Friday, December 24, 2010

The Ginger Swap

The little loaner dog is going to Camp Twin City while I'm gone, so Rvan came to Woodland to pick her up today. It was sort of like one of those shared custody arrangements, except this was on a Friday and didn't take place at McDonalds. Bert and Ernie came along for the ride.

Apparently Christmas Eve day is not the time to find an open restaurant in Woodland. One might think that since it's one of the biggest shopping days of the year the places downtown would at least be open for lunch, but we here in Woodland are beyond that sort of thing. After walking to the Thai place (closed), the Mexican place (in a former bank, also closed), and rejecting the saloon (nothing without meat on the menu), we ended up at the sushi place. The twins were very good natured about all the to-ing and fro-ing as we tried to find a restaurant, even when Rvan almost flipped the stroller getting back on the sidewalk.

The best part was the looks we got from people. Without Christina there, people naturally assume that I'm one of the parents. I get that. I'm still convinced that the "you break it, you bought it" rule might somehow apply to babies, so I carefully maintained a five foot buffer zone. It was still very funny that you could almost feel the positive thoughts beaming from everyone toward Rvan as he mixed formula and fed both babies at the same time. On the other hand, I was getting the tractor beam of condemnation coming from everyone as I sat eating and making faces on the other side of the table.

Anyhow, it's a little odd here without the little dog. I've already let the big dog outside and forgotten to let her back in for an hour because she didn't bark like Ginger does.

The little fluffy dog has her uses...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I should quit my wining...

After an exhausting day of lying around in my pajamas and reading, I showered and ran out of the house to get to my beloved Nugget (number three on my list of reasons to live in Woodland) so I have groceries for the week, and almost tripped over my realtor's latest Christmas offering on the doorstep.

(When I was planning to buy a house, I asked my friend Anna for a realtor recommendation. She gave me a name and number, then added "She sounds like a man on the phone." It's true. She does. That's really all I remember about her since it has been eight years since we last talked.)

Looking in my cupboard, one might think that I really like this wine since I appear to be stocking up on it. Other people I know have wine lockers that are holding expensive wines that are steadily turning into expensive vinegar. Not me. In reality, I just can't figure out what to do with this stuff. I think I opened the bottles the first two years, the first time to try it, the second time because I didn't believe that it could possibly have been that bad. I'm not really a wine person, so maybe that's part of the problem, but I think the bigger problem is that this stuff is just really terrible wine.

So, now my question is... what do I do with it? Any ideas? Would it make me a bad person to donate it to the drunks hanging around outside the Hotel Woodland? (Fun fact: the Hotel Woodland, our local rent-controlled apartment building down the street, has its own special symbol on the Megan's law website, indicating that there are multiple sex offenders living at the same address. Lovely.)

Is there some sort of fruity blended drink that I can make? Would vinegar made from this stuff taste even worse?

My thirty second google search turned up a way to make sangria (with fruit and triple sec), and a suggestion that bad white wine can be used for getting red wine stains out of clothing. Assuming that I (a) drank red wine, (b) spilled it on my clothes, and (c) cared enough to try to get it out, is white zinfandel considered a white wine? I believe this last question shows the true depth of my wine ignorance.

Anyhow, if anyone wants nearly a gallon of terrible wine, let me know.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ho Ho Ho beta

So my pimp showed up at work today like he sometimes does, and it appears that after two years I might have memorized both his face and his name. (He's also one of the few people that wears a tie, and he always immediately launches into incredibly innocuous small talk, so there are a few other clues.) Anyhow, he apologized for not wearing a Santa hat, and I claimed that wouldn't have been very professional anyhow. This from someone wearing jeans and a t-shirt, even if I did avoid the bleach-stained shirt when dressing this morning.

After he left Eric and I were discussing whether, in fact, a Santa hat would be unprofessional attire, since professional attire is determined by the job. I reversed my position and agreed that it might be, since programmers are probably more like mall Santas than CEOs.

Here's my list (which I would check twice if I weren't too damn lazy)...

Programmers are like mall Santas because:
  • Boots are completely acceptable work wear.
  • Our job is to listen to your wish list and nod.
  • We nod while listening because we have absolutely no intention of delivering what you're asking for.
  • On the face of it we appear to be completely unemployable in any other profession.
There are probably more reasons, but we'll leave them for future enhancements. As Useless Eustace always said, it will be done in two weeks.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Let there be bags with candles!

Tonight is our neighborhood luminary night, when everyone is supposed to put out lunch bags with a little tea candle inside. There's also a food and coat drive, so it's a bit of a charity thing, but mostly it's a chance to make the neighborhood look pretty and give everyone an excuse to wander around in the evening.

It's also leaf-drop season here in Woodland, and the combination of candles and dry leaves does worry me a bit, but so far luminary night has not crossed over into Guy Fawkes territory.

One thing I found out this year is that my neighbor is actually worse than I am at organizing things. It's hard to believe, I know. She was in charge of organizing our five house block and I'm the only one she managed to talk to. If you go one street over, the luminaries stretch for almost a mile. They're a little better at organizing things over there apparently.

Anyhow, we wandered around, talked to a lot of people strolling with wine glasses, looked at a lot of Christmas lights, and generally had a good time. My neighbors did spend a significant amount of the time lamenting the fact that they don't have their decorations up yet. I figure the luminaries are a fine decoration by themselves and don't require me to get up on the roof, so it's all good.

Friday, December 10, 2010

If a blog falls on a Thursday and nobody notices, does it still make a sound?

So... I got home last night and did some stuff and then I went to bed and then I woke up this morning and ate breakfast and then thought "Oops". The old type-A me would have been all stressed out over missing a self-imposed blogging deadline, but the new zen me took it in stride. (Right, that's a lie, I've never been type-A in my life. Some days my only goal is to get out of bed and take a shower before dinner, and I still let myself slide on that one.)

But back to the point, if I can find it -- I talked to JoJo the Enforcer over the weekend, and she asked me where I come up with my blog ideas. Now, I thought it was perfectly obvious that nine times out of ten I don't actually have an idea. In fact, I went to the damn fair and ate that godawful fried food just so I wouldn't have to think of something else to talk about. I made myself sick for twenty-four hours because I was too lazy to think. How sad is that?

So this morning, I thought to myself "Hey, I should go install my HD radio that I've had in my trunk for a couple of months. I could even take pictures. That would be special enough to excuse the late post." But then I started working and I forgot about it. And then it was too dark to work in the car.

So there we have it. This is a day late, I still have nothing to talk about, and the radio is still in the trunk. It goes without saying that I still have no vanity in the back bathroom and I have yet to put the plate back on the light switch in the front bathroom.

Procrastination, thy name is Theresa.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

All The News That's Fit To Print Without Editing

I had some extra time today, so I was looking over the online version of my local paper, the Daily Democrat (est. 1857). Known as the Daily Disappointment by some of my friends, it is everything you expect of a small paper these days -- often poorly written, usually poorly edited, and occasionally unintentionally hilarious.

