Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This post is not about the fact that it's full-on raining outside now, with thunder and lightning and cool breezes and everything.

There was a school meeting last night. It was very poorly timed with respect to my own needs and schedule, and I wasn't too crazy about the OMG FAT CHILDREN lecture from the nutritionist (she very pro-healthy eating and overall giving good recommendations, but ... anyway. Rant for another day), but there were some decent points as well.

My favorite part was learning that Robin's classroom (4th, 5th & 6th grades) is basing the current trimester's studies on a book by Stephen Hawking [read an excerpt] that is being read aloud by and to the students.

So much to love.

Monday, March 30, 2009

About a two on the "Brushes With Greatness" scale

Where a one is "inadvertently being in the same country with" [Joe Biden] and a two is "crossing a highway overpass on which two guys with guns and radios are anticipating [Joe Biden] being driven by on the highway below at some point during the day."

Try not to be too jealous.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hey, at least it's not about my laundry

Notice how I never get quite as far as an "I'm sick of the dry season" post? These dry seasons, they go by much too quickly.

We shouldn't have daily, torrential rains for another month or two, but we got our first sprinkle today - just now in fact.

In other news, the turtle not only climbed up onto her little rock plateau, she also buried herself in the rocks for about 18 hours, until I finally poked at her and pulled her out. She glared at me and got up for a while, and now she's working her way back under the pebbles again. At this rate, she should be buried by...about 10:00 p.m.

Let's see...we also went grocery shopping today, and got the last of the wood & hardware for my bed frame. And I messed around a little with the DNS and form settings for the retreat website.

Yeah, I got nothing for ya today.

Well, the turtle part wasn't so bad, right?

Maybe Bob's got something of interest to say ... (checks) ... well, not as yet, but we can hope, right?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday observations

  • The local Wal-Mart equivalent (preexisting large supermarket chain, in which Wal-Mart bought a controlling interest a year or two ago) is so very much more pleasant on weekdays at 3:00 than it is on Saturdays at noon.

  • The turtle can, in fact, climb up onto her little rock plateau. Apparently, until now, she's simply chosen not to.

  • The bird is much less afraid of Bob than I would have thought. Of course, he controls the almond supply, so that probably doesn't hurt.

  • The existence of a long list of weekend tasks large and small, important and sundry, does not, in fact, have much bearing on the number of tasks that are accomplished.

  • As long as the most pressing ones get done (despite the discovery that prompted Saturday Observation #1), failing to accomplish a significant percentage of a weekend list doesn't actually imply a wasted weekend day.

  • The phone company sent out a text message inviting us (and, presumably, everyone else with a cell phone) to participate in Earth Hour, so the planned evening fare of Men in Black may have to wait till later.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sawdust: Still smells pretty good in the evening

Coming to you live from Bob's new desk. He had all the fun today, while I conversed with lawyers and reticent hardware store salesmen (not to contradict Bob there. Despite his reticence in filling my purchase order, he was, in fact, both knowledgeable and nice) and revamped the format of inventory supply lists. Try not to be too jealous.

With the desk done, we went ahead and moved the futon couch down to the new media/guest room* in preparation for my new bedframe, coming soon.

* I wanted to call it a simple media room, but I've got a backseat blogger here, so...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ten great tastes that tase great together

Spinach (or lettuce for the spinach ambivalent), tomato, mango, avocado, raisins, sunflower seeds, goat cheese, black olives, olive oil, vinegar and sugar.

I know, I should have taken a picture (it was pretty too), but after work, grocery shopping and lumber shopping (for furniture construction) I was much more interested in eating it than photographing it.

As Ralph would say, 'twas guuuud.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Because Brave Sir Robin asked

And what Brave Sir Robin wants, Brave Sir Robin gets.

Well, you know. When it's something this reasonable.



Tuesday, March 24, 2009

You can take the man out of the mountains...but then you gotta trim him up a little.

Well, I checked the flight status...more than once. But not obsessively. It wasn't the fancy plane-on-a-map kind of flight status, after all. All it ever said was "Scheduled Arrival 1:30p.m." and "Expected Arrival 1:55 p.m." and there's only so many times a girl can refresh a thing like that. At work.

So, he got in at 1:55 and I got there a few minutes before he came wheeling the suitcase out of the customs area, blinking in the tropical sunlight and putting his fedora on my head.

First thing he did* when we got settled was ask me to give him a beard cut. The man whose beard has been described as "epic" (yup, I was there) and has not been without facial hair since he first started growing any, put his trademark beard in my hands for thinning, shaping and general tidying. Which, we both agree, ended well:

In addition to the barbering, we got most of the basics set up today - the router works fine, so both computers are online now, and he's got a fridge and a bed. A computer desk is next up, but there's time.

