Thursday, June 26, 2008

Geeky Birthday

The Adorable Husband knows me really well.

For my birthday, no jewelry, no foofery...but instead a 2T external backup drive for my computer. Two terabyptes. Vistas of space! Yeeha!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Deal or No Deal

Here's an interesting little widget: the cost of the War in Iraq.

click here to learn more

Since I know that about seven people read the blog, it probably won't freak out the bandwidth.

Good, Good Wine

Well, we've made the unsurprising discovery that we really, really like the uber-expensive bottle of wine we got for our anniversary. Really. As in, "yeah, I guess it really IS worth that much money..."

This is not necessarily a good discovery, of course. Now I'm going to feel guilty for wanting to buy more of it. It's probably good that there is a seriously limited amount of it available -- Mollydooker Velvet Glove shiraz. Yum. I don't pay a huge amount of attention to the wine ratings from all the wine magazines, but when a wine scores 98, 99 from more than one of them, it's probably as close to perfect as I'm going to find.

We are fans of Australian wines in general (must be our "broad American palates" that like the rich fruit) and I don't think we've had any of the Mollydooker wines that we didn't like. We've stocked up on their Boxer and recommend it whole heartedly to everyone!

But if you're looking for a nice bottle for a special occasion -- and are willing to drop two hundred bucks on the bottle for that special occassion...well, this is one I'd be more than happy to share with you!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Not my brand of "patriotism"

A booth at the Texas Republican State Convention is selling buttons with such lovely sentiments as "if Obama is president, will we still call it the white house?". WTF?

The company, RepublicanMarket (google for it, I don't want to give them a link), sells "Patriotic and Republican Products". By whose definition? Certainly not mine (and I hope not that of most Republicans). But this is Texas, so I'm not really surprised that this booth managed to get space at the convention. If I were a Republican, I'd be ashamed. As it is, I'm just disgusted. I would expect to see this sort of thing in a sidewalk vendor's cart, or online...not at a formal convention. Apparently some in the party have nothing to peddle but hate and war. Not quite the inclusive and accepting picture they've been trying to paint, eh?

I'm waiting for the spin that tries to explain how this button (and others, like 'Life's a B**tch, don't vote for one!" and "Press 1 for English, press 2 for Deportation") is not a disgusting, repulsive expression of racism, bigotry, and stupidity.

I can only hope that they are no longer peddling their wares at the convention, but I have no idea what the rules are regarding that.

Brawny Labor

Friends of ours are redoing their kitchen. Wait, "kitchen" is too small a description for the work that they are doing on their house -- knocking down walls, popping out the front of the house, framing in a laundry room in the breezeway, making the kitchen at least twice as large. It's going to be fabulous!

So their new refrigerator arrived yesterday and it required several brawny men to move it insdie. No wonder - it weight something like 500 pounds. It took four of the guys almost an hour to get it unwrapped, on the wheelie thing and up the few stairs into the house. Of course, the kitchen isn't quite done yet, so they're going to live with the fridge/freezer (all 48 cubic feet) in their living room for awhile.

I can't wait to see the finished product -- when we showed up yesterday, Mae was finishing up a plaster finish on the walls in the living room, which gets me thinking that I need something cool on MY living room walls and taht we should repaint the bedroom....the Adorable Husband just laughs.

I think we need to repaint our bedroom. The mediterranean green is not making me happy anymore. Sigh.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I've been getting a bunch of books lately based on recommendations from my Online Invisible Friends -- they're a widely-read bunch with some rather interesting choices.

On their recommendation, I picked up Bonk, by Mary Roach - "the curious coupling of science and sex" -- basically, a history of sex research. It's an absolute hoot. Her style is breezy and irreverent, and I actually laughed out loud a couple of times while reading. She is also the author of Stiff and Spook - studies of cadavers and life-after-death, in the same style.

It's worth it to just read the footnotes -- I kept interrupting the Adorable Husband (reading his own book) to read the footnotes out loud. I think my favorite thing in Bonk is the footnote which warns that "if you know what is good for you, you will not do a Google search on the words 'scrotum' and 'elephantiasis'."

Well, that, and the researcher who dresses mice up in polyester pants.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

We Might Listen

Isn't it nice how he makes it sound like abiding by SC decisions is optional?
Q Mr. President, also back home, the Supreme Court ruled that Guantanamo detainees have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts. Doesn't this rebuke of your policy on detainees validate the criticism that Gitmo has gotten all over the world, especially here in Europe?

PRESIDENT BUSH: First of all, it's a Supreme Court decision; we'll abide by the Court's decision. That doesn't mean I have to agree with it. It's a deeply divided Court, and I strongly agree with those who dissented, and their dissent was based upon their serious concerns about U.S. national security.