(For family news I just rely on the bush telegraph whose name is Jeff -- his grammar is just as bad, and there is no editing, but he tells everyone about everything whether you want him to or not, so I don't need another source.)

Most of the content in the Daily Democrat these days is not local, which I think is a shame. After all, if I wanted to read non-local news, I wouldn't get it from a four-page thick paper that shows up in the late afternoon. No, the best stories are the ones that are about local events, whether that's the edge-of-hysteria piece about the police arresting a wanted felon (who tried to flee on his bicycle), or the annual article about how wild turkeys were seen running down the road in town (which is usually titled something like "Turkeys Trot Through Town"). If you can get past the "why would anyone think this is news?" reaction, it's a good read. It also helps if you aren't a stickler for proper grammar or spelling.

Anyhow, today I made it to the obituaries. I don't really understand why I ever read them since I don't know these people, but read them I do. Unlike those found in the papers from more populated areas, the obituaries in the Daily Democrat usually have a fair amount of personal information. Sometimes they even make me wish I'd met the person, which I suppose is something. My favorite from today is for a guy named Wayne Henry King who was a ranch manager. It sounds like he did quite a lot of stuff in his 53 years, and it also sounds like he helped quite a few people along the way. But what really made the obituary great was this line buried in the middle of the second paragraph:

"He loved his family and friends, and his cat Munchkin Princess."

So, okay, sure, he had questionable taste in cat names, but still, the fact that this tough ranch manager loved his cat enough that his family felt it necessary to mention her by name in his obituary makes me think that the world is a worse place without him.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cooking Tip of the Day

When using up yams, cranberries, and marshmallows, you might want to put the marshmallows on the bottom, not the top.

Learn from my mistakes...

Sunday, November 28, 2010


There are times when I think that the two dogs should be the chocolate and peanut butter of Reese's peanut butter cups -- perfectly complementary. Molly is deaf, and Ginger... well, I'd say Ginger is dumb, but she barks more than Molly (who I think has barked twice in six months) and Ginger's the brain surgeon of the two, so it doesn't really apply. I guess I'll have to go with Molly is deaf and dumb, and Ginger is a little dog.

But my point here is that Ginger doesn't obey because she doesn't want to, and Molly doesn't obey because she can't hear anything. The obvious solution is to train Ginger to get Molly's attention when I want her to come to me. That way it would always be Ginger's fault, no matter what happened.

The only problem is that this relies on me being able to train Ginger, and that might be asking too much. I'll be honest and admit right off the bat that the problem is not with Ginger. Training a dog to do anything requires consistency and timing, and I sometimes have the attention span of a squirrel on meth. It's truly amazing that I can get both dogs to sit at the door when it's time to go for a walk, and sitting is a pretty simple concept.

My only consolation is that at least I haven't trained her to do any bad behaviors, like a coworker of mine who has been working from home lately, and has accidentally trained her dog to bark. We all know how that happens -- the dog barks and she gives him treats to shut him up, and very quickly the dog learns how to get more treats. This coworker is having a baby in the next month, so we'll see how that ends up...

Anyhow, I've decided to take the easy way out and just wait until the dogs do something (anything) and say the command. That way they can do whatever they want, and I get the satisfaction of feeling that they're being obedient.

So far with this new technique I've learned the commands for spin around and snore. Now I'm off to go learn how to tell Ginger that she's barking. Good dog!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving thanks for the gobble

For this Thanksgiving I had great plans to stay at home and be anti-social while eating my traditional French onion soup, but then my next door neighbor went and ruined my plans by inviting me to their family dinner.

This is the same family that invited me to dinner one of the first years after I moved here, then sat me next to "Uncle Walter" at the table. Uncle Walter proceeded to drink himself into an obnoxious state and spent a large part of the evening embarrassing all of his relatives. I found out later that this was his standard M.O., which was why I had been seated next to him. They apologized for that (after the fact). It actually turned out alright, though, because he wasn't my Uncle Walter and thus I didn't really care what he was talking about.

This year there were no extended family members, so it was a more relaxed affair. The turkey wasn't cooked through, initially, but as the lone vegetarian at the table, I didn't care. Everything else turned out well, and their dog only managed to steal one roll out of the kitchen before she was caught and banished to the living room.

I spent part of the evening trying to convince my neighbor that I'm not really a CIA agent. What she sees as my mysterious behavior is really just me being my normal, boring, occasionally erratic self, but I'm having a hard time getting her to believe that. She's mostly joking, though. At least I hope so. I finally told her that if she found out the truth I'd have to kill her, so she should stop asking questions. Then we started talking about rules of grammar, ethics in production, the fact that her mother refuses to believe that her grandparents weren't married until after their first child was born, and other pressing issues.

Anyhow, a good time was had by all, even if I did have to postpone my hermit day. Tomorrow, though, I'm not talking to anyone. The world can be thankful for that.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Whatcha gonna do?

Instead of following through with my plans for the day (namely, being productive in some way, shape, or form), I spent the day lounging in the dog-walking outfit (scrub pants and a sweatshirt) and slippers watching half a season of "Cops".

It was educational. There's not a lot of white collar crime on that show. What there is, is a whole lot of people like the ones I saw when I was on overnights in Louisiana. Apparently those people are everywhere.

I learned that a whole lot of people are driving around in cars that some other guy stole. And a lot of people apparently throw drugs into the cars of perfect strangers which causes problems when that stranger is pulled over. And a lot of scantily-clad women with really dilated pupils meet a lot of really kind gentlemen who are willing to give them rides to the grocery store. Oh, and some of those women are really men.

But what I really got out of it is that after an entire day of watching television, I am a skinny, healthy, youthful-appearing, eloquent, clean, well-groomed, well-mannered, and productive member of society.

It doesn't get any better than that.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I would have added the kitchen sink, but it wouldn't fit.

Quiche has turned out to be the nuclear option in my ongoing battle to finish everything in my veggie box. Can't figure out what it is? Put it in the quiche. Can't figure out how it's supposed to be cooked? Steam it and put it in the quiche. Don't have a lot of time or energy? Quiche.

If it can be coarsely chopped, it's suitable for the quiche.

But, you say, what about all of those veggies that you don't have the mature palate to appreciate?

That's where the jalapenos come in. And then a bit of cottage cheese to calm the jalapenos. And feta cheese on top to make it taste really good. And if there's any space left, that's where the egg and milk mixture goes.

Real men may not eat quiche, but any lazy person with a veggie box probably does...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Possessions of Jeff

No, this isn't going to be another post on religion -- Jeff's sometimes a little weird, but I've never actually seen his head spin around.

No, this is the post in which I make fun of my brother because he claims he can't figure out the whole "apostrophe s" thing. It's not hard. In fact, there are examples all around us if you know where to look.

Here are a few from my morning walk:

(This picture has nothing to do with grammar; I'm just setting the scene here.)

Here we have the swim school of Morley. I don't know who Morley is. But there's only one of him (or her), because it is Morley plus 's.