* Okay, no. Totally not the first thing.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Waiting for Phydot

I will not obsessively track US Airways flight 1773 at work.
I will not obsessively track US Airways flight 1773 at work.
I will not obsessively track US Airways flight 1773 at work.
I will not obsessively track US Airways flight 1773 at work.
I will not obsessively track US Airways flight 1773 at work.

There. That ought to do it.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Again with the fruit


The girls' school is good at a lot of things. Communication is not really at the top of the list, though. Given that and good intentions all around, the girls and I ended up finding out about a school family picnic at the last minute this morning, so we got ourselves organized and headed on up the mountain.

'Cept, in this particular case it wasn't the school failing to notify us - it was that it was an activity for the Kindergarten and preschool level. The girls' version is next week, like it says on the schedule they passed out at the beginning of the year.

But, it got us out of the house this morning, and we came back by way of the farmer's market for goat cheese and the mini mandarin oranges from the guy in the cowboy hat. Sadly, this was his last harvest for the season.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

High wizarding drama

...being enacted in the kitchen. The role of Scabbers is being played by an avocado.

Friday, March 20, 2009


On the way to work I pass a condominium called Saint Augustine. They take the best care of their grass.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

In as many versions as they can think up

I am told that my children went to the zoo.
And to an aquarium.
And ice skating.
And to a cook-at-the-table Japanese restaurant.

I am told this by adults who were present. What do I hear about the trip from the children?

I'm the god of rock n' roll
I'll be famous till I'm old
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky.

Thanks, Naked Brothers Band.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Blog note?

I have reports from the field that at least one copy of IE is going intermittently nutz and loading multiple copies of this blog, along with another page, and hanging along the way. Any corroboration, especially from those who may have updated their IE today?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wow, Classmates.com. That's a bit of a stretch there.

You want me to pay how much? To find out what three random people said to me how long ago? One of whom is, in fact, an occasional commenter on this blog and the other two of whom were organizing a class reunion that is now long past? That's...pretty pathetic, Classmates. Facebook is free, ya know.

Monday, March 16, 2009

In which I pass judgment on a marketing ploy

So I went to buy some beer this weekend, and when the guy took my empties and saw they were Rock Ice, he told me there was a new version out now: Rock Ginseng.

I'm always up for a new kind of beer, so I had him give me two of those.

Then I asked if he's heard anything about it. He said it's "youthful" and "sweet."

I said yeah, two's probably plenty.

Hooo boy.

Two is plenty.

You know how Japanese culture is into cute stuff for grownups, like Hello Kitty and ... well, there's a whole subculture but I don't remember enough about it to Google it and Wiki it and everything, and what are the odds you'd click it if I had?

Well, this beer is exactly like that.

This "youthful" and "sweet" alcoholic beverage tastes exactly like liquid SweeTARTS and that, my friends, is just seven kinds of wrong.

I've still got one, if anybody is so inclined.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oh good grief

I guess it's a good thing I went ahead and did the redesign back on the first of the month and didn't save it for my own blog's anniversary.*

What with completely missing it and all.


Hey, everybody, I've been blogging for four years and two days. Yay me!

* As always, the two random posts from the year 2000 were pre-dated once upon a time when I thought I would go back and fill in some stories by drawing on old emails. They were created after the fact, and I actually started blogging on March 13, 2005.

Watch this balloon not pop

Yup. Doesn't pop at all. And yet we watch.

Actually, I was looking for a video of "The Years Between" from the album Skip, Hop & Wobble by Russ Barenberg, Edgar Meyer and Jerry Douglas, because that was the first thing Windows Media Player served up from my playlist this morning and it was just the perfect thing. But, it was not to be found and I eventually gave up. How I got from there to here, only YouTube knows for sure, but it took a lot less time than you'd think.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

In which I am unduly influenced by the Greater Internet Community

All this talk of bacon and Pi Day has had the inevitable result:

As you can see,before being thrust into its ill-fitting box, this noble creature clearly measured 39.5" round the tum, and approximately 12.573240504259731525752396619975" across.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some measuring implements to cleanse.

3.14159265358979323846, y'all.

Friday, March 13, 2009

I knew it would get better

Considering a new look for the place.


(This post only partially influenced by the nasty smell of the reheating lunch of a coworker who is observing lent. There needs to be a rule about microwaving fish in an office.)

Bet it improves from here

5:30 a.m.
Dead cockroach in my coffee
Friday the 13th

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gimme four

Yes, it's Elmo, but don't show it to your kids or you will be explaining All. Day. Long.