And we'll study this opinion, and we'll do so with this in mind, to determine whether or not additional legislation might be appropriate, so that we can safely say, or truly say to the American people: We're doing everything we can to protect you.
I actually feel much safer knowing that the out-of-control disregard for the constitution and civisl rights has been curbed, at lesat nominally.

You're F-ing kidding me

When American decided to charge for checking any baggage on their flights, I thought - well, that sucks. I'm sure it's because of fuel costs, but what a ridiculous and stupid way to handle that.

Now United has done the same thing. I have preferentially flown United out of Denver for a long time. No longer. They, too, are going to charge for ANY checked baggage -- the first back is 15 bucks, the second + are 25.

So -- guess what you can look forward to? Every single person bringing on every single thing they own into the cabin. Everyone will have carry on luggage. Everyone will have a LOT of carryon luggage. Just wait until you have to fly someplace for vacation and that family of four wants to avoid an extra sixty bucks in baggage fees. Oh, yes, sit with your coat on your lap and every single storage space in the plane full. You wanted that space under the seat for your feet? So sorry, you'll have to put your wheely under there if you aren't one of the first twelve people on the plane.

I cannot even BEGIN to express how angry this makes me. It's just stupid and will make flying -- already getting onerous -- into a completely misery.

If they had just upped the cost of every fare by 10 bucks or so -- hey, I understand that fuel costs are skyrocketing and everyone is suffering -- I wouldn't have batted an eyelash. But reinforce the rigid hierarchy of flyers (remember, business and first class are exempt) by reminding us again that flying coach is flying cattle car and they dont' give a fuck for our comfort or safety, well, that's going to be fun.

So, United? F-ck you for following in American's misguided footsteps. If itt's at all possible, I'l fly some other airline. So not only will you lose my extra fifteen bugs for bagage -- and whatever premium you ask me for to upgrade to Economy Plus, you have lost my fare. Maybe you don't care, maybe you have too many passengers already. Sure seems like it.

Want some Candy?

This is all over the web -- Gummi Lighthouses. It's work-safe but pretty damn funny.

I can't believe no one, um...noticed this. And it's not just that mind is in the gutter!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Turing Test

Finally, a science validates that the walks-like-a-duck, quacks-like-a-duck = duck example. I feel all wam and fuzzy that I have an actual flowchart to follow now! Makes it feel oh, so much more valid! And science-y!
Actually, the check for pants is what made me laugh.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Tender and Tasty

Over the weekend, I picked up a book called Survival Wisdom and Know How (well, I picked up a whole bunch of books from the neighborhood garage sale, most of them from a woman living down the road who is an anthropologist who spent many years at digs in Egypt!) and we spent the evening watching movies and paging through the book. Thousands to tips on how to survive alone in the wilderness in just about any situation. (This should come in handy when we become post-apocalyptic warlords, I figure)

Early on the book, discussing survival in the arctic, there is a side-bar that announces in scary italics:
Do not eat polar bear liver. It contains toxic levels of vitamin A
I read this out loud to the Adorable Husband, who paused a moment, in thought, then announced.

"If I'm in a situation in the arctic where I have killed a polar bear to survive, a little extra vitamin A isn't going to worry me a bit. I killed a polar bear. I am INVINCIBLE!"

Considering that polar bears are one of the few animals that consider us quite tasty, I'm inclined to agree!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Heckuva Job, George!

As everyone knows (or should!) I'm not a fan of George Bush. Not a lot of people are. He's terribly worried about his "legacy", and if you visit, you can add your observations to the collection. And, from the website,this little gem:
Q: You say we are writing these letters to George W. Bush, but will he ever see them?

A: The book Heckuva Job, George! will be delivered to George W. Bush. We can't promise, though, that he'll read it. If he does, we can't promise he'll read it right-side-up
Send a note!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Book Rental

Wow, I would gladly pay a rental fee to read books. I mean, of course! But it would be nice if that sort of thing was, you know, free.

Nah, that would never happen....

(Courtesy of FailBlog - which had me in tears, I was laughing so hard)

Of course, there really is such a thing, strange though it may be. Bookswim. LIke a netflix for books. I have to admit to being a big boggled. But I suppose, for people without a local lending library, or the ability to get out to it....

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Welsh Soulmates

While doing some research for our next trip, I ran across a recommendation for a book called "Castles in the Air" , by Judy Corbett-- the story of a young couple who bought Gwydir Castle in Wales and have worked to restore it. The castle was a partial ruin, roof-less, invaded by bats and rats, and horribly 'renovated" in the 60s to be a sort of "rave club".

