagues' rooms.

Meep! Meep! Meep!

I had enough presence of mind to set the two alarms on the alarm clock in my room, and I got as comfortable as I could be on the king sized bed with 4 pillows and woefully bereft of puppies

Meep! Meep! Meep!

That annoying sound was going off. All was pitch dark. It wouldn't stop. I opened my eyes and squinted at the clock.

3:09?

Meep! Meep! Meep!

Unfamiliar with the buttons, I started batting at the top of the alarm clock, trying to shut it up. Wait a minute-- I set the alarm for 6:00 AM. This can't be right.

The noise stopped and I accepted I'd finally hit the right button to stop the infernal honking.

I didn't think about it again until one lady asked at breakfast if I'd heard the fire alarm go off in the hotel in the middle of the night.

Come to think of it... good thing there wasn't really a fire!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

plumb tuckered out.

I'm on a business trip and was so wound-up the night before that I hardly got any sleep. Got up and bustled about getting things ready, stepping over puppies. It's really hard to leave my little darlings. Went into the bathroom bleary-eyed and sleep-deprived about 5:45 Monday morning. Decided that would actually be the perfect time to tidy up my eyebrows with some waxing strips. (can you guess what is coming?) Apparently I was in precisely the wrong state to attempt any self-waxing and I mistakenly removed a regrettable swathe of my left eyebrow which I'd meant to keep. Thank goodness for brow-filler products, but still, would had preferred to keep one's brows intact, rather than to have to do the pencil-moustache version of an eyebrow.


Drove through torrential rains and then hit lots of gray misty weather, and the effect of the misty roadway coupled with extreme fatigue was soporific, to say the least. I managed not to nod off, but I did feel very, very sleepy. Then there's the lingering unpleasantness about the time change. Yuck. Going to bed Monday night about 8:30 PM, most likely. Going to try to get up early enough to wrestle my mane into submission, however futile the task may be.

Now I'm in a beautiful city in a nearby state in a pretty nice hotel room. After driving most of the day, I went to the local office here and met many colleagues who previously have only been voices on the end of the phone line. It's funny how my perception of some people on the phone skews dramatically with what they actually look like. One man, too, was precisely as I expected him to be-- and not in a good way. Will try to give you more content tomorrow, but for now I'm knackered.

Cheers, darlings!

Monday, November 07, 2011

Occupy Wall Street - Dallas



Note how most of the folks in this video say they are involved in business but decline to go into detail. "Free businessman" is how one man identifies himself. Remember what I said about how it seems to me the whole movement has been coopted by homeless people who are legitimized by feigning righteous indignation and passing for protesters? Well, homeless people rarely describe themselves as homeless-- they think of themselves as entrepreneurs, which sounds curiously like how these people are describing themselves. This is a convenient place to pitch a tent and not get hassled by the po-po.

Hmph.


H/t to Matt G

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: Puppehs in photo are much cuter than they may appear

Lovely as it was to spend the night at Mom and Dad's on Friday, it was so sweet to get home to my baby furballs on Saturday night. They were so happy to see me and were very attentive.



My sweetlings.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

LouLou gets a bath.

I take my chariot to the carwash about every 6 months or so whether she needs it or not. Today, we're washing about 20 pounds of Colorado real estate off my buggy. Their mud shall merge with our mud. So say I.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, November 04, 2011

This guy owes a dollar to the Douchebag Jar

Did you hear about the guy who is suing his wedding photographer 8 years after the wedding, and demanding the photographer re-stage the entire wedding, including flying in all the guests so the final dance and tossing of the bouquet could be re-enacted? It's true, and he's suing the photographer for $48,000 to fly in guests, have the venue decorated, etc. He's upset because the 6 hour of ceremony/party only yielded 2 hours of video. What a solipsistic wanker!

Apparently, the wedding ended in divorce, but he wants to remember the way are no longer. Also, after divorcing, his wife returned to her native Latvia, and he apparently doesn't know where she is, but that doesn't matter-- what's important here is that he's not happy with the wedding photos. From 2003. His name is Todd J. Remis, and apparently the reason this case is going forward in the courts is that his father is a partner in a big law firm. Is it my imagination or did he just get even more douchey?

Make that a million dollars for the Douchebag Jar*, pretty please.

Wow. Now someone remind me why people are cynical about lawyers and the court system and all that?

*shamelessly purloined from The New Girl

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Victoria's granny panty secret: auctioned royal knickers fetch big bucks

Silk bloomers belonging to Queen Victoria have fetched more than $15,000 on the auction block. Isn't it funny that an old pair of bloomers would be deemed significant enough to garner that degree of interest?

