Thursday, August 31, 2006

Still Giggling

Over that video.

Over "Black Shoe Diary: The Daily Musings Of Shuruku Umezawa: Junior Salesman, Ninja."

Over this detailed tutorial on cleaning your bathroom. It might be irreverent and profane, but I'm linking to an exortation to domestic hygiene, people, AND I'M HAPPY ABOUT IT.

Enjoy the chuckles!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Listing Mysteries

1. How is the world does Persephone get to look so pleased with herself? Also, should I be worried about it?

2. How does Loki manage to look so intense? Seriously! I'm scared!

3. Just WHAT do I think about the book I just finished, Peter Høeg's Smilla's Sense of Snow? The writing was beautiful. I wanted to stop and take a quote down so many times I lost count. I reread several paragraphs because of their true-to-life details and pithy observations. The protagonist is the titular Smilla, half-Danish and half-Greenlander, and an expert on ice. She befriended a boy in her apartment building, and when he was found dead after falling off the roof, she can't make sense of the tragedy. Her past figures largely into her ensuing investigation, but so also do Greenland/Danish political relations and their disparate cultures. It's intriguing to watch the tensions play out. I thoroughly enjoyed Smilla as the narrator - her personality was so well developed. A strong scientist, a bit of a loner, and perseverant to a fault, I really liked her. Ah, but what about the plot?

It was odd to try to remember it from the movie which I had seen AGES ago with my mom. We'd gotten it because it sounded interesting (science! mystery! snow!) and because we have massive girl-crushes on Julia Ormond. I didn't remember much, but the book was MUCH better than whatever I could remember. I read a couple of reviews which mentioned that the first half was murky and beautiful and the last half was too "Mindless Blockbuster Thriller" to work. The book has a similar division, but it's more seamless and it's more natural to the story - he sets up the character and her surroundings and lets slip a few clues, THEN she digs in deep and has to keep finding more and more to solve the mystery. Sometimes I think mysteries skimp on the backstory and feel irritatingly immersive. I want to get a sense of how long this person's life went on without event before the Nancy Drew bug bit them. It's more believable that way. Then again, the more normal you make them, the harder it is to suspend disbelief when they become crime-fighting machines, so I guess that's why most authors avoid that. Bravo, then, to Mr. Høeg for being brave and making Smilla work, whether she's staring out at the snow outside her windows or kicking butt aboard a ship bound for Artic.

Okay, okay, I guess I really liked it!

3. How EXACTLY are we supposed to finish any home projects if we can't make up our inds? One of us is going to have to make a decision on just how much of our hard-earned cash we're going to spend AND how much of that cash we're spending on each of sundry projects. It's exhausting to think of it. So I guess it's Hubster's turn. Heh.

4. Just how is that I can't crank out posts during the daylight hours anymore?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The End of the Affair

So I returned the shoes. The heel, which was 4 inches sans platform, was too painful. Plus, with the hard plastic sole, I figured I'd end up in a wheelchair after the first escalator I attempted. Not practical in the slightest. STUPID PRACTICALITY.

In less melodramatic news, the rest of the trip was lovely. The company picnic went fine. I got to see some former employees I hadn't seen in years, so that was nice. I also ate filet mignon and peanut butter pie. After the party, Dawn took me to her new house on the canal (which was LOVELY) and we tried to play Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture Edition (at which I failed spectacularly) and then just sat around and talked. The next morning, we had a scrumptious brunch at Le Peep and then we headed over to Ulta for a little frivolous shopping. That store was like Sephora and Beauty First rolled into one. Although at one point I did contemplate perhaps the stupidest idea I've ever had: buying hair dye and bringing it home with me. As Dawn said, "I don't even want to THINK about what that would look like exploded all over your luggage." Thank goodness she was there to talk me back from the brink.

The trip home was uneventful because apparently finding a stick of dynamite in a plane a day earlier did not cause any alarm in Indianapolis, Indiana. No, I checked my bags and got through security in 10 minutes. Fantastic. Now if only I hadn't shown up with 2 hours to spare . . .