I've always fantasized about living in a castle -- so I sat down and devoured this book in one sitting. Her writing style is a bit florid and overly precious, but the story really resonated with me. Almost penniless, unemployed , they ran across this dilapidated pile and instantly fell in love. ALmost two years later, they moved in -- sleeping on cots, cooking on a camp stove, no hot water, and sharing the place with the creepy crawlies, birds, various rodents, and (if the author is to believed) ghosts.
"I was so saddened that such a venerable old house had been brought to its nknees in this way. I wanted to wrap my arms around it and comfort it as you would a small child. The more I saw, the angrier I became, angry with the people and the authorities who had allowed this to happen. And with that anger came another, fiercer emotion which took me completely by surprise. I know as I ran my fingers over the damaged walls and as I picked up the broken shards of stained glass which lay scattered across the floorboards, that I would be prepared to anything to save this house."
Now, it's not my dream to live in a historically-accurate restoration sans electricity and running water, but the idea of bringing back a ruined house appeals to me tremendously. I'd prefer not to do it while living in squalor, but I absolutely understand that first, strong, emotional tie to the house. While the two are hardly comparable, that's exactly how I felt when we bought our first house -- a run-down, much-abused Folk Victorian with sagging porches, a leaking roof, and the full measure of dirt and grime from its hundred-year life. Houses have a sense, a personality, if you will, that really speaks to someone. Not every "gets it", I guess, but for the Adorable Husband and I, our two house purchases have been made on the basis of "yes, this is the RIGHT HOUSE. This one feels right." I doubt we would buy a house and move if we didn't have that instant and immediate connection.

We bought our current house after walking through it ONE time, and we weren't even looking to move. (As a matter of fact, when we had seriously discussed moving, the idea of leaving my old house made me so sad that I cried for hours) We were walking through the neighborhood and looking into all the open houses, just as entertainment for a Saturday afternoon. We walked into our current house, and within fifteen minutes, met in the living room and announced, rather dramatically, 'Well, crap. Now we have to move." We made an offer on the house the next day.

So, Judy Corbett and her husband Peter having that instant "click" with the run-down Gwydir Castle, I knew the feeling. The book follows the first five years of their restoration -- cleaning out the detritus of a century of neglect and trying to restore the house to its former glory as accurately as possible. Not always an easy task, especially when they were on the brink of penury each month just trying to keep themselves fed and warm.

Gwydir is currently open as a bed and breakfast, and work is ongoing. I can't help but feel a strong urge to go wandering the countryside in Scotland and find a decrepit pile to try my hand at it.

Monday, June 02, 2008

It actually EXISTS!

I joke alot about craving chocolate and craving bacon and having bad hormonal moments when I crave chocolate-covered bacon...I never realized that it actually exists!

From, the Mo's Chocolate and Bacon Candy Bar. I know I should think that's a bit gross, sounds pretty good!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Lawnmower Woes

I am going to relate this story as a disinterest third-party observer, since I don't (won't!) mow the lawn. I don't actually get a vote.

The Adorable husband was mowing the grass on Tuesday and the self-propelled drive on the lawnmower broke. The mower itself mows just just requires pushing now and offers no power-assist anything. So, he puts the mower up on blocks, pulls out the tools and confidently embarks on an effort to fix the drive. Since he is Mr. Fix-it, this should be resolved in about ten minutes.

Well, it didn't go that smoothly.There was much banging and crashing and bad language, I tell you. He came inside and rather sheepishly announced that no only could he NOT fix the mower, he wasn't even sure how it actually worked! I am shocked! Shocked! He can fix anything, and am a bit worried that he's losing his Magic.

Well, Consumer Reports suggests that a mower over 5 years old is probably not worth fixing -- the cost of parts and time outweights the cost of the (admittedly fairly cheap) lawnmower. So, Consumer Reports issue for lawnmowers in hand, we traipse off to the home store.

The magazine recommended a Toro model, which (after pushing them around in the aisle for awhile to make sure the handle adjusted high enough) we brought home. It is exceptionally rated for mulching, which we do all the time, and for ease-of-use. We had narrowed it down to the Toro and a nice Honda machine (for about $200 more). I remember clearly suggesting that the Honda was rated higher and that we should buy it, but the Adorable Husband assures me that I was rather noncommittal about the whole thing, so he picked the one that CS recommended.

Forward to this morning -- off to mow the lawn on this lovely sunny day...and it doesn't mulch well at all. Definitely not as well as the lawnmower it replaced. Hm. Consumer reports has led us astray. A brief discussion, a few minutes washing it off with the hose, and back to Home Depot we go to return it. It performed that badly.

And thus returned triumphantly with a new new Lawnmower, this time the Honda, and he's happily mowing the backyard and mulching the grass into a find powder, as far as I can tell. Success! It mulches better, and it's so quiet I can barely hear it from inside the house. Rather startlingly quiet, actually, which is worth the premium price right there.

I'm still a bit concerned that he couldn't fix the old one, mind you!