I suppose she never had her manky yard-work day panties that had been wallowed by puppehs at the bottom of the laundry basket. *snerk* The royal monogram on them looks very prim, don't you think? I also found this little article that says the hand-me-down bloomers were likely to have been given to a servant.

I am reminded of Bill Clinton's first year in office and he and Hils filed their first tax return, replete with itemized write-off receipt for cast-off items donated to Goodwill. The listed his Ermengildo Zegna used underwear as having a high re-sell value of $12.00, which I thought was a bit cheeky. I think they should have taken a crack a ebay-- no telling how much they could have made!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Dog who survives gas chamber inspires other pet adoptions

There was a bittersweet story in the news about a handsome young dog who survived a gas chamber. Granted a reprieve, the shelter has received about 100 applications from around the country from people who would like to adopt the plucky pup.

I can understand why seeing Daniel the wonderdog in the news would tug at the heart-strings and make people want to rescue him, but I was saddened by the story's statement that about half the applicants said they didn't want to adopt another pet if the survivor dog wasn't available. Where were those people BEFORE Daniel got gassed? I can't believe so many people would be blind to all the other anonymous pooches and kitties that will be put to death because no one cares and there are simply not enough resources to responsibly care for all these unwanted pets.

Let's be honest-- we as humans have had a great hand in the engineering of dog and cat breeds. We have made them what they are, really, and although animals can survive in the wild, we've bred pets-- particularly dogs-- to trust us and to be the gorgeous, loving things they are. We fail them if we don't do all we can to prevent unwanted litters from being conceived, and we fail them if we don't do all we can to see they are taken care of.

My pet story has unfolded here over the years. My first dog, Valentine, was kept as an only pet, and I was ignorant and though she was happy, I now know she could have been happier. When she died, I got one of her descendants, Praline, and I've been much more responsible. I wanted to get another pup to be a packmate with Praline so she wouldn't have as solitary a life as Valentine. I mentioned this to my vet and they practically forced me to take Chuy. "We have the perfect dog for you! He is wonderful!" My vet had rescued an entire litter of chihuahua/wiener pups from a shelter. I fought it. I always said I'd never have a chihuahua OR a dachsund, and here I was getting the best of both breeds. I could see how adorable he was, but I was still grieving Valentine and Praline was just so perfect that Chuy seemed like a booby prize to me at first.

The real boob in the story was me, because that little chiweenie-- that little beaner-schnitzel -- wended his way into my heart and is more snugly ensconced there than any heartworm ever dreamt of being. My pets have made me a better person, and if you ever look at a dog online at a shelter and feel stirred and you have the money and time and will not put yourself in the poor-house for doing so, pleasepleaseplease go to a shelter and get a pet. What you spend on the adoption will be nothing compared to what the little critter will do for you. And you may not realize it, but a pet can heal your heart like few things in life.

The life you save may be your own.

If you can't afford to adopt, but you could spare a little money, find a local no-kill shelter and send them $5 or $10 every month or so, and you'll be contributing to solving the homeless pet problem. Or go to the no kill shelter occasionally and help them walk and play with the animals. However small a gesture, it will mean worlds to the animal(s) you help. Don't cheat yourself out of that.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

I'm just walkin' my dog by Nellie McKay

I said so before, but I'd like to see the stats of homeless who are among the Occupy Wall Street Hoovervilles

Apparently, there is some friction between the Wall Street protesters and the homeless(who I believe have artificially inflated the population of the Occupy events around the country). I think we all could have seen that coming, and this is likely a very great reason why the law enforcement agencies in such cities have stepped up patrol and security measures. I hope any coming conflagration between the groups will help the Occupy people recognize that right now, THEY TOO are homeless, but that they would rather have common ground with the corporations than this sea of unbathed folk. One cannot move out into the streets amongst some very rough (and often mentally ill) people and think they're going to nudge the real homeless out of the way with their Rubbermaid tubs of electronics and their The North Face™ and Patagonia™ camping gear. People who live dirty often know how to fight that way, too.

I love this article on the group in Asheville NC with a photo of a guy lounging under a blanket reading a Kindle or a Nook.

I wonder what he thinks made possible the technology he's enjoying while slaving away at his protesting gig? Yes-- big corporations. Let's face it-- a vast majority of the modern conveniences we all enjoy were made possible expressly by big corporations. This fact is lost on the Occupy lot. They do not see that without the huge currency and stock exchanges throughout the world, instead of lazing about in broad daylight enjoying catered meals by bleeding hearts and perusing the latest in technology they would be schlepping to a neighboring burgh every so often in hopes of trading a goat, a ham hock and some nice taters Uncle Bubba dug out of the back 40 for Beaulah the cow in hopes of having milk for the family. Some may believe life would be sweeter and simpler without those big companies, but I contend they are far more socially responsible than reputed to be by the Occupy lot. That, and if I ever am to live like Grizzly Adams, I would like that to be out of a state of choice, thank you very much, and not simply because irrational lunatics were allowed to chop big businesses off at the knees.

