Saturday, November 29, 2008

First Snow

Last year we had a dry, dry winter, with barely any snow here at all. The mountains got hundreds of inches of snow, but we only got a dusting once in a while.

Our first snow is late this year - usually we have a flurry or two in October, but we've barely had any precip at all. So when we woke up to tons of soft, fluffy snow it was a surprise.

But isn't it lovely?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Holiday Baking Frenzy

The Adorable Husband was up at 5am, baking. Yes, FIVE. Oy.

He didn't feel well last night, and so he was in bed by 7, so he did get a decent night's sleep. I got to wake up to the lovely smell of baking bread and he made six loaves of Cardamom Bread, and big double batches of both spice cookies and sugar cookies.

The Holiday Baking Frenzy has begun!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

And we are not dead!

Nope, didn't fall of the face of the earth, didn't disappear into the ether -- just busy, and taking a break after the nail-biting stress of the political elections. Sigh. Much calmer now. Much.

At any rate - Let's see, catching up: I'm still at my current client, on an extension until the end of the year, at least; spent a couple of days if fabulous Wichita, KS teaching class, back working in my office. The commute is still horrid - I usually have to step over dogs to get to work!

We're coming up on the Yearly Turkey Feast - we'll have a houseful of people over and eat until we cannot move, when watch movies or something. The Adorable Husband isn't on call for Thanksgiving, but he is at Christmas this year.

I finished putting up the 'welcomes' in the entry -- 20 different languages (there's a cheat sheet in the closet!). It was really hard to take pictures, but hopefully these give you some idea:

Fun, eh? The words are all from WiseDecor, and are vinyl letters. It's a pain in the butt to burnish them onto the not-quite-smooth walls, but the effect is actually very nice - they look painted on.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Quick Thinking

A Chino Valley, Arizona woman was jogging on a trail near Granite Mountain Monday when a fox attacked her. The animal bit her foot, and when she tried to grab it, bit her arm and held on. She ran a mile back to her car with the fox still attached. The jogger then pried the fox’s jaws open, threw it in her trunk, and drove to a hospital. The fox also bit the animal control officer who removed it from the trunk. The animal tested positive for rabies, and both the woman and the animal control officer are being treated.
Can you imagine what would happen if someone tried to mug her? They'd probably end up in teh trunk, too!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Double Standard?

As the results of the election continue to trickle in (there are still some senate races where the final numbers are either too close to call or not complete), it's rather fun to watch the conservative pundits still try to spin this as a "conservative victory". Um, no. Obama won by such a wide margin that this is definitely a sea-chnage in the way the American public views politics.

Apparently the pundits don't quite get the picture.

Robert Novak is trying to argue that a 7 million vote margin in the popular vote, an increase of six (and possible more) senate seats, and a startlingly disproportional electroral college vote are not a mandate for Obama. "He neither received a broad mandate from the public nor the needed large congressional majorities."

Compare this to his comments about Bush's win in 2004, where Bush had 3.5 million vote margin in the popular vote, an increase of four senate seats, and 63 fewer electoral votes than Obama: "Of course it is [really a mandate]." The compartatively narrow victory for Bush was a clear sign of a Conservative Mandate, while the twice-as-large victory for Obama is not?

Spin if you want, but the facts are pretty obvious and the double-standard even more so. It's apparently going to take a while for things to sink in.

America is not necessarily a conservative country, as the Republican contigent want us to believe, want desperately for us to believe.
As a matter of fact, if you look at the voting trends in the last few years, more counties are swinging to the democratic side than are becoming progressively more Republican. The Republican part is still strong in certain areas of the country, but those areas appear to be shrinking and becoming less strongly Republican then they have been. Look at this map of the voting trends -- the darker the color, the more dramatic the change in voter trends; redder is more republican than 2004, bluer is more democratic than in 2004. The GOP is really becoming a regional party - there is no nation-wide conservative movement that has impact across the country.

That's going to change the way things are done. Whether you think that the changes are going to be good or bad is irrelevant - the facts are clear. It's fun to watch the spin and obstinate adherence to the talking points when they so clearly contradict reality.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yes We Can!

John McCain's concession speech was gracious and uniting, and I was struck by how much better he sounded tonight than he has in any of the recent rallies. For the first time in weeks, I think McCain really felt strongly about what he was saying. Barack Obama's speech was inspiring. A good night. Watching the local races and local referendum, I am gratified to see that calm, rational thinking won the day.

If tonight was not a heartfelt "up yours" to politics as usual, I don't know what is. "Change" has been the watchword of both campaigns (ironic or not), and the voters spoke overwhelmingly, loudly, clearly for a different path. At my last check, 338 electoral college votes, probably 370 if the close races are accurate. 52% of the popular vote. That's almost unprecendented.

A mandate for change - I hope that the president-elect is up to the challenge, and I am very hopeful. It will be a relief to have a president who is intelligent, thoughtful, and capable of seeing nuance in the world. One who understands and can comprehend the complex issues that face us today, and (so far) seems capable of listening to other opinions and accepting guidance from all parties. What a change.

Oh, yeah, and a president who can pronounce the world 'nuclear'. I am thrilled!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Election Day

Tomorrow is Election Day. No matter who you believe in, who you support -


This is our contribution to the workings of Government. Don't miss out.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Misplaced Priorities

I'm a gamer (or, well, I have been serious gamer in the past and would continue to be one if I had any spare time!) and have found those involved in D&D and the various other table-top RPG games to be a fine and generous group.

But D&D has always been viewed as "suspect" by the Christianist movement - all that talk of monsters and demons and such in a game are obviously a sign of satan worship or other depraved deeds. That's all just ridiculous, of course (why is it that most people can differentiate between a game and reality without a problem, but that fact eludes so many?).

But it did lead to a very unfortunate decision by the Christian Children's Fund - a favorite charity of D&D creator Gary Gygax -- to REFUSE a donation from the GenCon group because they are associated with and accept D&D players' donations.
As has been reported by a few other gaming blogs and news sites, the Charity Auction at this year's GenCon Indianapolis was held to benefit Gary Gygax's favorite charity, which I will not name here for reasons that will soon become obvious. The fine folks at GenCon raised over $17,000 for this charity, which helps starving children in impovershed areas of the world--only to have that money actually turned down by the charity. The charity refused due to the fact that the money was raised partly by the sales of Dungeons and Dragons materials, which as we all know, puts an irrevocable taint of evil on the filthy lucre that us demon-worshipping gamers might want to use to, say, donate to starving children. Not only is this a slap in the face to every gamer, but it is especially insulting to Mr. Gygax himself, who I understand donated to their cause many times over the years. Plus, I'm sure the children who would have gotten food or clean drinking water with that money would be sort of upset, too.
Letting medieval superstition overshadow the modern world, and who suffers? The very people who should be protected and aided. Not only do they not get the benefit of the money donated by those horrible gamers, but the Christian Children's Fund has revealed that they have a very different agenda than, you know, actually helping people.Misplaced priorities, displayed at their very best.