There is only one Jim, and here is his store:

This is the tricky one. There are multiple physicians, and they all own a building (or at least they did when this sign was put up originally). Since physicians's would be hard to say, it's just physicians'. Of course, they would never name a building like that now, but back then people could apparently learn the grammar rules without falling apart.

And now, the test:

There are multiple overalls, but they don't own anything, so they don't get an apostrophe. But Levi Strauss & Co are lording their overalls over y'all, so they get the apostrophe.

Is it all clear now? If not, Liam may have to explain it to you in a few years.

The skull from Jim's Store thanks you for your time:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Holy Obligation, Batman!

The sucky thing about being born on November 1st in a Catholic (okay, at least my mom is) household is that November 1st is All Saints' Day, which is a "holy day of obligation", otherwise known as a "let's make Theresa be bored in church every year on her birthday, ha ha ha" day.

It would have been much better had I been born on November 2nd because a) yeah, not a "holy crap you're obligated to park your butt in church" day, and b) it would coincide with the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration. Sure, I'm not from Mexico, but still... If I can't pick and choose what cultural traditions to rip off, what kind of American would I be?

I was thinking about this today as I walked by Jim's Store since still he has a bunch of small ceramic skull figurines in the window display. (Okay, so it's been a week since Day of the Dead, but who's counting?)

I like the idea of going to a graveyard to say hello to the dead. But then I started thinking about how this would work in my own life, and I ran into trouble.

First off, I have absolutely no idea where any of my relatives are buried. I could narrow it down to the state, but after that I'd have to just start guessing.

So I'd have to pick somebody else's relatives to say hello to, which is okay, but then I started thinking -- I don't know these people, what if I don't even like them? I mean, the chances of that are pretty good, because there are a lot of people I don't like. And they aren't even, you know, dead.

And a lot of dead people are really old, or at least they were before they died. They'd probably want to talk about all their medical problems. Who wants to hear a bunch of old people talking about their ailments? The only reason to listen to other people blab about their ill health is so you can talk about your own much more fascinating problems. Let's face it, it would be hard to one-up the dead people when talking about medical problems because they died from whatever was wrong with them. It's like a freaking coup-fourré.

So ultimately I've decided to just keep my birthday where it is and just un-obligate myself. I think it will just work out better this way.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

You're All Fired!

At work we've finally hit the stage of the current release at which point I want to fire everyone I work with. This happens to varying degrees every time we put out a release, so I try not to do anything irrevocable, but sometimes that's harder than others.

(For the record, I also have days when I think I'm a complete screw-up and should be fired as well. I try not to yell at myself while I'm in the cubicle at work.)

If one more person tells me they don't have anything to work on, I may give in to my impulses and snarl and ask them if they've tried to run the product lately. It's not like we're lacking in things to work on. Surely anyone can see that if you can't hit any button at all without an error popping up, it's not finished yet.

Today reminds me that universal stupidity is pretty much a constant, though, because today is the day we "fall back". The whole idea of daylight savings time is just asinine. It was stupid when if was first instituted, and it's even more so now. What really gets me, though, is that not only do we screw around with the time twice a year, we can't even all agree about when (or even if) it is supposed to happen. To figure out the time you have to know the date, and what country and timezone you are in. That just makes no sense. It offends my (German) sense of order.

Anyhow, my computers have one time, the oven and alarm clock have another, and the car radio has something completely random since I never reset the clock after Jeff and I made our abortive attempt to put in the HD radio. (I usually get home from work around "2:20", unless I'm running late and it's closer to "3:30" -- this really cuts down my anxiety about getting to work on time in the morning, though.) Any day now I'll put the new radio in and set the time. Really.

In the meantime, seriously, you're all fired.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

If Only I Could Harness Their Energy For Good...

Apparently the little people in my house were bored today. When I got home

  • The box of Diet Coke (from a 12-pack, with three cans still in the box) had been transported from the counter to the middle of the kitchen floor.
  • The week's mail was all over the kitchen floor.
  • There was a ziploc bag of dog dental treats shoved inside the Diet Coke box. (The last time I saw those dog treats they were in the drawer, but they disappeared about three months ago. I have no idea where they have been for the last few months.)
  • There were lettuce leaves strewn on the floor. (Confession time: that was me. I dropped the open tupperware with my dinner salad this morning. I was hoping the dogs would eat it. I guess not.)
  • The broom was knocked over.
  • Three empty tupperware containers were on the floor.
  • The pink elephant was sitting on top of the broom.
Obviously the pink elephant comes to life when I am gone, and today it made a mess but I came home before it finished cleaning up.

What other explanation could there be?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Whatever...

Well, another Halloween has come and gone, and once again I'm left not very impressed with the youth of today.

Back in the day we put some effort into trick-or-treating. We wore costumes that we (or our parents) made. We figured out who was giving out the best candy and planned routes to maximize our efforts. We knew to avoid the houses that gave out raisins, or worse, pomegranates. There were even kids who got rides out to Huntington Harbor, where legend had it that at least one house gave out silver dollars instead of candy, and the rest gave out full-size chocolate bars.

Those were the days when my parents' careful tally of the number of kids coming to the door climbed above two hundred.

Nowadays I get just a few kids, half of whom either can't remember or can't be bothered to say "Trick or treat". And after the first half hour or so (when it's the little kids with parents in tow), at least half of the kids coming to the door have no costume at all. Come on. How hard is it to at least throw a sheet over your head?

These kids today... They don't deserve my candy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chill Out!

The other day as I settled down to work in my living room dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, slippers, a sweatshirt, the warm hat JJ knitted, my parka with the hood pulled up, and a fleece blanket wrapped around my legs, I thought to myself: Self, perhaps it's time to winterize the house.

Actually, my first thought was that I should buy myself a pair of fingerless gloves, but then I thought about winterizing the house.

People who live in horrible places with real weather have big lists of things they need to do, from putting up storm windows to checking the insulation around the doors. My list is a little more basic than that:

  • Close the sliding glass door that opens onto the screened-in cat porch. Check.
  • Close the kitchen window. Check.
  • Close the bedroom window. I ran into some trouble there because in the months since I last closed the window (some time in Spring), the jasmine has meandered up that wall and around the window, and now I can't get the window shut. But I shut it most of the way and added another thing to my list...
  • Cut back the jasmine that is growing up the side of the house.
  • Close the bathroom window. Again, I haven't touched it in the last six months (which gives you some idea of how secure my house is) and the casement arm had rusted in the open position. I put some oil on it, and I'll try again this weekend.
  • Convince the dogs to sleep on the bed. Working on it...
  • Change the filter in the heater so when I finally cave in and turn on the central heat the house doesn't smell like burning dust.
See the hardships I have to endure!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Luckily She Has A Great Personality...

Now, I love my dog Molly, but I have to admit, if she went to school, she'd be taking the short bus.