Saturday night Hubster and I watched some more Blackadder and relaxed. Yesterday we went to dinner with Mr. T and his girl (whom I shall henceforth call "Southwest") at Clyde's in Georgetown for dinner and half-price-bottle-of-wine night. We had a South African Cabernet Savignon from the Vinum Africa estate, a wine recommended by Southwest who had visited the vineyard and been a fan ever since. I'm not usually one for Cabs, but this wine grew on me. I definitely enjoyed it and would recommend it to fans of full-bodied red wines. We capped the evening off with a little ice cream since Southwest and I discovered we can be partners in dessert-craving crime and our men can do nothing but live with it. No more tyranny of the overly-nutritionally conscious! POWER TO THE SWEET-TOOTHED! (This paragraph brought to you by the hyphen.)

Okay, it's Tuesday, and I have crap to do. Back to the weekly gulag!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

"I can resist everything except temptation." - Oscar Wilde

Kids, I've been a bad girl. Sure, I've gotten lots of work done here this week. I've been productive in business meetings, shaken the grey matter in advertising design sessions, and today, I've been working on synchronizing lab kit requirements across information sources. Oh, it's been a good visit.

Last night, we dined at The Oceanaire Seafood Room, where I savored Sitka, Alaska wild salmon drizzled with a balsamic vinegarette which was AMAZING. After dinner, we were left with some time to shop the Circle Center Mall. The Nordstrom shoe department beckoned. And then it bit me. And I bought the shoes you see splashed all over this post.

Ah, but they are BEAUTIFUL, perfect for my wardrobe, a Michael Kors design, and, it must be said, so very hot. Oh, but they are HIGH heels, uncomfortable and expensive. BUT I LOVE THEM SO MUUUUUUCH.

And I've done lots of other stuff, but at the moment, I can't focus on anything but this:

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Lookee! A Recipe Entry!

A friend let us borrow his collector's series of Blackadder and we've been enjoying the heck out of them. Friday night, we traipsed through WWI, and I made quesadillas with stir-fried peppers and onions in them for dinner. Mmmmmmm. I'm sure Hubster will be watching them while I'm gone all week. Catching up next week will be a real sacrifice, but BY GUM, I think we're going to make it work.

Yesterday we got up and worked hard. I did more laundry in between bouts of organizing and sewing. While out at HomeGoods earlier in the week, I had snapped up a fantastic shower curtain for $15 figuring I could use the adorable grommets on the top in the curtains. Unfortunately, that didn't really work, but I have a perfectly sized window to use the existing hem and sideseams of the shower curtain. I put in the rod pocket and PRESTO, curtain finis! Next I'll use the remaining fabric for the other curtain for the basement. Hopefully I'll have enough left over for a simple skirt or something. It may be a bit Von Trapp, but everybody needs play clothes! (AHEM, I've said too much. No more about The Sound of Music.)

On a break in the afternoon, I read a review of The Illusionist, and hooked Hubster on the idea of seeing it during a matinee that afternoon. It was thoroughly enjoyable - one of those films that lingers in your mood for hours. I admit that I often see movies to get a true escape from the present, and this was escapism par excellence. The story centers around a turn-of-the-century illusionist (DUH!) who performs in Vienna and gains enough popularity to perform for the crown prince. I hate to write more because although the plot isn't particularly heavy in this film, it dabbles in romance, suspense, and, of course, lots of magic. Some reviewers considered the CGI effects subpar. I think they're crazy because they were beautifully done - tasteful and background, which is exactly what production elements should be so that the actors (who all acquit themselves will here) can inhabit the story fully. The look of the film was very early-20th century, too, which heightened the costumes, locations, and mood significantly. Also, Philip Glass's soundtrack is fitting and often quite lovely. The movie is well worth a rent at least. If you need a break from the heat, check in out in theatres (although it isn't playing in a lot of places, so good luck finding said chilly theatre)!

After the magic, Saturday night looked kinda dull, so I used the steaks I'd thawed for Sunday a bit early and we had grilled New York Strips with Fresh Tomato Pasta. (I'm gonna burn a hole through that grill pan, I swear!) Along with our steaks, I made cappellini with a little extra virgin olive oil, oregano and fresh, halved grape tomatos. Scrumptious! Along with tbs showing Runaway Jury, my night was quite decent.

