Friday, August 31, 2012

bracing myself.

My braces go back on in 10 days.  I'm trying to eat my favorite nut things right now, because nuts (along with hard things like chips) are verboten and can make the brackets snack off.  Right now, it's black walnut ice cream.  This will be interesting.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


I made a 100% on my first A&P II quiz today, and last night I made 100% on my first Macroeconomics quiz. It's a good start.

First A&P lab we went over safety requirements and then had to focus the microscope. I had mine focused in about 5 seconds and we got to leave the class after maybe 15 minutes, the first ones dismissed. I'm going to like being in a smaller lab this time, I think. :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

ukulele and girl soothe the savage beastie

My dear friend Lin sent me this video of a drowsy kitten being lulled to lalaland by the dulcet tones of a young lady singing and playing ukulele.  Very cute!

For one brief moment, I thought it would be nifty if the puppies sang along when I play guitar or ukulele, but then I realized that once started, they would likely never stop helping mommy.

The nice songstress in the video is Sarah Donner who is an indie folkpop star who fosters kittens and must be an awfully great gal.  :)  Anyone who can subdue kittens thusly could surely herd them!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Syrio Forel demonstrates why we say NO CAPES!

I am quite taken with Game Of Thrones in general, but I really love Arya and her sword instructor Syrio Forel.  I am no expert on this kind of fighting, but the choreography here looks very well executed to me.  I also love how he uses an opponent's cape against him, and all the while he seems very balanced, watchful and calm. 

Syrio is brilliantly played by sword master and instructor Miltos Yerolemou.   

I also notice as Arya runs away, we hear the fight ensue, but a metal sword clangs to the stone floor.  I hope this means Syrio will appear again. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

The new semester has arrived.

I'm excited because the two courses I have scheduled should be more sanely manageable than those hideous condensed summer courses I took, even though I expect these will both be challenging courses.

About the beastly professor I had in the summer session:  I do take great umbrage at her ass-ery, but   I know not to deal with her again, and I've left a true and damning comment for her on 

Here's a brief rundown of [the worst of] what happened:  the class was reading-heavy, report-heavy and generally incredibly dense and demanding.  Wanting to do well as ever, I attempted an additional credit report for the course which might have yielded 2% increase in final score-- well worth the effort.  The syllabus stated the professor "prefers" papers submitted in Word format.  When I submitted a paper which took me 4 hours to research and  compose, she did not grade it.  I contacted her to ask I why I was given no assessment on my work, and she replied she didn't think it was long enough based on the file size in that non-Word format.  I responded that my paper was a mere 20 words less than the sample paper she'd put forth as an example and mine actually contained about 50 more characters-- I used bigger words.  She responded that if I resubmitted the paper in Word she would look at it. In other words-- she lied in her syllabus: this would best be characterized as professor "REQUIRES" papers submitted in Word, rather than "PREFERS." 

I did not respond.  I can deal with very specific information that tells me of the professor's expectation, but I actively detest passive-aggressive scenarios in which someone wheedles that they prefer things this one way but can't commit to saying it must be done that particular way or will not be considered for grading. What I think was at play here was that the professor could not require students to buy a particular Word processing program, so she had to use the mealy-mouthed term "prefers" when in fact, she had absolutely no intention of considering a paper submitted in any other format. 


Via email, I reached out to a classmate who was very vocal in participating in the class' online discussions.  We volleyed a few emails and I gathered she was working full-time and had several small children and was struggling to better her lot in life and was afraid of not even passing the course, and that her extra credit offerings had been given a 0 as well. :(  I felt worse for her than I do for myself-- I knew I'd get a B at the minimum. 

This professor must feel great about herself, that she could be so condescending to honest, decent people who are trying to better themselves in life.  She really should tug on her ears until she sees daylight, because she's not inspiring a quality educational experience, and she is NOT improving the world. If dispensing condescension from the lofty confines of her ivory tower is her idea of making the world a better place, then she truly is a stark-raving solipsistic jerk.

Considering about halfway down her syllabus contained dates from the Spring semester, I knew she had a much more exacting set of standards by which she judged student submissions than that to which she holds herself.   I then deemed my previous extra credit efforts to have been a fool's errand, and I wasted no more time on attempting extra credit papers. 