Exhibit A:

Molly won't get on my bed uninvited, and since it's gotten colder and I refuse to turn on the heat yet, I've been encouraging her to get on the bed every night. (Ginger won't even sleep in the same room at this point, so I've given up on her for now. Besides, she doesn't generate as much heat.)

My bed is a good three feet (at least) off the ground -- Molly can't jump onto it in one standing leap, but there is a chest on the west side of the bed that is almost two feet high that she can climb onto. Yet, every single night when I pat on the bed to invite her up, she tries to leap up directly from the floor and falls back down. I have to pat the chest first, wait for her to get on it, and then pat the bed. Every single night.

Exhibit B:

Like all dogs, Molly loves cat food. If I have cat food on a paper plate and it falls on the floor, she's the first one there. And if it lands face up, she'll lick it clean immediately. She's even figured out that if she keeps her foot on it, the plate will stay in one place.

The problem is that if the plate lands upside down, she stands on it first, then tries to turn it over. Like so:

Eventually she starts tearing strips off it so she can at least lick part of the plate clean. It leads to things like this:

(I interrupted her before she was done...)

So yeah, not a rocket scientist, this dog.

On the other hand, she's in good company. Here's a jar of pickled ginger I bought tonight:

And the nutritional information:

How many 1 oz servings are in the 8 oz container? Really?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Shake It Up Baby!

Apparently today there was some sort of simulated earthquake emergency to test preparedness or something -- I'm not really sure because I didn't see a whole lot about it in the news, and when it came time for it, some idiot was trying to burn down the local mall. And there was other important stuff going on, like conference calls.

I'm not saying I don't have respect for the damage an earthquake can do. I remember my parents lining us up next to the stairway before dawn when I was a child. I don't actually remember the earth shaking at that point (1972 maybe? I think there was a big earthquake near LA that year) but it must have been quite an event or I wouldn't remember it 38 years later. I've missed most of the other big ones, although I once was on the eleventh floor of a building in San Diego when a small earthquake hit, and the swaying was a little scary.

The thing about earthquakes, though, is that they happen, and then they're pretty much done (apart from the aftershocks at least). There's no hours of listening to the house lashed by gale force winds, or days of weather forecasts. One minute you're going about your normal business, and the next you're kicking yourself for not bolting the bookcases to the walls after eight years, and then you're either fine, or you're not, but the earth is done moving and it's time to call everyone you know.

After living in California most of my life, I don't even think about where to store things any more. If it's heavy, it stays below knee level unless it's bolted to the wall. There's absolutely nothing in my bedroom that could fall on me except the ceiling. (The chances of the ceiling falling, however, are non-negligible, especially if I don't get the hole in the roof fixed this year.)

I didn't realize how much that affected me until I moved to Louisiana, and I kept going into friends' houses and feeling really uncomfortable. It finally dawned on me that it was because my friends (none of whom came from California) stored heavy, breakable objects on top of cabinets right next to the sofas. None of the bookcases were secured to the walls. It made me cringe every time I went into the room.

My earthquake supplies, though, are a different matter. If the big one hits on a Monday or Tuesday, I'll have enough Diet Coke to keep me hydrated until I can find water (or more Diet Coke). Intellectually I know that I'm supposed to keep a three day supply of water, food, clothing, pet food, etc in the garage, but let's face it -- in any earthquake, my garage is going to be the first thing that goes.

So... all you folks that live in California, check your emergency supplies and make sure you have enough for me too. And everyone that lives in other places... y'all are crazy!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"... but I wish you brought me a present."

Once again, it was time for Jeff and me to pretend we have artistic talent and the ability to decorate a cake. Last year we stepped into the ring with the Pancho the Storm Trooper head. This year the birthday boy said we had to make a Kraken (which is a mythical sea monster that looks a lot like a huge octopus/squid, for those unfamiliar with the term).

Once again we went with the Rice Krispies treat base covered by marshmallow fondant.

We needed something to help hold the tentacle form while it was warm, and the beer bottle was the closest available object. That should say something...

Jeff was able to bury his perfectionist streak a little better this year, or maybe things just went a little more smoothly this time. The fondant was certainly easier to work with this year -- probably something to do with switching to a recipe that actually told you what to do with all of the ingredients.

Eric didn't believe me when I told him I was going to buy a spray can of food coloring. Here's the proof:

And here's the final product:

There were a few naysayers who kept pointing out that the Kraken only had five tentacles. To those people I have these responses (take your pick):
1) Show me a picture of this mythical creature that proves it has eight tentacles.
2) There are three tentacles still underwater (and thus not visible).
3) It used to have eight tentacles, but three were bitten off in previous epic battles.

Anyhow, it was fun to see family and friends at the party although I remain pretty much horrified that it is acceptable and even expected for a six year old with a house full of toys to receive hundreds of dollars of new toys. Of course, now that the birthday boy can actually remember my name, he's also capable of remembering that I didn't bring him a present...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I have the answer!

Apparently Timmy the emerald crab has a bit of OCD. Or he's shy. Either way, he's been sitting in the narrow space between two rocks (neither of which has any bubble algae) for the better part of a week. He's not dead -- I checked. I might need to get another one to give him some competition or something.

I got home today and found a big box of vegetarian marshmallows (from Sweet & Sara) on my doorstep, which means that the Kraken-cake (for the six year old's birthday party this weekend) can be gelatin free. I had to try a couple and let me say, they taste exactly how they should. I also got a couple packs of "specialty" flavors. Two words: peppermint chocolate. Hot cocoa is going to be good and guilt-free this year.

I'm now working at home two days a week (and after today's lunchtime conversation, Rvan almost made me work at home the other three days, too...). The great thing about working from home is that I can sit in a holey shirt and sweatpants, and listen to music. I realize that this is how Eric is at work, but I'm a consummate professional and I wear jeans to work.

Anyway, the new music this week is the album $O$ by Die Antwoord, a "zef"-style rap/hip-hop group from South Africa.

First off, let me say that I don't listen to a lot of rap. I'm pretty sure this qualifies as hip-hop because that's the category it's in and besides, they mention every band member in every single song.

I've never purchased an album with a little red "Explicit" warning next to every single song. Even the digital liner notes have an "Explicit" warning. But somehow I was exposed to a few of their songs (certainly not on the radio, because they would have to take out 90% of the lyrics) and there's something there that I like. The video for Evil Boy is visually stunning. (Please don't track it down at work and blame me when you get fired. It's really, really not safe for work. Really.)

Sure, one could argue that I have nothing in common with South African rappers, but let's face it -- if I have to limit my music to white women in their forties with multiple cats who write software and have a degree in veterinary medicine... it's going to be slim pickings.

Shockingly, there aren't any words on the album that I didn't know. Can you imagine that? Actually, that's a lie. There are all sorts of words on the album that I didn't know, but they're in Afrikaans or (some other language that I don't know and am too lazy to go look up).