I'd like to turn the Occupy gang's focus to all this technology in which our culture is steeped and how the relative luxury of the common person's life would stagger the wealth of even much of the aristocracy in other ages. Instead of the big current corporate giants, think in a more simplified fashion of what process birthed the big, modern corporation: think Dutch East India and British East India companies -- their exploration and shuttling needed goods from areas of surplus to areas of need was truly the beginning of a massive exchange between staggeringly different cultures and climates. Lest anyone want to tread down the hackneyed path befouled with cliches that such companies only exploited poor cultures and skimmed the wealth-- those companies had to pay their sailors and cooks and engineers and staff on both legs of the journey-- they did their best to keep their holds full on both directions of the trips. Also, let us save the argument about the contents of those holds for another time, as well. The point was big business was afoot, and it was only going to grow from there. And as a result, untold millions of little nameless people like you and me throughout the ages have risen in fortune, able to feed, clothe and house families, often in escalating degrees of comfort and luxury. All this because these little nameless people threw their lot in with the Big Guys.

If these people want to use their protest time productively, they'd do better to go camp out on their US Senators' and Representatives' doorsteps and hold THEIR feet to the fire for abject mismanagement of their responsbilities in shepherding the function of our nation's government. THEY are the bad guys, and in many cases, they have effectively hobbled the big corporations with punitive taxation and ridiculous regulation (compact fluorescent lightbulbs, anyone? regulation that caused the home mortgage industry crisis? I'm sure we could name others...) and they are making it increasingly difficult to open a small business that might one day blossom into something huge.

Big corporations built our nations rail system, and paved countless miles of roadway througout the nation. Look at what Henry Ford did-- he did not have a goal of producing a scant few boutique automobiles for only the wealthy-- he wanted his line workers at his factory to be living advertisement of the accessibility of his product. That's good thinking, and I think Ford is still in business (and not taking government bailout money, I noticed) for just that type of thinking.

Corporations in general are the rising tide that raises all boats. While I don't think they are all run on sterling principles, I think the ones that aren't won't stay in business permanently. I think they deserve a little credit, and I bloody well think they deserve to make a little money for their efforts. Last I checked, bringing iPhones and snuggies and grande lattes to the people isn't a crime, and neither is making money.

Monday, October 31, 2011

My best fiend: Darling Nephew as The Joker




- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

SPOOKY!!!



From the lovely and frightfully talented Puppini Sisters.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sit back and enjoy the crashing waves of wrongness.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, I present Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO, in case you are like me and one of the last people on the planet who hasn't seen this.

*If you are of delicate constitution, you may wish to skip this one.*



Incredibly funny and actually cute in my humble opinion.

h/t to BlowFuzzy von Sassy

Where are you?

Yes, I'm at a really cool party in a Victorian building with a lovely man in new glasses. Life is sweet!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Let's start a movement: UN-ASS WALL STREET, YOU FILTHY HIPPIES

I propose we bring a booger to a booger fight by infiltrating the Occupy Wall Street movement. I think it would be terrific if just regular folks walked up to these Hoovervilles and waited for the likes of Michael Moore or whomever to start out-gassing and that would be the ideal time to whip out the Vuvuzelas to *wink wink* show our support for the whole movement by honking mercilessly. Be sure to tuck into your range bag first and bring some good hearing protection, and maybe take some reading material for while you're standing around, mindlessly tooting your horn.

If your local Team Occupy is in a non-residential area, it might be fun to have flash-mob convergences of UAWSYFH at 4:20 AM, wade through the clouds of pot smoke to blast Vuvuzelas to athletically support the Occupy crowd and get their day off to a good start. I think it would mean so much to them to know how much we really care.

And isn't it time we toot our own horns, instead of letting them continue to use them as funnels??? Honestly.

You can join Un-Ass Wall Street, You Filthy Hippies over here on Facebook.

May I present Jazz In My Pants:

I love the idea of a UK-based Dixieland style combo lead by a guy with a red plastic trombone. And then they had to go and cement my eternal affection by calling themselves Jazz In My Pants. If that makes me strange, then I shall wear that mantle with pride.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love



Their other stuff is great, ranging from delightments such as Harry Potter to Dick Dale to a neato St James Infirmary Blues that goes all wonky-skifflesque in the middle. CLEVER!