And for the love of all that is good and pure, if you show it to my kids--you all there who have them right now (*waves*)--then you can do the explaining. I had to watch it six times to get that one line toward the end there* but I'm willing to bet good money they'll understand it right off the bat because teh childrens, they has good hearing and a thirst for knowledge.

* The line in question being, of course, "Do you know what 'necrophilia' means?"

(Hat tip to Liss at Shakesville)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Didn't we just do this?

There were a couple of earth tremors this afternoon. Nothing near big enough to be scary--in fact, barely noticeable--but still, it's not what the ground is supposed to be doing down there, in my worldview.

We tend to get them around the change of seasons, and particularly around Easter, but I swear we were just there.

Coupled with a full moon, an unusually full day at work and a few other full things, I'm more than ready to be home for the day. In fact, I do believe ... yes, I'm pretty sure my sweats are calling to me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Year

I ended up having about four hours of deep, personal, face-to-face conversations today. They were with different, unrelated friends and on two different, but related, subjects.

One was about me and looking back on The Year. The other was not about me, but about a friend who, it seems, is just embarking on The Year.

The other situation is not the same as mine, but my friend felt, very correctly, that I would be in a position to understand and simply listen to some of what needed to be said.

As I said more than once in, I believe, both conversations: Time helps. A lot.

I've been conscious of the evolution of my own Year lately, as certain dates have come and gone, and some of the issues that remain to be dealt with emerge and/or are addressed or, one hopes, at least furthered along a bit.

Not that I wasn't already, but having both of those discussions in the same day makes me really really glad to be at this end of The Year.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Something wicked

At one point yesterday, I walked into the kitchen to find this:

Which, by the end of the day, looked like this:

So I suggested taking the experiment a step further, and by morning we had this:

Science: It still works.

Pics from yesterday

Our nice little reptile in her nice new pad:

This is what I mean by "tiny," when referring to mandarin oranges:

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The satisfaction of a pet owner with a pet...

...resides primarily in the suitable calibration of expectations. To wit: "Mommy! The turtle just blinked her eye at me!"

How I spent $25 and change on our walk into town this morning

The farmer's market is held on Sunday mornings on two blocks in the middle of town, and we went over there, along with some other errands this morning. Here's how we made out:

Grocery store

  • 4 rolls TP (the fancy Scott plus-mega-aloe kind, with free sample of some kind of moist Kleenex product)
  • 1 bag sunflower seeds (pet food)
  • 1 bag peanuts in the shell (also for the bird)

    ¢2410 ($4.20)

Stationery store
  • 1 photocopy
  • 1 plain white envelope
  • 1 plastic compass (the kind for drawing circles)

    ¢330 ($0.58)

On the street
We ran into the mother & sister of some kids who go to the girls' school. They keep goats and sell goat's milk products at the farmer's market. She was already packing up to leave, but was glad to sell us:
  • 1 small piece homemade goat cheese

    ¢1500 ($2.65)

Farmer's market, fish tank stand
  • 1 rustic but custom made turtle tank, ordered last week

    ¢2000 down payment (actually, I paid that last week)
    ¢1500 balance paid today
    ¢200 (two extra bags of rocks)

    ¢3700 ($6.55)

Farmer's market, insanely cheap and poor quality shoes section
  • 2 pairs Croc knock-offs because OMG my children never have anything but their school shoes to put on their feet after school.

    ¢6000 ($10.60)

Farmers market, the guy in the cowboy hat's stand
  • 1 bag of 20 tiny mandarin oranges, recommended by the goat cheese person

    ¢500 ($0.88)


Too late to do any good for this year, though.

Emboldened by their success in declaring Pluto not a planet, the International Astronomical Union determined this week by a close vote that February is too short to be considered a true month. It has, however, been granted the newly created status of "dwarf month." It shares this dubious distinction with several other calendar time spans, including Labor Day Weekend, Christmas Vacation, and the Time Between When You Were Supposed to Get Your Oil Changed and When You Actually Did.

"It only seems fair," said IAU President Ron Eckers. "February reaches a peak size of 29 days, averaging only 28 days for 75 percent of the time. Recent research has shown that other periods, such as the Time Between When You Were Supposed to Get Your Oil Changed and When You Actually Did, often exceed this meager time frame. In fact, this erratic behavior only strengthens our case that February does not belong in the same classification as the eleven 'true' months."

Eckers also warned that the crop of 30-day "so-called" months should be careful to maintain their number of days. "They’re already cutting it pretty close in my book."

Written by one Michael Haber, seen here, via Petulant at Shakesville.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

About that "inevitable"

One of Julia's arguments regarding the non-scariness of Harry Potter was that she had been over at someone's house and seen "some little parts" of it.

Comments by Julia during the movie:

  • That's Harry's enemy.

  • This is the part where the ghosts come zooming in through the tables.