After the church this morning, it took a while to get home because we had some shopping to do while we were out and close to the stores. When we finally got home, I made Tortilla Española from Joanna Farrow's Cooking With Just Four Ingredients. Recipe, along with the usual notes on my modifications, appears at below:

Potato and Onion Tortilla (whatever, lady, I know what it's REALLY called)


1.75 lbs medium potatoes (I used red-skin, but I think a "grainier" variety might be best - one with a less smooth consistency might better pick up the egg and other flavors)

scant 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 onions, thinly sliced (I used 1.5 because they were big and it was still a bit much)

6 eggs


1. Peel and thinly slice the potatoes, Heat 5tbsp of the oil in a frying pan [think BIG here, people] and cook the potatoes, turning frequently, for 10 minutes. [I should be noted that heat can be medium to low. I had it on high like for stir-frying, and that was a bad move. I blame my low bloodsugar.] Add the onions and seasoning [salt, pepper, any creative additions you can muster], and continue to cook gently for a further 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

2. Meanwhile, beat eggs in a large bowl with a little seasoning. Tip the potatoes and onions into the eggs and mix gently. Leave to stand for 10 minutes. [She says elsewhere that you can add other things at this point such as chopped red/yellow bell peppers, cooked peas, corn, or grated Cheddar or Gruyère. I wanted to check the recipe on its own merits so I avoided these, though they sound tasty.]

3. Wipe out the pan with a kitchen paper [Mmm, okay, you're not from around here, are you? It's called a paper towel.] and heat the remaining oil in it. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and spread it out in an even layer. Cover and cook over a very gentle heat for 20 minutes, until the eggs are just set. Serve cut into wedges.

Be sure to let the potatoes and onions sit in the eggs like she says. There's so little egg compared to the amount of veggies that the absorbed egg in the veggies is crucial to bond the cake together. SKIMP NOT ON THE SETTING. Also, I think I slightly overcooked it at the end and it lost some flavor. Check to make sure the cake is set by tapping it with a spatula - the whole thing should move if it's set. Then get it the heck off the heat to prevent overcooking! All-in-all, a keeper.

Okay, I've procrastinated on packing long enough. I'll be off tomorrow, and I'll try to post while I'm gone, which might actually work, but you know, GRAIN OF SALT and all that. Later, suckahs!

Friday, August 18, 2006

(Tiredly) Linking Friday

It's Friday afternoon, I'm done with work, and I'm tired. This has been happening more often. Maybe it's a Pavlovian response to our utter dearth of Friday activities usually. Hubster is a VegOutFriday kind of guy. I could be a PaintingTownRedFriday kind of girl, but I don't usually like to rock the boat. I CAN be tired on Fridays, so I guess I choose to be. It's actually less tiring than planning and then dragging us out for an evening of fun which might turn out to be mere "fun" for K. Compromise - sometimes it just makes you tired.

I've been reading some interesting things on the web this week, so instead of tiredly yanking a post out of my head, I'll tiredly link to some stuff and let you read it at will. (Have I said "tired" enough yet? TIRED. tired. TI-A-A-I-red. Okay, I'm done.)

1. This article about an upcoming AIDS convention in Toronto is interesting, especially the bit where they introduce the topic of the coordinator's paper. The gist is that where women attain equality in one African society, the rates of AIDS transference are slim whereas in most of Africa where women can't even ask their men to wear condoms or, you know, WHERE A CONDOM WHEN THEY CHEAT WITH OTHER WOMEN, AIDS rates are much, much higher. Sad, but at least there's hope that if cultures can come around to treating women decently, their children might survive this epidemic.

2. Foreign correspondent Jill Carroll, the hostage whose 82-day ordeal received so much attention earlier this year, tells her story to the Christian Science Monitor. Fascinating reading. Part 1: The Kidnapping

3. I stumbled across this article in Salon Online (might be ad-riddled, just choose to skip them) and followed the link it contained to a story in Details magazine about how fat is back in Hollywood. The story was illustrated with a literal pig's backside propped up in heels to highlight that this is Hollywood's ladies they're talking about. The slideshow of these "fat" ladies who were so hot contained an image Kristin Davis. The mind boggles.