FWIW, this is filmed in the city of Durham in North East England. Go there, if you ever have the opportunity. The cathedral is quite lovely, and sits atop a great hill, and the town's high street is one of the most dramatically slanted of any I've ever seen. Tiny shops along the road seem to have entrances several feet higher and lower than the ones flanking it. But be sure to wear your walking shoes, darlings. Then again, platforms are great equalizers, so long as you walk back downhill backwards.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hero father brings his daughter's murderer to justice

30 years after a teenage girl was sexually abused and killed, her father kidnapped her murderer and brought him into France where he has been turned over to the authorities to stand trial for his crimes. Apparently, previous attempts to have the authorities extradite the murderer from Germany to France had been fruitless, so the father engaged goons to kidnap the accused and bring him into France. The father will be prosecuted for the kidnapping, but I can imagine that seems a small price to pay.

I love that Charles Bronson-style mettle, that he stuck with it and would not just let it go as long as his daughter's murderer walked free. I think no one would have blamed the father if he had simply put the man down like a rabid dog, so kudos on the restraint of having merely left the bastard bound and bleeding in the street after tipping off French police to pick him up.

Here's hoping the court goes easy on the father for his actions, and brings their most severe of punishments to the other.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Look out for fidotoxicity on your pampered lawn.

This is a serious problem that some lawns may be susceptible to:








Personally, I'd have no problem forgiving Fido.


The Dirt Doctor- Howard Garrett - Dallas area organic gardening guru. Howard Garrett has a radio program called "The Natural Way" which is fantastic He also has a whole raft of fabulous videos related to gardening over on YouTube. If you garden at all, definitely check out his site and videos. He has some great recipes for natural pest and weed control, and they are almost always cheaper and way less toxic than the storebought chemical versions of same.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This may be a little sick, but...

**UPDATE - it's too late for me, I can't UN-hear this song-- SAVE YOURSELF - don't watch the video below**

I can't stop giggling at it. I've only watched it about 20 times.



EVENING UPDATE: FWIW - I hate myself for having listened to this. I heard it in fevered dreams last night and I can't get it out of my head.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

next up: free healthcare and money growing on trees!

I recently ran into a former co-worker in an electronics store. For about a year, we worked together in a call center for a health insurance company. Back then, he'd talk occasionally about how healthcare should be free and Obama would fix everything and insurance companies are evil and sometimes he just talked about moving to Canada. Mostly, though, he talked about his belief that healthcare should be a free-for-all entitlement. I knew he-- I'll call him Shaggy-- had some pretty anti-capitalistic ideas, but I couldn't help notice that he fell in with the ranks of the rest of the paycheck whores to collect his piece of that "morally bankrupt" pie. I wonder why he didn't refuse the pay on the moral basis that people should be doing customer service in the healthcare industry for free?

Shaggy left the company about the time I did, and when I saw him at the store last week, I asked how he was and what he was doing now, and isn't it great not to work in that pressure-cooker setting any more. He started talking about how it was terrible, the insurance companies in general, and that he's doing much better now, making more as a part time sales person and going to school full time with expected graduation in May. I asked his field of study, and he said it's marketing. He also made a point of saying that he'd sucked up to influential people at the insurance company-- whether he liked them or not-- so that he'd have politically well-placed people in his corner, should he need backup. I realize that is pretty typical-- to align oneself with the perceived power in a situation-- but I found that wildly hypocritical, considering his general stance was that HE has a higher standard of ethics than your average company (or ANY insurance company) or individual. I also sort of pictured him putting his marketing know-how to use with 12 monkeys style propaganda and attempts at social engineering, because it's hard to imagine him actually doing something constructive with relation to marketing.

I can't believe that anyone with more than two neurons firing in their brain can say that all healthcare should be free -- how do they propose that all the millions of nurses, medical assistants, janitors and lab techs be paid? Do they think that these people-- like all doctors-- should act purely out of altruism and with no personal regard to finances or securing their own futures and that of their families? Do they want to pay extra thousands per year on their utility bills to fund the utilities of health care facilities? Where the hell do they think all that money will come from?

And if healthcare should be free, then what about all the other fabulous crap in the world-- why should anyone have to pay anything for anything? The idea of anything being an entitlement is pretty much unsupportable, in my opinion.

Life is not fair, nor should it be. No guarantee of all the same opportunities will ever guarantee uniformity of outcome, because we each will make different choices in the exploitation of our opportunities in life. Shaggy may choose a part-time job based on lifestyle flexibility and-- presumably-- no drug-testing, whereas I need the stability of a full-time job with some access to the communal benefit of a shared group insurance pool. Call it whoredom or whatever you want, but I have to base my choices of jobs on what I know about my own life and my own needs. If I were very young and extremely healthy, then maybe health insurance wouldn't be such a high priority, but then again, I made sure I had insurance throughout my twenties, so I suppose it was a priority then, too.