  • Those are the staircases that change.

  • This is where Harry flies really fast to catch the other boy's remembering thing.

  • It's a Nimbus 2000.

  • Ron and Hermione go with Hagrid and Harry has to stay with Draco.

  • It's the Invisibility cloak.
The precognizant patter tapered off a bit during the last 25% of the movie, but she still batted nary an eye at Professor Quirrell's possessed head, or his turning to ash and crumbling into cinders (while still trying to chase Harry), or the evil lord's passing straight through Harry's body in smoke/spirit form once deprived of his host body, etc., etc.

Final analysis: "Let's go rent the 2 right now!"

I'm still holding out for watching each of the movies myself first, just so I know what they'll be seeing, but I guess there's no stopping progress.

(Additional Fun Fact: When we stopped by the house where Robin spent the night last night, the friend's mother said the girls were asking to rent Harry Potter and she wanted to make sure Robin was allowed to watch it.)

Friday, March 06, 2009

In which I surrender to the inevitable

I finally broke down and let Julia rent Harry Potter today. We just started the third book this week, and they keep asking to see the movies, but I keep telling them that reading about scary things is different than seeing movies with scary stuff in them.

I saw HP1 when I was in NC this Christmas, and there's only one part that really made me go "hmmmm," so I guess we'll decide about future ones based on how this one goes over. (And based on me watching them first, particularly if any future neighbor of mine brings his DVDs when he comes, ahem.)

So, I rented it. Getting it to play on my computer was a whole nother issue, what with the "This DVD is coded for Region 4" this and the "Please install the InterActual Player" that.

Looked up the InterActual player on the Wiki and no, we won't be installing that, thankyouverymuch.

I did finally get it to play almost as well as DVDs normally play on my computer, which is to say, well enough to satisfy the children and not-well enough to irk me.

Then one of the neighbor kids came over carrying a bunny and asking Julia to go play, so we'll watch the rest of it (or, more likely, start it over) sometime this weekend. Which will also save me the "you watched it without me??!?" that I was pretty much expecting when Robin gets back from her friend's house later on.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Apropos of nothing and with no intent to convey any sort of hidden meaning

I'm feeling not-inspired (which is less severe than uninspired) and have children clamoring for the computer and Harry Potter and suchlike, so please to enjoy seven minutes and twenty-two seconds of enjoyable music for this evening in lieu of any particular commentary from me:

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

It would appear...

...that the sun is setting.

More fun than coding a Blogger template

I'd only played with Google SketchUp once before (and I liked it then too).

This time, I'm getting paid for it.

Behold how I spent most of my time at work today:

It's a 4x8' solar hot water panel with an 80-gallon hot water heater, adapted for solar use.

I still need to connect the PV panel (the small one at the top) to the pump that it powers (small cylinder in the cold out line), and hook up the expansion tank (medium cylinder above the main tank), but I sure learned a lot about elbows and pipes and, above all, rotating things today.

Very fun.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

An early night is called for

I waited in lines at Immigration before work, then went to work, then waited in lines at the bank after work, then picked up the girls and did the dinner/homework/Harry Potter thing.

Oh, and I did that exact same thing yesterday, but with a traffic jam and more hours at Immigration.

Fortunately, both the Immigration and the bank things have been satisfactorily accomplished (I've actually been to the bank every business day since Thursday, and it was a long, long-standing issue to begin with), so tomorrow should be downright leisurely in comparison.

In fact, if I recall my traditions correctly, tomorrow is pizza night, so dinner won't even be an issue.

...I'm sitting here glazing over even trying to think of a suitable closing line, so I'll just let that fact prove my point and I'll see y'all tomorrow :)

Monday, March 02, 2009

Modest proposals

From Julia:
You should save up all your money so you can buy this apartment and it can be ours and we can live here forever. And we can also paint it whatever color we want and build another room so we can get rid of the bunk bed and I can have my own little room.

From Robin:
Fawkes is a cool bird. You should change Loren's name to Fawkes.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

I'm so derivative

So, after watching Bob struggle with redoing his own template half the day--actually, half the weekend--I decided to just poke around a little in the template options, just to see what sort of direction I might, hypothetically go in, if I were to eventually decide to redo my own format for my own blog's anniversary (coming up in 13 days, TYVM).

And, well. You can see where that led.

This is actually the same template he used, although we've hammered it into such different directions, that fact is pretty well lost in the mists of...uh, Blogger or something.

Anyway. Watch your step, some of the paint's still fresh and I'll be fixing that and that and oh-ho yes, that too, over the next few days.

A click a day for good causes

The Hunger Site The Breast Cancer Site The Child Health Site The Literacy Site The Rainforest Site The Animal Rescue Site

Added 6/12/06

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