The main thing I love about this band is the humor. They don't take themselves too seriously. In "She Makes Me A Killer" the male singer (known as "Ninja" -- see, they really don't take themselves seriously at all) talks about the problems he's having with women:
- The first one dumps him because he takes her home and she finds out he lives with his mother.
- The second one sleeps with him on the first date, then goes psycho when he's at the next gig signing "Ninja was here" on another fan's chest.
- The third one attacks him because they're getting hot and heavy when someone walks in and he offers her to his friend -- he explains "I thought Barney said 'Sharing is caring'?" (Yes, that's Barney as in Barney the purple dinosaur.)

The other singer is Yo-landi Va$er -- she looks like a schoolgirl with a weird mullet, but she has an impressive sound. If you read stuff on the web about this band, one of the complaints is that this group can't be "authentic" because Yo-landi may have (gasp!) a college degree... I say there are enough stupid people in the world (cf. Insane Clown Posse and the Juggalos); I don't need to disqualify people because they have brains.

Anyhow, they you have it, my mini-review of the new Die Antwoord album. I think it's a lot of fun, but I realize that many people won't agree. They can go back to their Celine Dion albums and ignore this.

Now I just need to make sure that I don't start singing anything under my breath while I'm concentrating on something else...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A little crabby

I've had this little problem with bubble algae in the nano-reef, and it looked like it was starting to become a big problem. Bubble algae looks exactly like it sounds -- little green balls all over the place. They're actually pretty cool looking, but when they started crowding out the coral I figured it was time to do something.

The most common recommendation I found was to get an emerald crab. I did a little digging and emerald crabs are supposed to eat bubble algae and more importantly, most people agree that they're reef-safe. I didn't want to get something that would snack on the coral in between bites of the algae.

After four calls (which involved being transferred a total of eleven times) and three weeks, the local chain store outlet was able to get an emerald crab for me. It's pretty big and it was running all over the place in the bag, so I figured it was reasonably healthy.

This crab has been in the tank for about four hours now. I think it might be... special. In a short bus sort of way. The first thing it did was eat a bunch of sand. Then it climbed around on the rocks trying to get the copepods which darted away. While climbing around, it walked all over the bubble algae, but I have yet to see it do anything with it.

So, yeah, someday soon I'll get a picture of the new emerald crab.

His name is Timmy.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hear today, yawn tomorrow

Things you might have heard if you followed me around all week (stalker!)...

Me, to my dog while on a walk: Why don't you poop on the lawn of the Catholic church instead? I have nothing against the Seventh Day Adventists.

(At work, after listening to the guy with the incredibly loud voice explain the problem multiple times to different people in different areas of the building)
Jon: Does he think they didn't hear it the last time?
Me: I should just go fix the problem.
Jon: Really?
Me: Yeah, it's just a perl script. I could have fixed it already while he was talking.
Jon: Oh, I thought you meant you were going to fix the problem with surgery.

(While I was complaining about the band Cake)
Me: They're a one trick pony, and it's not even a particularly interesting trick.
Jeff: What's one of their songs?
Rvan: (Some random humming)
Jeff: How about one with lyrics.

The really loud guy, while talking in an office not too far away: If you have the balls to put in a non-editable field, you better be damned sure the value is correct.
Rvan, from the other side of the cubicle: Theresa, did you hear that?
Me: La la la la la.

See? Way better than that damned reality tv. I should get paid to document this stuff...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ladders and Crutches

As everyone knows, I'm not a big fan of ladders, corporate or otherwise.

In fact, this is really the best way to use one:

Tip of the week: If you order a stereo component from Crutchfield online, make absolutely sure that your car model has been entered. Otherwise, they will attempt to be helpful by sending you a connector and wires for you to solder together to fit whatever car you may have.

It's much easier when they send you something that is already wired for your car. And as a bonus they will send you a fact sheet with instructions on how to take your car apart and put it back together.

Jeff and I, however, no longer need that instruction sheet. We've taken apart the console on my car so many (three) times now, and each time we leave more screws and clips out when we put it back together. Now you can take the whole console out by just pulling it the right way. That's much easier.

Sure, one of these days I'll accelerate a little too hard and end up with my stereo in the back seat, but that will be a clear sign that it's time to buy a new car.

That new car had better come with a good stereo pre-installed...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Air Is Spared!

We're going to have non-horrible air quality tomorrow, and you all have me to thank.

I worked from home the last two days since they were "spare-the-air" days here and Rvan pays attention to those things. The rest of the year my car can add to the pollution, but when the going gets rough, I stay home.

I'm actually pretty darn productive when working from home. I even picked a great time to be out of the office -- if I'd been there for the last two days I would have had to listen to them talk about that Contador guy taking steroids. This way there's a chance that I've missed that conversation. (My opinion: biking = boring but a good workout; talking about other people biking = really, really boring and not a good workout)

Working from home I don't get to eat lunch with my usual crowd, but then again I can watch hulu if I want during my break, so it's a bit of a trade-off.

The only real drawback to working from home is that I've eaten my entire caloric requirement by 10am. And I don't usually stop eating for the day after that.

So yeah, my diet is in jeopardy because the air quality was so bad. Everybody has to make sacrifices...

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Let's Just Run With That, Shall We?

Ever since Molly (the geriatric but still mobile deaf dog) arrived, I've been taking her for walks every morning. Brisk walks, for the most part. Sometimes she gets a little tired on the second half, but we usually keep going.

When Ginger (the cat-sized loaner dog) came, I figured I might have to carry her, but she holds her own.

Lately I've been trying to kick it up a notch and start jogging. It's not really going so well. Here is what you would see if you happened to be parked on my street in the morning:

- We get out the gate, the leashes are nicely arranged, I'm wearing my running shoes, and we start off well, with the dogs out in front (Molly on the left, Ginger on the right) pulling slightly.

- We get to my next-door-neighbors' house and Molly and Ginger stop to sniff the grass.

- We get going again, to the end of the street (one more house away), cross without getting run over, then Ginger has to do an end run around Molly to avoid stepping in the water standing in the gutter. The leashes twist around each other.

- Molly drops back to my side.

- One more house and Molly is trailing. Ginger, meanwhile, is pinballing back and forth in front of me, prancing from one clump of grass to the next.

- Two more houses and I'm pulling Molly along. Ginger is still going back and forth, but now she's not as far out in front and I keep tripping over her.

- I stop running because I can't really drag Molly down the street without feeling like a complete ass. Also, I'm winded, and she's given me a really good excuse to stop running.

So there you have it. Sometimes we make it almost eight houses away without stopping to walk.

Maybe I need yet another dog?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I can't believe it's not...

Here's what the new green coral, henceforth known as Patrick, looks like with its little tentacles extended (which is pretty much all the time when I haven't just pissed everything off by doing a water change):

And on a completely unrelated note, truth in advertising?