I'm baffled by the general ignorance of people who don't understand how insurance companies function, and it's even more dazzling when you consider that some of those people have worked for insurance companies. A group of people- generally with a common employer-- pool their resources to make an insurance group which negotiates their own allowed rates with doctors and facilities, and in that way, there is a mutually beneficial arrangement. The drs and facilities know that working with individuals in this group and giving them a discount will offset the lower pricing by a lowered risk of not being paid for those services. Likewise, this insured group will have lower rates for premiums and services in part because they are statistically unlikely to be running around and getting involved in drive-by shootings and streetfights and holdups at the liquor store. Low risk, relatively speaking. Want lower premiums and lower rates on your insurance? When applying for jobs, act like a professional, use proper English and deodorant, eschew facial tattoos and don't apply for companies that hire gang-bangers or other reprobates and you'll be half-way there.


My sister says that insurance is all a gamble-- you are gambling you will need insurance, and the insurance company is gambling you won't need it. I'm not saying everyone should have it free, and I'm not saying everyone should be forced to buy it for themselves.
I am saying that I want the power to make career choices for myself in the marketplace based on the availability of health insurance as part of a benefits package between me and my own private employer. There is a price I pay in that this has an impact on what I am actually paid by my employer and I take that into account when making career choices. For me, this is worthwhile and I am willing to pay that premium, but I sure as hell don't want to pick up the tab for the premiums for the self-indulgent wastrel gangbanger thugs or the ne'er-do-wells who are content to sit idle in a park in some sort of Occupy brand of bushwa.

And as for the marketplace and capitalism-- that potential to make money on inventions or techniques of treatment has been one of the greatest incentives for people to develop new drugs and new technologies related to the medical field and is one of the primary reasons why the USA was the cutting edge of medical advancement for most of the 20th century. In nearly all cases, these same great scientific and engineering minds belong to people who are not independently wealthy and need to make money to support themselves and their families-- why should some addle-witted hippie's moral (in)sensibilities dictate that these brilliant people should be prevented from profiting (or even just making a living) from their efforts in the medical field? Else, why would they bother with the medical field at all -- they can make money elsewhere with less red tape and social pressure. Thank goodness anyone still feels inspired to enter that field.

So, to try to gather all this mud back up into a ball-- I don't want the healthcare/insurance choice made for me, and I don't want to spend thousands of own money every year on health care and insurance, only to have more of my money confiscated by the government to cover the healthcare for someone who spent their thousands on spinning rims or a crunked grille. I'll stand by my choices, and I expect other people to have to stand by their own, as well.

Is that so much to ask?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Say Anything [else]



le sigh.

On the mend...

Still sickly, but improving. I went back to the dr on Saturday and got a steroid shot to reduce inflammation and hopefully unswell my eustachian tubes so the fluid could drain out. Also, they xrayed my lungs and I have inflammation on the right lung. I won't be terribly surprised if they call me tomorrow when the radiologist is in and tell me I have a mild case of pneumonia. They also gave me an injection of rocephin. I looked that up and it's a prime treatment for gonorrhea among several other ill-health issues. Goody. Any the who, I am much improved now, despite a sleepless night on Saturday. I blame the insomnia entirely on the steroid shot. Wired to the gills have I been these past 36 hours. It's nearly 1:00 on Monday morning and I have to be to work in 6 hours. Here's hoping I can cram in at least a little sleep.

Meh.

The good thing is the cough has been productive and I'm feeling generally better. I'm desperately eager for the fluid to drain from my ears, though, because I'm having to ask people to repeat things because everything sounds as if I'm hearing it from down a tunnel. I'm tired of this illness, and as of tomorrow, this will be two full weeks. I'm just glad I went to the dr on Saturday, rather than waiting until Monday.

Made some incredible turnip and rice soup, an Italian dish that is a favorite of mine. Bacon features heavily in this relatively simple dish, and it's very soothing. The recipe is nearly identical to this one, except that you put in chopped up bacon with the butter in the first step, instead of olive oil. You can also use pancetta, but bacon-bacon is more readily available, and I've never been unsatisfied with the results. They also say to slice the turnips very thinly, rather than cubing them as called for in this recipe. I find the slices are easy to coat with the bacon/parsley/buttery goodness, and they are pleasingly soft in the soup, and probably take less time to cook properly. This is a simple meal that's quite savory, and very satisfying. I recommend it highly, but not without the bacon!