You know it would be so much easier if they could make up their minds on just exactly whether these ladies are hot or fat (because the two could NEVER be synonymous in a standard men's mag). The entire article rambles tongue-in-cheek through the meadows and makes those of us with some meat on our bones a little fearful that we can only choose to be fat pigs. To quote the author, "I can't imagine why any woman would get the message that she should strive to be thin if she wants to be wanted or taken seriously." WORD.

Well, that's all I've got the energy for right now. Have a spectacular weekend, folks, and I'll see you (from Indiana!) on Monday!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

To CharlesPierce and His Wife

Remember that time a couple of summers ago when we had an incredibly nerdy conversation over dinner at your apartment about the viability of travel through the earth's core?

Apparently Jasper Fforde was cribbing notes from that little junket because here he is, on pp 162-3 of the Lost in a Good Book, writing this:

"Now, about the Gravitube?"

"Well," I replied, gathering my thoughts, "in a few minutes the shuttle will have entered the airlock and depressurization will commence—"

"Depressurization? Why?"

"For a frictionless drop. No air resistance – and we are kept from touching the sides by a powerful magnetic field. We then simply free-fall the eight thousand miles to Sydney."

"So all cities have a DeepDrop to every other city, then?"

"Only London and New York connecting to Sydney and Tokyo. If you wanted to get from Buenos Aires to Auckland, you'd first take the overmantle to Miami, then to New York, DeepDrop to Tokyo, and finally another overmantle to Auckland."

"How fast does it go?" asked Snell, slightly nervously.

"Peaks at fourteen thousand miles per hour," said my neighbor from behind his magazine, "give or take. We'll fall with increasing velocity but decreasing acceleration until we reach the center of the earth, at which point we will have attained our maximum velocity. Once past the center our velocity will decrease until we reach Sydney, when our velocity will have decreased to zero."

"Is it safe?"

"Of course!" I assured him.

"What if there's another shuttle coming the other way?"

"There can't be," I assured him. "There's only one shuttle per tube."

"What you say is true," said my boring neighbor. "The only thing we have to worry about is a failure of the magnetic containment system that keeps the ceramic tube and us from melting in the liguid core of the earth."

"Don't listen to this, Snell."

"Is that likely?" he asked.

"Never happened before," replied the man somberly, "but then if it had, they wouldn't tell us about it, now would they?"


So I think he's got the concept a little more fleshed out than we did. We mostly got stuck on not melting or making the earth's magnetic field change, but he totally stole our idea. And I don't care if the title page copyright is 2002.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My Musical Space/Time Continuum

After a relaxing coffee date with Hubster, we were driving home with the windows down in the cooler weather we've enjoyed of late. Coldplay's "X & Y" came up, and I was thinking about it will always remind me of exercising in the gym in the old apartment complex as that music. I always made myself work harder for the duration of "White Shadows," even if my quads were already killing me.

Then I thought of the Red Hot Chili Pepper's Calfornication album and how it will always be entwined with that pub in Villa María where the youth hung out after Sunday services and drank beer and made paper-napkin flowers. Reunión (basically college-age youth group) began at 10pm there, and when things wrapped up at 11, everyone hung out at a pub owned by a member of the church. My brothers and I came with friends who were older (by two years for me, and I'm the oldest), but they all embraced us as their own, telling stories in broken English mixed to my brothers and making me napkin roses with "petals" that they singed for effect with lighters. All the time the Chili Peppers played in the background, the bassline forming the subtext to stories and laughter and burnt fingertips. I have few strong memories of five years ago, but that's one of them.

There's other moments, too. Rachmaninoff's "Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul" plays in my head as I walk the sidewalks of GCC one winter evening. It's only 8pm, but it's dead-of-night dark and the wind drives the snow across the sidewalk in front of me like tissue paper that won't lie flat, and as I round a bend and look at it in the glow of a street lamp, the tissue paper shreds into a moving stream of diamonds that make the concrete look like a god's equivalent of a red carpet. My body is freezing, but it's heavenly and the ascending tenor line slips into my mind, and I'm listening to celestial voices until I lose the melodic line in my memory and come back to earth.