Those little butter sculptures were good...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reef Raff

As promised, some pictures of the new coral: There aren't pictures of the other two new pieces because the orange one didn't photograph, and the purple one had some major shipping and post-shipping trauma and I'll be surprised if it makes it. In other news, Rvan and Christina (along with Bert and Ernie, of course) came over today to see the little loaner dog (Ginger). This time I held Tory for a few minutes while bottles were being shaken, and he was okay with that. Charlie was still giving me the stink eye, ready to go into attack-baby mode if necessary. Anyhow, they brought Ginger's dog bed along with them. You can see how well she's enjoying it: It's a good thing the little dog likes sleeping on the floor.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hard Core

For the last couple of weeks I've been making it to work by 9:30 so that I can follow the sporadically enforced "core hours" policy.

Theoretically, it makes some sense -- if everyone overlaps at work for at least five or six hours of the day, communication increases. In practice it means that I still work alone in my cube and have to listen to people talking about their personal lives all day long. Except for the times when they're talking about how other people aren't working.

Unfortunately, being at work by 9:30 means that I hit the tail end of the morning commute. And if I were to leave nine hours later at 6:30, I would sit on the freeway in Fairfield for twenty minutes every night. The real problem with the morning commute is that all of the radio stations have the morning radio shows on. I would rather scrape my fingernails down a chalkboard than listen to Mark and Brian, and the other shows aren't much better. So I broke down today and bought a new HD radio with an iPod input. At least I will have options.

The evening commute problem has been solved by working an extra hour for four days (because the traffic is mostly gone by 7:30), and then working four hours from home on the fifth day. There's some question about whether I am allowed to have a scheduled work day at home, so every Friday I spontaneously work from home.

Anyhow, it's all good because that leaves my spontaneous Friday afternoon to work on the novel, the finished first draft of which was in my New Year's resolutions. It's gonna happen, dammit!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Nothing. Really.

Well, here we have it -- a Sunday without a topic.

As usual when things go wrong, I'm just going to blame Rvan.

See, he and Christina were going to come by today and visit the little loaner dog, so I was counting on that to be good for a blog post. I even cleaned the top layer of dirt off the house and mowed the lawn, but then one of the kids got whooping cranes or something, so they couldn't make it.

Anyhow, hopefully the kids are okay and all, but that leaves me one manure bucket short of a full one-bucket blog post.

I tried to remedy that by drinking the other half bottle of cider in the fridge. You can see how well that worked out.

Whatever. I help him with perl (although not the sed question) this week and this is how he repays me.

Disappointing, really. But I'm sure you all agree -- this is completely Rvan's fault.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Brown paper packages tied up with string (or tape if you really want to know)

First off, I'd like to point out that there are some really bad camera angles if you're a little on the pudgy side...

Funny story of the week: my work laptop was powering down immediately after I undocked it, so I took it in to the guy who's in charge of those sorts of things. He unhooked the battery, stopped, looked at the pieces, then looked at me. "How many cats do you have?" (He didn't ask if I had cats, mind you, but how many.) My claim that cat hair is protective insulation didn't get far. He told me he's afraid of what they're going to find inside the laptop -- since the motherboard needs to be replaced, I guess we'll find out.

Anyhow, teaser pictures:

The real pictures will have to wait until I clean the tank this weekend.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Round 'Em Up And Brand 'Em!

First, I just wanted to note that Blogger just instituted some sort of spam detection on the comments, so we'll see if that cuts the number of comments in half. Honestly, I'm running about 1:1 with real comments to comments that aren't in a language I can read. It's a little embarrassing.

Second, Blogger also added a "Stats" page. I've pretty diligently avoided adding any sort of counter to the blog because either a) this is my blog and I don't care if anyone reads it, or b) I'm hyper-competitive (Hi Mom!) and it could get ugly quickly when I realize that nobody reads this. Take your pick. They list the total number of pageviews by day, and things like that. Apparently I have two readers in China if you believe the statistics. Maybe I have two spambots in China. That I might believe. Also, when broken down by browsers, it's 63% Firefox, 29% Safari, 5% Internet Explorer (ptui!), and 1% java, which technically isn't a browser, so I find that a little weird. However, maybe that's what the Chinese spambots are using.

(Note: if you're one of the two readers in China and you aren't a spambot, welcome!)

Anyhow, the point of this post is weeds. ("Weeds", not "weed". That would be a totally different post and would be on some anonymous site.) See, I used to read this magazine called "Organic Gardener" which was chock full of ideas on how to grow things in your back yard without using any evil, nasty chemicals. They also had some articles by complete whackjobs, but for the most part it was pretty sensible stuff about integrated pest management. I still think they're right (well, not the whackjobs) -- if you kill all the bugs, chances are you're not going to like what shows up next. If you leave things alone and let everything battle it out, you may not get perfect-looking plants, but things that grow in that area will thrive anyway. (Things that don't grow in your area will never look good, no matter how much crap you spray on them.)

Then I bought my house. And I found that some weeds (especially certain grasses) laugh at your attempts to contain them. And mulching doesn't always work. And your neighbors might not appreciate weeds growing under the shared fence. And you don't have time to hand-weed seventy-five feet of fence line. So in a particularly weak moment, I bought a bottle of Round-up.

That bottle sat in my garage for at least four months before I finally sprayed it on something. Then I buried my head in shame and went back inside, a defeated person. Yet also a relieved person because I knew I wouldn't have to worry about that clump of weeds anymore.

Yeah. Turns out I was pretty darn disappointed when that clump of weeds continued to flourish. The Round-up did nothing. It's not a good feeling to abandon your principles and then get nothing in return.

So I sprayed it again. And again. And eventually it died. And now every once in a while I spray stuff and sometimes it works, and sometimes the weeds laugh at me. (I do live in a Monsanto town, so it's not impossible that many of my weeds are already Round-up Ready, just like the seeds the farmers buy.)

Anyhow, over the weekend I was talking to my next door neighbor, Jill (whose husband, Larry, mowed my lawn again yesterday...) and I mentioned how nice the planted area in front of their house was looking. We talked about it for a while, then she looked away. "I had to start spraying it, you know," she said, in a tone that dared me to say anything. I shrugged and changed the subject, but secretly I was happy because I've been wanting to spray some stuff in my front yard and I haven't had the guts to do it yet. So now I don't need to worry if they see me.

Now it's just my neighbors on the other side I need to avoid. Excuse me while I go outside now with a flashlight...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What's Mine Is Mine And What's Yours Is...

As you can see, Ginger (the new little loaner dog) and Molly are starting to hang out together...

At least, sort of...

Ginger came with her very own crate to hide in when she's feeling stressed.

As you can see, she's using it quite a lot.

It's a good thing she's not very stressed out.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Home Security 3000

I don't really have that much stuff to steal (aromatic couch? 15+ year old microwave? a bunch of other stuff that smells like Scooter peed on it?), but I increased the home security system over the weekend.

This is Ginger:

She's really Rvan and Christina's dog, but she's on loan while they try to regain some sanity while caring for five month old twins. (I held one of the twins yesterday. It went great for about twenty seconds, then he realized that he didn't know the person holding him, and had an epic meltdown. I think I'm being more helpful by taking the dog for a while...)