Have a great week!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: puppy posteriors in repose

Teh puppehs make no bones about the fact that they take a dim view of me staying up past sundown, and to that end, sometimes they just give up on me and go to bed without me. I found them in bed this way last night and had to snap a little photo. I know I'm biased, but I thought this was so incredibly cute!



Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sitting in the dr office lobby (yes, again)...

...it strikes me that shows with laugh tracks of supposed studio audiences pretty much make my skin crawl. One-liner hell. It was one thing when the show was "The Honeymooners" or somesuch, but the dross tv churns out right now looks, from this small sample, like the death-knell for a civilization.

Meh.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Istanbul

I've done a decent bit of traveling, and there are only a couple places I really long to go and mean to go in my lifetime. One is Venice, one is Prague, and the other is Istanbul. Soundtrack for Steam is definitely worth investing in, if you like such exotic flavors.





Yummy.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Remind me not to move to Louisiana any time soon.

Louisiana legislators have passed a law that people who buy and sell second-hand goods can not use cash for those transactions, because cash is not traceable. They reason that the paper trail will help authorities to apprehend criminals who fence stolen goods to junk store sellers and the like, but I think the law will instead be used to fine small time junk dealers who routinely transact business with cash. There will be junk dealer stings. As a dyed-in-the-wool fan of the Great American Junk Store, I resent this encroachment on my future potential transactions between me and a junk dealer, which happens to be nobody's business but my own, and you lovely blog-reading lot, on occasion.

I gather from the article that this is purportedly aimed at folk who buy scrap metal, as this is a growing problem with thieves stealing wiring from utilities and homes throughout the country, but I think there are already controls in place governing buyers of scrap metal that require identification for those types of transactions. I don't foresee Charlie with his shopping cart of freshly harvested copper wire from the local strip mall showing up at Farmer Barleymow's Junk Palace for a cash tradeoff any time soon-- he'll go to a metals dealer with their scales and such. However, the encroachment of more gubmint regulation may drive my beloved Farmer Barleymow out of business entirely, and then where would we be? Trust me when I say that if you've any interest in anthropology, junk stores are one of the most fecund fields to explore the recent century and a half of our culture. Plus they have the most fabulous crap.

Anyway, this new law is seriously hosed-up. What next? Will SWAT teams descend on yard sales and wallop hausfraus with big fines for selling their used tupperware for a quarter, cash, not check/money order/credit card? This may seem ridiculous, but it's a slippery slope. And from the sound of the legislator in the video on the linked article, Louisianans have been firmly in that handbasket for a good long while already.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Browsing through home design and renovation sites online...

I came across several things which sort of jumped out at me. One was the conceit of a smug article on downsizing your home. I realize the average home is over 2000 square feet in the USA right now, but there I was, looking for articles on making my under-1000SF home more space-efficient and I was struck by the conceit of an article admonishing people to pare out the excess and how to live well in 1200 SF. I only WISH I had a whopping 1200 SF. The truth of it is, if you can swing a larger home in an area you'd like to live, why wouldn't you? It's certainly more comfortable, especially for a tchotchke queen like me. Meh.

Another pet-peeve is space-saving design and devices. I suppose these things are primarily designed for folk for whom space and not money is the premium, because a lot of these little gadgets and decorative flourishes would send my budget reeling, quite frankly. I suppose one thing that is frustrating is that like most published magazines, their sites are funded by companies who are selling design concepts and rely on you shelling out bucks to have a very proscribed look to your home. Unfortunately for me (or moreso for them as I'll not be shelling out my hard earned dosh on their products), the only thing I've an excess of is elbow grease and that is limited by the confines of my schedule.

There's much that remains to do on my home to make it presentable. I'm still in baby steps phase, but fortunately, I have friends who seem to have grasped my design direction and are wonderfully supportive and encouraging to that end, so I don't have to wait until it's "done" to have friends over to visit. I have to consider the value of my home on the market and how long I am (or am not) likely to live here, and the cold hard realities of how likely I am to see the cost of renovations back out of the home when I do sell it one day.

To be quite frank, if I felt I would be living here for 20 years, I would be spending probably about $30,000 (more than half what I spent on the house) on the kitchen renovation, and it would be well worth it to me, as a cook and entertainer. Living in the real world, though, when this house sells one day, my future buyer will most likely be a single professional who doesn't need multiple bathrooms, or it will be bought by a small family with a very modest budget. I need to spend here accordingly, because those buyers are not going to be able to afford my long-term taste.