There was other bullshittery afoot on her part, but, again, it was too late to opt for another class or another professor, so I had only to make the best of it.  In the end, I earned an A all under my own steam and I got a lesson in sociology, alright: I learned firsthand that malevolent dictatrixes suck big green donkey whongers. 

Good riddance.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: Heidi and Chuy

The delightful Jennifer and Evyl Robot came to town this weekend and brought the ever angelic pup Heidi.  Heidi has been to visit with Chuy and Praline before, and they've been great buddies in the past, but it seems that Mochi and Heidi were well-matched in their play styles, and much delightful romping was had by all.  We spoke wistfully of the Phlegmfest when a bunch of people brought their dogs, and that was great, but it also was a hugely chaotic element that made things more stressful to me.  Heidi, however, is better behaved than my own dogs.  Maybe some of that could rub off on them, you think?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

We got comp'nay!!!

The lovely couple that is Jennifer and Evyl Robot arrived at Chez Phlegm yesterday with the always delightful Heidi. Himself made his wonderful chicken taco soup and we generally had a grand time. Know you are itching to hear so I'll tell you: Jennifer was wearing glossy nook-yoo-lar green sandals with (at least) 4" stacked leather heels. They coordinated with her green linen top and white stingray holster beautifully.

The fellows got a fire roiling in the chimenea and I drank more bloody marys than was seemly. Then I inflicted some ukulele on everyone. We laughed aplenty and I had a wonderful time.

They brought some bacon-stuffed olives which are absolutely glorious!

Tonight we are for karaoke in town, and I expect there will be a footwear photo. We may go to the range for snooty(er, shooty) goodness, and there may be a pedicure in there somewhere. For now, though, I'm going back to sleep.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, August 24, 2012

Life is good

This is my happy face.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Let's play "which shoes will Phlegmmy wear today?"

My vote is my Can't Touch This in white and gold from Irregular Choice.

Well, fancy that! My vote wins!!!

Yee haw!

Today I celebrate Thursday with superlative footwear. 

...or maybe I'll wear the ones with the pandas.


meanwhile, I'm still thinkin'...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


You know what one of my favorite things at work is?  I just LOVE when a dim-witted person-- usually trailing great swags of malapropisms-- treats me like a moron.  I know that probably reads as sarcasm, but I'm completely serious. 

You see, we have a policy of resolving the issue the caller has on the first call in.  This just makes good sense, and if I were running the show, I'd admantly hold with just such a policy-- it's the only way to give good service. 

Tuesday a man called up and asked my name.  I told him "Rita" and he said "Well, Rina..."   He sputtered about a bit and I finally was able to divine through the tangle of incomplete sentences what he was trying to achieve with the call.  My gut told me that the answer to this riddle would be found in the notes of my colleagues who spoke with him earlier. 

"Bear with me, sir" I said so I could read the notes, at which he immediately launched into another harangue, not allowing me a moment to think clearly.  I sat silently, listening to him and then I asked him to bear with me again.  I gave him the answer to his (sort of) question, which was apparently Not What He Wanted To Hear.  I did not mince words, but suggested a resolution which to me made sense, even though it would mean I'd be spending the better portion of the next hour engineering a good outcome for the customer.

He then said "meaning you no disrespect, Rina, but I'd like to talk to Julia on this subject again, because I think she will be able to speak intelligently on this matter."

I was more than happy for him to get his happy ending elsewhere-- I was utterly off the hook.  By all means.  Find someone smarter than me. :)  Break my heart.  Heigh ho!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

This was one of the most thrilling events I've attended. The conference was called Yaa Halla, Y'all! and next year I hope to go to more than one evening. All the dancers were gorgeous, and there was an impressive array of ages and styles on display. There were lots of vendors with bellydance gear for sale, too.

First was a group of 27 individual professional dancers competing, and then troupes from parts far and wide. I did not envy the judges their painful task of selecting the topmost acts of the evening, because everyone was a pleasure to watch. Then finally there was a handful of some of the finest superstars of bellydance. To my delight, the luscious Ansuya performed:

...and I nearly levitated when I found out the Friday evening performance roster would conclude with the ever-delightful Sadie.