You can't really tell from the picture, but she's about the size of a cat. She also has what is kindly referred to as a "little dog personality", so it took a few hours before she stopped growling at Molly. (Molly kept snoring peacefully.)

While Molly didn't even notice the fence builders in the yard, Ginger barked at them. So the alarm system is now working. Of course, neither dog would actually do anything to defend the place -- if someone broke in Molly would go over to get her head rubbed, and Ginger would take the opportunity to run out of the house...

Anyhow, we went to the dog park this evening, where Molly got her head rubbed by everyone and Ginger snapped at all the other little dogs. I consider it a complete success, though, because when it was time to leave I was able to grab Ginger without chasing her all around the dog park. I think that's about all I could wish for at this point.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Fence Builder Isn't The Only Thing Hot Around Here

Pop quiz time!

Which of these two unopened cans was left in my car on Wednesday (when it got to about 105 F)?


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bring Me A Bucket!

Having a blog can really mess up your life. Take this weekend, for example.

After having pointed out that I had no desire to go to the county fair, I realized that it was a bit unfair since I've never been. Also, Scrawny Mike told me that I had to try a funnel cake. But really, I went because that would give me something to talk about. See how messed up that is?

Knowing that I was going to be eating a bunch of unhealthy food and being too cheap to pay $5 for parking, I walked. This turned out to be the best part of the trip. It was a nice day, a little warm, but not so hot that I kept scanning for shade.

Once inside, I passed all the teenagers with large belt buckles and the FFA and 4H animals which were being auctioned off. By the pound. Nothing like the units to bring you back to reality.

Anyhow, seen one cow, seen them all, so I moved on to the non-animal part of the fair. Here is a ride I didn't go on:

Ironically, I decided to eat because just watching that ride made me nauseated. I started with the funnel cake, which Scrawny Mike had described as "like a donut with powdered sugar". What I received was this:

That's not a miniature plate. That's enough food to feed a family of four for three days, and it wasn't even particularly tasty. Sadly, I was eating it as I wandered around the exhibits and ate almost two thirds of it.

The exhibits were the best part. I think the judging must have happened much earlier in the week, so some of the entries were past their peak. A few of the fruit entries were rotting. But the squash monstrosities were... interesting:

I stopped at the master gardeners' table and checked to see if they had any suggestions for getting rid of bindweed. Everyone agrees that I'm screwed if it's in my garden.

At the bandstand a bunch of young white guys were playing reggae. I heard three songs while I was looking at exhibits. They all sounded exactly the same. It was like being in college again.

I saw a bunch of quilts and took some terrible pictures of them:

Every quilt that I thought was good had a ribbon on it, so I thought for a while that I would make a great judge. Then I realized that pretty much everything had some kind of ribbon. I may have to enter something next year to test how far they are willing to go.

By this time my feet were hurting and I felt ill because of the funnel cake. In an astounding example of brain fever, I decided that eating something else might make me feel better. So I got this:

That's not a small plate either.

I sat on a bench, ate my fried onion, and watched a bunch of kids try to ride a mechanical bull, which was fairly entertaining. Every once in a while one of the teenagers with a large belt buckle would show up, and the operator would switch it from the easy level to "show the damn teenager who's boss" level. That was pretty entertaining, too.

Anyhow, at that point I decided I needed to leave, so I walked home.

It took a full 24 hours before I felt better. I'm never doing that again.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nothing to see here, move along

We're nearing the end of the user acceptance testing period (you know, the time when the users decide that they don't really care about the stuff in the requirements, what they really, really care about is something completely different. Oh, and can you make the background blue? That's critical!) Anyhow, this is how I feel on some days...

Anyhow, I have nothing to say other than after making fun of the fair, I feel almost obligated to go this weekend and see what's there. So if anyone is near Woodland this weekend and wants to go along, let me know.

Looking through the old pictures, am I the only one who thinks that this:

has a lot in common with this?

I guess it makes some sense...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Are You Going To Yolo Fair?

My poor neighbors. Ever since I got back from the dog park (where everyone was talking about the upcoming Yolo County Fair), I've had "Scarborough Fair" stuck in my head. And since I live alone, naturally I've been belting out the three lines that I know over and over as I put the groceries away.

Yeah. Not really a song that's in my (admittedly very limited) range. And the windows are all open.

To make it worse, my neighbors' grown daughter can really sing. She majored in music and teaches voice lessons. So they know what singing is supposed to sound like. And I'm pretty sure my rendition doesn't qualify.

Anyhow, the point of this was that the Yolo County Fair (and we're a salt-of-the-earth farming community, so it's a "fair" not a "faire") starts on Wednesday. There's no entry fee, and I can walk to the fairgrounds from here.

But... why would I? I know I'm known for being apathetic and all that, but this is one of those things I just really don't get. I want to like the fair but I can't figure out why I would.

Children's swingsets make me nauseated, so the fair rides are right out. The food... just doesn't sound appealing. I don't like regular Twinkies, and deep-frying them doesn't make that any better. Vegetarian options are few and far between.

The animals... okay, baby goats are cute, but I don't really like most farm animals, and unlike many people, I know exactly what's going to happen to them the day after auction.

Live bands... not really interested. Car races... again, not my thing.

So I'm not really sure why I would go wander around in crowds of people in the summer heat.

What am I missing?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Dog Tripper

It turns out that although I know a fair amount of information about different dog training methods, and I even did agility with one of the resident blood donor dogs during vet school (the dog did well, I kept crashing into things...), my own dogs have come to me pretty much trained.

I did teach (deaf) Molly the hand signal for sit, and I taught (blind) Lucy the command "step-down" so she would go carefully down stairs and not just launch herself wildly into the air after the first step. But I've never had to do more than that.

Until now.

Molly Speedbump only has one bad habit. Every time I go into a room and close the door, she will lie down with her back against the door and block the entryway so I trip over her on my way out.

Now, I could put down spike strips (or some humane equivalent) to make lying there less appealing, but then I wouldn't be able to walk around in bare feet. So what I've been doing instead of just stepping over her is nudging her with my foot until she heaves herself off the floor.

Lately she's been leaving a roughly twelve inch gap between her rear end and the side of the door, which is just enough space to get by without tripping over her as long as I don't step on her tail.

I thought we were making progress, but it's actually worse, because when she sees me, she wags her tail, and since she is lying on her side, her tail wags perpendicularly to the floor. Then she goes from being a speedbump to being the extra-difficult last hole in miniature golf, where you have to time it just right or the windmill knocks your ball to the side.

So... yeah. Maybe we can work on that...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I Hear the Approaching Thunder Now...

I'm feeling a little old this evening. I spent the weekend digging out ivy from around the fence, hand-weeding the front yard, mowing, edging, hoeing the weeds from the side yard, and generally being pretty darn active.

My back hurts, my shoulder is sore, I had a blister on my index finger until it was ripped off by the next weed, I still have a blister on my middle finger, there's a bruise on my right arm, and my neck is stiff. I walked the dog on our usual weekend route (which adds an extra block) both mornings. (Jim is at a pow-wow in North Fork, in case you're curious.)