Our Lady Peace's Spiritual Machines album. It's a short memory, but I'm sitting at Mom and Dad's table, sewing. It's Christmas Break, and everyone must be busy because I'm alone. I'm taking the opportunity to sew myself a dress, maybe? I don't remember now. The silence is weighing on me, and I decide to make the time pass with some music. I grab the first thing that catches my fancy, and it's not the usual accompaniment to domesticated tasks, but I feel like a punk-rock Martha Stewart fashioning femininity out of whole cloth and rocking out to "The Wonderful Future."

Buried deeper than the rest, Dad's singing to me. His lovely tenor croons our "Top of the World" in a long crescendo to the words "is the love that I've found ever since you've been around" where he soon gets bored and decides to tickle me instead of finishing. He probably forget the rest of the lyrics, but I didn't cared. Then we're on a roadtrip to see family in Kansas, and Dad's playing Paul Mariat from the 70's, and Mom's complaining about it. Mom preferred to sample the King with "I'm in love, WOO, I'm all shook up!" My brothers always mock-hated that one. Funny, I would never have pegged her for an Elvis fan. I bet that's something her parents sang to her when she was little.

I feel so blessed that my life is chock full of those memories. Before there was much of a middle class who could afford it, and before the industrial-age machinery that makes it ubiquitous in our daily lives, music was the purview of the rich or drunken peasants at taverns.

And now I'd better get my head out of this nostalgic atmosphere and back to earth. While searching for Our Lady Peace music, I ended up hitting the "BUY ALBUM" button instead of the album title in iTunes. Carry on.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Weekend Delight

It's been Monday With A Vengeance all day. I tried to rework my design for a new ad. The cats jumped up on my desk throughout this process and sat in front of my keyboard, licked my arms, wandered across the copious papers, and generally begged for food the entire time. Not exactly the ideal environment for inspiration to strike. Oh, well. Let's think about fun things, shall we? Like my weekend.

I managed to have a blast with Betty who slept over Friday night after looking at pictures and wedding albums, and "watching" Garden State while we talked. She brought me a bottle of cherry beer that I'm excited about. I haven't tried it yet. We had some good laughs at the expense of our younger selves, telling stories long into the night. It was lovely. I wish I could do that at least once a month.

Saturday morning we took it easy until she had to run errands and head home. After putzing around the house, I decided to walk to the local shopping area for a little retail relaxation. I found a used book seller that I seem to have missed all the other times I've been, and with s sale going on, I managed to snag three fantastic paperbacks for $10. I'm working on one right now, because I'm so ADD with books that I have to have four going at once. Or because I'm petulant and capricious. Probably both. From about 9-2pm, Hubster was at a frisbee tournament in which he overdid it. Big time. That night he had to move his legs by hand and walk very slowly, a situation which I found hilarious. He did not appreciate my amusement. Heh.

KL from church hosted us for dinner that night. They had another couple, too, and we all had a great time eating Grape Tomato, Avocado, and Cumin salad, Barbequed Chicken with Homemade 20-Ingredient Sauce, and mojitos, among other things. It was delish. We talked books, travels, and studies, and told lots of stories. And then Erica went home buzzed because did I mention? MOJITOS. Weee!

Sunday was fairly uneventful except for an IKEA run in which we didn't buy much but figured out we want a kitchen redo. And it'll be expensive. WAH! Also, the shelf we bought for the bathroom won't fit. GAH! Also, also, we finally got a towel rack for our bathroom. YAY!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Love isn't love 'til you give it away.

I know this was redhurt's idea, but I can't keep the love to myself. It's just not right!

How sad is i that merely photoshopping in Kevin Sorbo makes me so very giggly? SAD.

Tonight, my friend Betty (previously known as S.O.) is coming over and we're having a sleepover. Bring on the cosmos and crappy movies!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a house to tidy. If by "tidy" you mean "clean like a banshee."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Reading Rainbow

It gets a little tough sometimes to crank out a post when books are laying all over the house, beckoning me toward the rocks of distraction. Blogging about reading, though not quite as good as reading, is still good enough to make me stop my ears up and keep moving. Ah, but enough introduction, here's what I've read lately, in no particular order:

1. Geraldine Brooks: March. Aunt J arrived at dinner early on during vacation, teary-eyed and sniffly. The cause of her melancholy? This fantastic book. In the famed tradition of poetic license, Ms. Brooks takes inspiration from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women and crafts a story for the mostly-absent Mr. March. She covers some of his youth, his relationship with Marmee, and his struggles as he attempts to do his share during the Civil War. The characters are fairly well developed, and it was interesting to read about something OTHER than battles in a book about the period. Worth a look if this blurb piques your interest.