I'm currently vexing over the floor situation. The house was a Sears kit home from the early 30s. The flooring throughout is fir and in varying states of condition. The kitchen has an awkward step up ont decking of 3/4" plywood with shoddy (and torn in places) vinyl over it. I'm marinating ideas of how to address the overall situation in a way that doesn't have a huge outlay of cash. The simplest idea seems to me to pull out the vinyl and replace it with yet more vinyl. I wonder what host of horrors the floor is under that decking? Yes, sounds like a holiday for someone who espouses the Elbow Grease school of renovation, but the problem with that type of challenge is that peeling back old layers often reveals greater problems that require more money than elbow grease. So-- do I put down more vinyl? Or linoleum tiles? or just some cheap laminate flooring in the kitchen that will show traffic wear patterns in just a few years? Or do I just man-up and pull up the vinyl and decking and face the music of whatever is under there? I'm having a hard time deciding.

What would you do?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

As you do unto the least of these, you do unto me.

An heroic firefighter saved a family's yellow Labrador Coda by peforming mouth-to-nose resuscitation.

Awwwwww.

For some reason, that's so much easier to countenance than mouth-to-beak resuscitation, isn't it?

I have created a monster!

At Blogorado last week, I kept singing (badly) that eardrum-piercing melisma from Minnie Riperton's 70s classic song Loving You. One morning at breakfast, we were all at the tables and Ambulance Driver was missing. One after another, several of us called him to ask where he was(just running a little late). I peeled some paint off the ceiling with that distinctive run of notes from Loving You, and he (on the phone) and the entire room around me fell completely silent and I said "don't be self-conscious, AD-- nobody's listening to us." More laughter. Yes, just one of those special moments from Blogorado. It was even better in person(except for my singing - ugh).

Matt can't get it out of his head now, poor man. Tsk tsk. He told me "Wife has been unhappy 'bout the song, too. Apparently, I just don't have the range. :)) "

Practice, practice, practice, Matt. Carnegie Hall will see you yet! And we all want to hear you sing that again.




btw - did you know that Minnie Riperton was the mother of Maya Rudolph? At the end of this song she sings "Maya, Maya". It's rather sweet.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I want my fence to look just like this one







Or, reasonably close, anyway. Lovely Lin came up with this gorgeous design for her fence and I'm determined to do something similar one of these days. Love it!

Monday, October 17, 2011

In which MattG said with simian zeal...








Q: Why is this monkey in jail?


A: Because it has no place in polite society.








This is a true story and I told a truncated version of it on the blog around that time, but because I'm not in the same professional situation that led to the monkey encounter, I will now make free to tell the whole, nasty truth about the day a lady brought a monkey into my office.




I was managing a group of lofts in Dallas, and due to the concrete floors, we had no size or breed restriction on dogs and were quite pet-friendly. We generally found that with the large deposit required and the price point of the lofts, most dog owners were of the responsible stripe and not inclined to ruin a home with pet filth, etc, and generally it was a peaceable kingdom when it came to pets.



One day, a woman called and asked if we allowed people with monkeys to rent there. I told her that I had no experience with that, but so long as general pet regulations were adhered to, I could not see any impediment to that, so long as the monkey was sufficiently small and at all times well-contained. She made an appointment to come see the apartment for later in the day.




When she arrived, the monkey was perched on her shoulder and seemed impossibly tiny-- maybe 2 or 2.5 pounds. She sat in the office and filled out a guest card, and we chatted a brief while. She asked had I seen her on the news recently, and I said that I had not watched the local news, and she proceeded to tell me she'd been in a custody battle with the SPCA for her Capuchin monkey, who was designated as a service animal that helped her focus. She said she'd recently been in a rehab facility for her nerves, and had left the monkey with her brother, who turned it over to the SPCA after a day or two, and thus had she the dickens of a time getting her pet back from the SPCA. She said she was convinced this was because the head of the local SPCA wanted her darling little monkey for herself.




For the purposes of this story, I need to give the monkey a name, so I'll call her LucyFur.




As the woman and I chatted, LucyFur was almost instantly all over my desk and into everything. How surreal is that? Emily Post wrote the book on responding to any manner of odd or unpleasant occurrences in social encounters from belches to any myriad other faux pas, but never does she advise how to address the thorny issue of asking a potential customer to control their bloody monkey in your office space.




I am a damned good salesperson, and I had a great track record at closing a deal with people on rentals, but unlike this potential renter, the monkey inspired something quite the opposite of focus for me-- I could not follow the conversation with the woman. I was trying not to be mean to her or the monkey, yet I needed to remove someone's rent check from LucyFur's maw and LucyFur at one point climbed atop my head and proceeded to rearrange my waist-length hair much as one would toss a salad. Many papers were torn, including my desk calendar. Meanwhile, LucyFur's Mommy [LM for short] never missed a beat and prattled incessantly. Fortunately, LM's monologues rarely required a response from me, so I was free to enjoy a sea of crashing waves of WTF about which the monkey buffetted me wildly.