So why, when I go to the Hollywood Market, do I still get pointedly asked if I want to buy a Diet Coke with my chocolate?

Someday lightening is going to strike that woman. And I will laugh.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Up Down Up Down Rah Rah Rah

This week has been a little mixed as far as accomplishments go. Here's an example:

Positive: I bought everything I needed to make the rice/bean/corn/peppers/etc salad for lunches for the week on Sunday.

Negative: Okay, I didn't quite buy everything I needed. Why don't I have a lime tree yet? I never remember to buy lime juice.

Positive: I was able to cook at 11pm while watering the lawn, doing laundry, feeding the cats, feeding the coral, feeding the dog, and watching the latest episode of "Lie To Me". That's multitasking.

Negative: Forgot I had rice coming to a boil on the stove until I smelled it.

Positive: Didn't burn down the house, and I still had just enough rice for a second try.

Negative: Probably should replace my pot. Realized at about this point that I didn't have the lime juice. Too lazy to find a store open at 11pm and go buy some.

Positive: Had orange extract and lemon zest in the cupboard. That's close, right?

Negative: No, it's not really close.

Positive: Still edible. Probably because of the jalapeno drowning out all other flavors.

So, yeah, that's the way this week has gone...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Darling, You Are Such A Darling

Just for fun sometimes I see what is recommending for me.

For the most part hulu has decided that I like science fiction, police procedurals, and (for some completely unknown reason) anime. I pretty much don't watch anything animated as a rule, and I'm not a huge fan of police shows, but sometimes you find some good things ("Raines", starring Jeff Goldblum as a homicide detective who carries on conversations in his head with the victims) along with the bad ("Cleopatra 2525", which I didn't get far enough along in the pilot episode to even figure out if there was a plot beyond "there are three girls with minimal clothing in the future").

Hulu also has some older series available, and somehow "Hart To Hart" was on my list of recommendations. I vaguely remember watching a few episodes as a kid, something about the rich guy (Jonathan Hart), his wife (Jennifer (?) Hart) and their superannuated factotum Max (who sounds like he should be dragging around an oxygen tank, not helping these people fight crime). I tried to watch the pilot today. Oh boy.

  • This show is the seventies. Mrs. Hart's hair is like a fourth cast member. She looks like a poodle -- not the little ones you see walking down the street, but the standard poodles all fluffed up for the show ring. I kept losing track of the dialog because I was mesmerized by her hair.
  • Sideburns. Dear god.
  • Men in tight pants. All the men. Not an exceptionally good look for most of them.
  • Brown suits.
  • A car phone. Granted, they don't show anything other than the handset, which looks like a regular handset, connected by a regular coiled wire to some place in the dashboard. But still, Mr. Hart had a car phone.
  • Insipid dialog. Really, this is the thing that made it impossible for me to get past the fifteen minute mark. The Harts call each other "Darling" so incessantly that it ceases to sound like a term of endearment, and starts sounding like they want to be cursing at each other through gritted teeth, but can't because it won't get past the network censors. Really, when they have interchanges like "Darling?" "Yes, Darling?" "I think I'll take a drive to the coast this afternoon, Darling.", you can only think that the original version of the script said something completely different...
  • There were payphones on every corner. For some reason this struck me as the strangest part of the whole show.

I don't know. Maybe the series got better after the first episode. Maybe all television was just so bad back then that this looked good in comparison. Or maybe I was a little less picky when I was eleven years old.

Or just possibly, Sydney Sheldon created the easiest drinking game of all time...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sorry, I can Not Hear You, I'm Kinda Busy...

It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of the telephone.

This was completely understandable during my internship and residency when I would get calls at 2am like "Hi Dr. B. Your patient just arrested. Do you want us to keep doing CPR?" or "We have an owner on the line whose ferret just had a bookcase fall on it and now it can't move its back legs. Do they need to come in?" (Yes, those were actual calls I received on two different nights.)

However, my hatred of the telephone goes back at least a decade before that. I went for months at least once without answering my home phone. Granted, all I ever ended up with on the answering machine was some old guy loudly repeating "Marta?.... Marta?...", but still.

I realize that this is somewhat heretical since a cell phone company pays my bills, but audio quality on cell phones is terrible and seems to be getting worse. As much as I like to blame everything on my LG Chocolate POS, it's just the nature of cell phones. I'd rather not talk to anyone than try to carry on a conversation on a cell phone.

And now, of course, they're switching all the phones at work to VOIP (voice over IP, which is all digital). We had the old and new phones active this week, and guess what? The VOIP phones have terrible sound quality and have a noticeable lag. This is progress.

Anyhow, I was setting up my voice mail on the new phone, and after I recorded my name, I got to the section on recording a greeting. It started with "Outgoing greetings encourage people to leave you messages."

That was all I needed to know. I left it blank.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Q: What Time Is It When It's Time To Get A New Fence?

A: Time to get an elephant to sit on the fence. (Insert sound of Jojo and K-poo laughing maniacally here)

It's time for Hot (and possibly Hotter as well, although the fact that he took off in the middle of the last fence rebuild to go visit his girlfriend in Texas might have put a damper on their business relationship, so I wouldn't be surprised if Ponch found someone else to fill in) to put in a new fence on the other side of the house.

Yes, this means that all of the ivy and wisteria and trumpet vines and oleander need to be trimmed back, so that's what I was doing all weekend. I managed not to injure myself, although I did have a few fence boards fall on me when I removed the vegetation holding them up.

Here are a few oh-so-artistic shots that show why I need a new fence:

And, just for fun, one shot of the finished cat porch:

See how productive I can be?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Staple, Redux

I was getting the feeling that I was the only person in the world who didn't know about the whole T20 vs T50 conspiracy. Then I offered to give the box of staples to Jeff if he needed them for his other staple gun. That was when he told me that he already had multiple boxes of the wrong kind of staples in his garage.

I feel better now.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Staple Here

Before I start my rant, I'd just like to point out that it was so hot here this weekend that Molly Speedbump, who normally follows me around so obsessively that if she were a human, she would be considered a stalker, actually refused to go into the back yard with me and elected to stay inside with the air conditioning.

But back to the rant: I was out in the heat implementing version two of the cat porch (yes, I know I'm a crazy cat lady, just let it go) and I was about to run out of staples for the staple gun, so I went to the hardware store.

I even brought the label for the current box:

The only brand of staples I found were these:

And the back of the box looked like this:

They looked like they should work just fine. Of course they didn't. They aren't even close to fitting in the staple gun. I still don't see anything on the box that suggests that they aren't compatible. I'm not happy.

On a positive note, while I was in the hardware store, I happened to see the Havahart clip pliers, which take a J-shaped piece of metal and roll it to bundle two wires together. Those things are great. They saved me all kinds of time and energy -- the wire clipped together is probably the strongest part of the whole construction.

But if I ever find out who labels staples, I'm going to staple a few notes to his forehead...

Thursday, July 15, 2010