2. Neal Stephenson: Snow Crash. Hubster and I are fond of this writer. His Cryptonomicon was entertaining, witty, and intricate. He entertwined WWII history with net-neutrality issues and some decent characters. This book sticks to one time period and its characters are not quite as appealing, but it's still a fun beach read. The alternate near-future he envisions is alternately insane and believable. Sci-fi fans might not mind slogging through his odd scene introductions and terrible ending (the man CANNOT wrap up a book with enough detail) to enjoy themselves. If you're not into sci-fi lit? Probably a pass.

3. Margaret Atwood: Oryx and Crake. After thoroughly enjoying The Blind Assassin, I took a trip through the local mall's BooksAMillion and found this gem in hardback for $10 - ROCK! If you're a fan of Atwood, you'll enjoy this futuristic tale (somewhat similar to Snow Crash, come to think of it, but better). This was recommended to me originally by sbp not long after college, and I'm glad I listened. Rich prose. Dystopia at its finest.

4. Umberto Eco: The Island of the Day Before. I mentioned it before, but I finished reading it at last and can deliver my verdict in musical form, sort of. Think: Aqualung's Strange and Beautiful.

Glimpses of problems and attitudes that exist to this day cloaked in objects and customs that are long gone. Except without the mumbling pop star in the middle of it. In some sense, it's a scholar's ode to a historical trivia, but it's still delightful. I didn't know much about the problem of longitude in history, but now I'm curious. It's a good thing my science-teacher mom's got a book about that.

5. Nick Hornby: A Long Way Down. In the first scene, four strangers make their separate ways to the top of an apartment building on New Year's Eve in order to commit suicide. Excuse me, I need to go get a drink or ten. Once you start reading, though, the proclamation of the Boston Sunday Globe emblazoned on the back cover rings true: "A mordant, brilliant novel . . . A Long Way Down ought to be required reading for writing students who want to know how to evoke one set of circumstances with its opposite; how to capture unspeakable pain with humor; how to suggest camaraderie with trenchant, piss-all irony; how to turn a novel based on suicide into a cello suite about how to go on living." This is my first Hornby novel, but it will not be my last. (Sensitive readers beware: the f-bomb peppers the page.)

I think that's about it, for the time being. I've got a few more in the chute, but I'd prefer to write about them when I'm done. What are YOU reading?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

[Insert Fish Joke]

The weekend was fabu - no other word for it. Hubster and I trotted over to CharlesPierce and his wife's house after rush hour died down, and we met up with Mair and J Morgan, Redhurt and his wife, and Jackscolon. This makes it sound like a mini bloggers' convention, but really, it was just old college buddies hanging out. We stayed up too late talking every night, toured this 19th century estate and enjoyed some made-on-the-spot ice cream that tasted faintly of refreshing lemon and no preservatives - so tasty, though speedily soupy. We floated in their community pool and cracked jokes. To attempt to recreate it would be to spoil it with lameness - a preservative as unwelcome in nostalgia as in ice cream. We thoroughly enjoyed one another. But then we had to leave.

I hate that part.

After dropping the Redhurts off at the airport, the CharlesPierces used some four free passes to get us in to the National Aquarium in Baltimore (a $100 value total - sweet!). This marks only the second time I can remember going to an aquarium and, let me just say, they kick zoo derriere. Almost everything shows signs of life and they have SHARKS, people. Also frogs. Ooo, and real, growing coral. And dolphins who can jump 15 feet out of the water to hit a target like it AIN'T NO THANG. Enough babbling about my wonderful times, here are the pictures to prove it.

Sky Meadows is lovely. I want one, but with plumbing. Definitely.

Sundappled butterflies and flowers at Sky Meadows Estate.