I had a grand time and am looking forward to the one next year.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Internet issues...

Will hopefully be resolved today. Puppy Monday post to come, hopefully! Blogger can be persnickety about allowing me to post photos from my phone.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dry cleaning.

Yup, gonna crab about dry cleaning. I don't think it really cleans clothes, do you? I had a skirt dry cleaned in June, pulled out of the closet today and it smells bad. Some weird chemical thing, I think.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, August 16, 2012

one certain pup is teething

Miss Mochi is prone to chewing everything.  By everything I mean EVERYTHING.  She came up with my guitar tuner one day.  My capo is missing and I suspect her.  Somewhere she must have a little magpie cache of shiny crap wot she stole. 

One good teething toy I've gotten for her is a Kong Teething Stick.  I've not smeared peanut butter or shaving cheese into the grooves like they recommend, but she seems quite pleased to gnaw on it at length anyway.    Still, I'm worried about her uneven bite and how the baby teeth don't seem to be falling out.  The big canines are coming in but the little baby ones seem like they don't plan to go anywhere anytime soon.  poor little lamb.  I hope they don't need to be surgically removed, but I suppose that could happen when shes getting fixed.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

Imperial March as it was destined to be interpreted

This is part and parcel of why I wanted to learn to play ukulele.  If this doesn't make you happy in your pants, something is wrong with you!

This interpretation of menace con carne was brought to you by Kuricorder Quartet

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Check out my big, swinging nuts!

After two fruitless years in a row, looks like I'll have a bumper crop of pecans.  Woohoo!  I have to do pecan recon every day, because Mochi loves eating fresh pecan out of the green hulls. 

I am wondering if having the trees properly seen to by my brother-in-law is what spurred the nut crop this year.  Whatever it is,  I'll take it.  There's some really big ones up there. YAY!  Here's hoping I collect more than the squirrels will.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cotton Eyed Joe

While talking on the phone with lovely Lin on Thursday, I was chuckling about the part of the Cotton Eyed Joe dance wherein everyone changes direction and mimics flicking cow doodie off their boots as they shout "Bullshit!"  Lin, hailing from northward parts, had never heard the song or seen the dance.  It's actually quite a nice tune. 

This is a recording of same by Western Swing bandleader Adolph Hofner and released in 1941 or so, along about the same time Bob Wills released a less-popular version. (I prefer Adolph's version). Wikipedia states this tune and variations on the lyrics pre-date the War of Northern Aggression.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

You should fix up your Continental, Dad!

I think I like it in non-convertible better, though.  :)

3 tons?  No wonder it shows up on the satellite photo.

Strawberry slicer

This is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets I've found in yonks.  I've taken to eating a salad with strawberries lately, and this strawberry slicer is amazing and makes neat little slices that are more fork-friendly than the whole berry. 

It's about $7 or so, and I can imagine it would be great for lots of berry dishes where you want a nice, even presentation.  :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

What exactly was that turkey supposed to have been doing in the straw, anyhow?

I've always wondered.

Dad burned ice cream truck. Now it'll be in my head for weeks.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Guess what I got done on Monday night?

Absolutely nothing. 

Well, I made a pie. I also dirtied some dishes, but mostly  I goofed off.  I played the guitar and uke for a bit.
It's good to be out of school now and for the next few weeks. *whew*

I may goof off most of the week.  Regroup.  I really needed a break.

I've outgrown my cheapie ukulele. It won't stay in tune but I do so love playing it.  Now I'm looking at all the pretty ukes and trying to make a sensible choice about my next acquisition.  I'm lusting mightily for a Beltona resonator, the type of uke Tiny Tim was playing when he keeled on over to shuffle off this mortal coil.  But... I'll probably go for something that costs about a quarter of that amount for my next one.  We shall see.  The Eddy Finn ukes sound good and some of them are somewhat modestly priced. 