Let me tell you a little more about LucyFur: she is smelly and sports a diaper. She's tiny, and the little black hands boggle the mind. The astonishingly teeny fingernails replete with long nail beds, the articulation of each digit are so like human hands and so impossibly small that I found her hands (nearly) the most disturbing thing about her. Yes, I'm trying at this point to focus on LM, but the monkey's into something else again. LucyFur hugs her body to my iced tea glass and grips it with her thighs and gloms her rubbery monkey lips onto the straw as I sputter to LM that she's drinking my drink! LM chuckled and said "that's okay, she LOVES coke!" as if this would be wonderful news to me. The point was not that I was concerned that little LucyFur would ingest aspertame or upset her little tummy with my carbonation in beverage of choice-- my concern was that her monkey was ruining MY frelling beverage!!! This fact was lost on LucyFur's Mommy, though.




I heard all the things she said to me, and some of them I processed later, but at the time, I was transfixed on LucyFur. Now, if someone came into your office with an unruly child, you would -- at some point-- ask the person to settle the child down - to keep them out of the drawers and such. You might give the child a pen and paper to draw, or perhaps a pack of razor blades, but how do you tell someone to control their monkey? I still don't know, but I hope I am never in the way of needing to know again.




Finally LucyFur, having drooled upon or coon-fingered everything within leash-length at least 3 times and apparently bored, locked her eyes upon mine. I must say I was in a near-hypnotic state, my brain's system completely short-circuited. I didn't bother to wonder what it would do next, I just sat and watched. LucyFur crept closer, about a foot from me, looking intently into my eyes, unblinking. I stared back. LucyFur flopped down on my desk on her right side, never breaking the stare, and shoved her left hand into her diaper, and appeared to be manually addressing herself quite vigorously. As she did so, her mouth went through an arc of expressions from a large open racetrack-oval to a wrinkly sphincter-like little circle, occasionally flashing teeth. Rinse, lather, repeat. [Am I dreaming this? Did someone slip acid in my breakfast burrito?] It was not strange enough already that I had this out-of-control pocket simian going ape-shit on my desk, but now she was masturbating to boot. LucyFur's Mommy staunchly ignored the 800 pound gorilla in the room and kept talking as if nothing unusual were happening. There I sat, lady talking on and on, monkey getting busy with herself on my desk, and I was absolutely reeling. I think my mouth must have been hanging open, thousand-yard-stare style. Then again, I'm sure LM didn't notice this, because this sort of thing must happen to her all the time. At last having talked herself out, LM asked for an application for the apartments and took her leave, and I crossed my fingers that she'd find something she liked somewhere else, because I just didn't know how I was going to deal with an ongoing relationship with such a client. My day derailed utterly, I tried to collect the tattered remnants of my sanity and get on with my work, picking up the pieces, because let's face it: after a monkey spanks itself on your desk, your life is never going to be the same, and you will thenceforth face each new day with a new sense of the possibility of unrealized horrors which may yet unfold in the day ahead.




A few days later, I spoke to a friend who managed other apartments in the area. I told her what a trying week it had been and she said "oh, you think yours was bad? A couple of days ago, a lady brought an insane monkey in here. It drank my coke!" I quipped "but did it masturbate on your desk?" Turns out LM had been visiting a lot of local apartments with her LucyFur, trying to winnow out the attention from the local news story and had dropped into the friend's community as well while making the rounds. Monkey-housing syndrome, perhaps?




SO... I googled LM. I found the news story, but it said not that she'd been in a rehab facility for her nerves, but had been in jail for writing hot checks. Um. Wow. Apparently after a day babysitting, the monkey had been too much for her brother to manage and he'd turned it over to the SPCA in hopes that they could do a better job. I must take a moment here to say that as eerie and disturbing as I found the monkey to be, I think the little devils should never be mistreated, but I do seriously question their appropriateness as pets. And if 2.5 pound of monkey can wreak that much havoc and chaos, can you imagine the challenges of a larger monkey or a chimp? Heaven forbid.




Lingering over breakfast at Blogorado one morning last week, I told the above story with monkey facial expressions and the whole nine yards, and Tam and MattG were practically doubled over with laughter. It IS a funny story, and I still can't quite wrap my entire brain around it, but it is such a singular experience that even though I still don't understand it all, I feel better for talking about it. Just when the laughter was ebbing and everyone felt somewhat recovered, MattG quipped "well, there's one off your bucket list: have a member of another species masturbate while thinking of you." And fresh gales of laughter erupted.