The esteemed (and fabulously follicled) wife of CharlesPierce gets up close and personal with a bird in the open Australia Exhibit. (Okay, can I just say how much I want her hair? Um, I want her hair. That was much less climactic than I wanted it to be. )

To wet your appetite for the bizarre and wonderful, behold this fish whose forehead grows like the mighty oak for its entire life. (The fact that only MST3K fans are with me now is, frankly, a little scary - no offense, guys.) We cracked the usual jokes about wisdom and crankiness and age, but then we saw the only other fish of that species cowering behind his elder in the dark recesses of the aquarium's corner and we realized this is serious business. Do NOT mess with
Señor Cerebro who instructs you to go my flickr photostream for the rest of the aquarium pics.

Friday, August 04, 2006

NC Redux

This is about my vacation all last week, and it has PICTURES.

Let's start things off by having everyone say "Hi" to GAIL. Her name was scrawled across the beach on our first day out there. I have no idea who she is, but she's got fans now. What up, G-dawg?

Before the first day, I guess I should mention that vacation inauspiciously with a seven-hour carride which put us in to the beach house at precisely 2:30am. NOT very vacationy. We slept in until the cheery hour of 8:00am but were greated by a hot breakfast, something we enjoyed most mornings, and something I enjoy more and more the older I get. Tasty. We spent most days at one of several local beaches or enjoying the pool table in the basement or the fantastic outdoor pool that belonged to the house. The digs were unusually nice this year. We had our own room and bathroom - in my book that qualifies as Rockstar Vacation Living. It was a nice break from the shower queue and lack of hot water in year's past.

Beach days offered us much adorable cuteness from the younger cousins. The slightly older ones body-surfed the waves like pros, only better and more adorably, but the younger ones, like Miss A here, either played with sand or played with tools with sand all while remaining cute. If only the same could be said for her older cousin-in-law, moi:

These two people are the E's of the family: E-man, and sadly, myself. E-man is three, and he rocks. He is wearing a wetsuit, a lifevest, a sunhat with neck protection, and he's smiling. I am wearing a bathing suit and a t-shirt and I would rather swallow sand than smile for that picture. I would also be less embarrassed if I had swallowed sand since the INTERWEB would not know what a a complete disaster vacation makes of me. Please admire the unabsorbed sunscreen on my chin, the hideously undone hair and the eyebags. Don't you feel better about yourself already? You're welcome.

When driving to beaches or the outlet mall for some retail [un]therapy (remember?), we had plenty of time to goof off. My brother-in-law and I decided that the cloud on the right is The Couch Potato In The Sky. We were not drunk nor were we high when we decided this. My brother-in-law is awesome.

These are the toes of E-man, Cousin G, and my entire leg and foot (in case the pallor didn't clue you in). I think this picture is cute. Please do not attempt to convince me otherwise because to me, it is the best symbol of this vacation: peeps and playa. Lovely.

When we returned, the kitties were great, thanks to KL who checked in with them a few times, and to regular kibble which, along with some water, seems to be all they need to survive. Except for regular exercise of their contempt for my stupid camara and my insistence on posting their image to this site. Welcome home to me!

Loki's all: Oh my gosh, this is so humiliating.
Persephone's all: I don't consort with people who clean litterboxes.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Linking Thursday (Updated)

I really want to post, but Blogger's picture function is currently trying to kill my will to live. Will post tomorrow. Until then amigos, enjoy these links.

This article talks about the obesity epidemic, but it offers some reasons I haven't heard before. I doubt any are the main cause, but they certainly contribute.

I've been salivating over these iced tea recipes for a little while, but I never seem to have all the ingredients on hand or the ambition to go shopping for them. They do sound tasty, though. Also, Glamour has a decent fitness plan site where you can enter your weight and strength goals and get some nutritional/exercise advice here. It's been helping me get back to working out regularly. But it's hot pink all over and definitely NOT for the menfolk. Sorry, chaps.

I'm not sure why this sestina on McSweeney's is so amusing, but I love. It's entitled "I Dreamed I Wrote This Sestine In My Maidenform Bra," and it's hilarious.

Okay, that's all for now. More when Blogger wants to play to nice.

UPDATE: How could I forget this hilarious piece of snark? The Go Fug Yourself girls tackle Keira Knightley's summer casual wear: The Belt Bra of Fuggery. And then the follow it up with another case of belt confusion. Brilliant!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Kill me now.

And no, tomorrow will not be a better day.