There's an entire ukieverse out there and I want to get on!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Sunday, Puppy Sunday: contemplative Praline

Praline has 3 modes: sleep, ZOOM! and statuesque stillness.  It may sound unlikely, but her still mode is the scariest, as it may the harbinger of death to small things in her general vicinity.  Though she looks very pretty and downright contemplative, her little ribcage barely contains the raging heart of a cold-blooded, methodical killer.  She resents having her victims' blood wiped away, having earned it. 

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Ice T on gun control

 hat tip to Lin

rabid product endorsement: Clover Wonder Clips

I sew on occasion and always intend to sew more than I do, but I'm sure you recognize I'm already too too busy.  Still, I keep my eyes peeled for tools that make the process easier.  Right now I have a butt-ton of silk shantung with which I intend to do something grand, coupled with some finer cuts of silk.  One of the problems with the finer stuff is that it's lightweight and the fabric can be slippery or crawly when you are pinning it, cutting and sewing it.  Unfortunately, there'll be no getting away from having to use pins, ultimately, but for at least the sewing process, I've found a product that is simply amazing. 

Clover Wonder Clips are magnificently grabby little things that I can imagine would be great around the house in many an application.  They have very strong springs and can clamp onto lightweight fabric with out pulling or distorting the line.  The jaw opens up wide enough you can clamp other things together, probably even lightweight leather and the like.  I've seen quilters online singing glad hosannas at the arrival of this product, too. Right now I've got several holding up a thin drape out of the way of the window A/C unit Himself installed in the bedroom for me yesterday.  (It's been about 115 here the past few days, and if you think about it, my A/C system keeping the house 80 degrees is impressve-- 35 degrees cooler than outside, but it's still too bloody hot!)

If you sew at all or work on projects where you need some extra set of fingers around for grabby action, I recommend these wholeheartedly.  Buy the 50 pack and they come in a handy little case, too.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Mick Karn - fretless bass

I'm not a fan of Angie Bowie (remember her?) or her poetry although I can appreciate the spirit and the energy, she is very much of that moment.   I AM, however, a great admirer of Mick Karn's work with his Wal fretless bass.  He was a self-taught musician and could not read music, but was a brilliant instrumentalist. This is one of my favorite examples of what he did so masterfully on the bass guitar, because this is relatively stripped-down without layers of vocalists or other instruments muddying the waters.  I find his musical stylings astonishing. I liked his work with Japan, and loved the music he made with Peter Murphy in Dali's Car.  I wish I'd gotten to see him perform live once.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Made an A in psych.

After 10 hours of work Tuesday, I studied for a bit, and then took the plunge.  I did very well on my final exam, getting 144 out of 150, so the A is a done deal.  Yay!

I bought a nice bottle of wine with which to celebrate, but decided to not open it that late.  But Wednesday or Thursday I expect to have a bit of that.  :)

I saw a story in the news that struck a sad chord.  Apparently more and more people are simply choosing to trash their old pianos, rather than donate them or give them away. 

This strikes me as oddly bookendish, as if we have arrived at some juncture as a culture.  I recall reading that in the mid nineteenth century the trail westward was strewn with discarded pianos as the overworked animals really couldn't bear the extra weight in the wagons.  There was a time when having a piano was a symbol of prestige and refinement in a household. I wonder how anguished the decision was to pitch over the centerpiece of the parlor, but it must have dawned on people quite quickly that keeping the piano might mean the death of the draught animals, and that would mean none of their stuff would survive the journey.  Now a piano is increasingly something big and clunky that many people don't want to pay the money to move professionally.

There's a lot that goes into moving a piano.  In Dallas, one of my residents was a professional pianist with a 12' grand.  His was an instrument he bought at auction in a delapidated state for about $25,000.  I don't know how much the refurbishment cost, but aferward the piano was valued at about $125,000.  He bought a house about 35 miles away, and it cost him about $7000 to have professional movers crate and ship this, but it was a matter of protecting his investment. 

Now, crating and moving your average piano won't be $7000, but I don't see why people don't just put ads in their local papers or on Craig's list or something-- free to a good home-- you move it, you can have it.

Seems to me.  It just seems a waste and a shame.  I'm going to go practice my guitar now.

School's out for summer!  School's out for, well, not forever, but I'll settle for a handful of weeks. :)