Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Took a break from working to view the latest posts at icanhascheezburger.com and found this.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Cats on my lap, sleeping soundly.
Working from home and listening to a podcast of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me.
The kittons are settling into their new home. Catrina has significantly cut down on the number of random times per day that she vanishes into an empty room to start yodeling at the top of her cat-banshee lungs.
The rats are enjoying the new location of their cage, which allows them to watch my Mister while he's at his computer. I know their eyesight is limited, but they do seem intrigued by the activity nearby. And they can probably tell by smell and sound which of us the shifting object nearby is.
Zabartik, as I've mentioned before, very much seems to want to be just like His Person when he grows thumbs. So, if my Mister is replacing the power supply in his computer, Zabartik is there to help. If my guy is checking that the blinds are level before drilling holes and driving screws, Zabartik tilts his head to the side and watches intently. He doesn't seem the least interested in what I'm doing most of the time. But if my Mister is doing something with tools, chances are he's got a 14 lb white fuzzbutt apparently memorizing his every move.
Ok, back to work. But first, a lol.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
A couple of them are songs I don't usually like, but I really like this version. Others are childhood favorites that I just can't resist. And Chiron Beta Prime and The Holly King are songs I admit to listening to year round.
- Chiron Beta Prime by Jonathan Coulton
- Carol Of The Bells by Angels Of Venice
- The Christians and the Pagans by Dar Williams
- A Winter Wassail by Faith And The Muse
- The Holly King by Lady Isadora
- The Holly & the Ivy by Loreena McKennitt
- God rest ye merry Gentlemen by Loreena McKennitt
- Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht by Andrea Bocelli
- Do You Hear What I Hear? by Duels
- White Christmas by Amazing Pilots
- Sleigh Ride by The Late Greats
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
A star studded mini-musical about California's Proposition 8. My Mister pointed me in its direction and I've since seen it in a few places on the interwebs. Neil Patrick Harris steals the show, IMHO.
It's official. We'll be signing the closing papers tomorrow. Then we begin the chaos that is moving house. And once we're all moved and a renter is found for our townhouse, we'll be able to really take a deep breath and settle in.
We'll have a lawn to mow in the spring and summer, snow to shovel in the winter (and fall and spring) and all the new responsibilities that come with a single family home. But we'll also have so much more space and many more options than we have at the townhouse.
Assuming the minor renovations that need doing at the new house are done by then we've got a move date of December 21st.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Food for thought. American Thanksgiving is coming up this week. A time to give thanks for the things in our lives that are meaningful to us.
To me, it seems like it should also be a time to reflect on what it means to be grateful. And for that matter, what is the other side of thankful? Not the opposite, but the other side of the same positive coin. I think the answer is the ideal of forgiveness.
Flip the coin.
Heads - be grateful. Tails - forgive.
This Thanksgiving week, I challenge myself to be more mindful of both sides of this potent coin.
Some of the baggage is that it's a namby pamby thing that doormats do. But from everything I've managed to read and see and understand, forgiveness is a brawny, muscular exercise that I kind of imagine someone with a great passion for life and a great hearty sort of disposition being able to take on. ~Michael McCullough on Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippet, Getting Revenge and Forgiveness, aired November 6, 2008* * *
Forgiveness, I feel, means not to forget what they have done. But forgiveness means do not keep your negative feeling towards them. So, as far as their action is concerned, sometimes you should use your intelligence. You deliberately have to take countermeasure, but without negative feeling.
~H. H. the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, in an interview with Paul Ekman
Saturday, November 22, 2008
You rarely see something like this where I come from in San Diego, CA. Land is usually just too valuable to let something fall down without quickly replacing it with something new and sell-able. And here in less densely populated Minnesota, such sights are still few and far between.
With this photo, flickr user tearapen has brilliantly captured my fascination for these abandoned homes. I adore the contrast between the domestic decay and the bright, sunny blue sky. It was taken in Plymouth, North Carolina. You can almost hear the spirit of the house sighing about it's loneliness, and the aches of age and disrepair. The vines give it a slightly sinister look, as though it's in the embrace of a creeping, irresistible power that will eventually pull it in into the soil; gone with only a few rusted nails and shards of glass for future archaeologists to find in the traces of its foundation.
Tearapen's got a great eye for composition. I highly recommend surfing over to his flickr stream and giving the rest of his work a browse.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Beauty in the unexpected. Beauty in the bizarre. Beauty can be found in the bits of nature most people overlook, or intentionally look away from.
As an example, Opo Terser's flickr photostream is chock full of some of the most truly awesome macros I've seen in ages. They're not safe viewing for true arachnophobes. Though, if you were going to face your fear of spiders, these images could be the place to start.
I especially love all of the stories Opo Terser includes with his photos; describing his interactions with his tiny living models.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
See more lolcats
Who is an everyday hero? Firefighters. Hospice workers. People who devote their lives to saving domestic animals from neglect, or endangered animals from extinction. People who face the uglier side of society to help those most in need. Those brave, anonymous men and women who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe, bring the lights back on after a storm, and bring us news of our world under dangerous conditions. People who stand up for the "little guy", and people who do what's right, instead of what's easy.
I have quite a few personal everyday heroes. Just off the top of my head, the first few who come to mind are: My oncologist and his nurse, Joan. My cousin, who has served our country with honor for almost two decades. My 90 year old grandmother, a strong, compassionate, and truly beautiful human being. And my husband, who has stood by me through my health problems and prolonged recovery; who plays with me, comforts me, laughs with me, and tells me he loves and appreciates me both with his words and deeds.
Friday, November 7, 2008
I looked up her poem for that day on the googles yesterday. My friend and I were discussing our memories of where we were when Clinton was inaugurated, and I remembered how moved I was by listening to Angelou as her words bloomed into that cold, bright Washington DC morning. I was in my little studio apartment in San Diego, sitting on my bed, watching that event on the TV, with it's rabbit ear antenna pointing toward the ceiling. I remember where I was sitting, and the quality of the light in the room, like it was yesterday.
We mulled over the realization that - since we both remembered where we were during Clinton's first inauguration so clearly - Obama's would be one of those impossible to forget, tattooed-onto-your-memory kind of events that we looked forward to with hearts trembling with joy.
Re-reading "On The Pulse of Morning" again yesterday, with a mind to our newly minted President Elect with his hand raised and speaking the oath of office, made me tear up.
ON THE PULSE OF MORNING
A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.
But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no more hiding place down here.
You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.
The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.
Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.
Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,
Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
The River sings and sings on.
There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.
Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.
Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.
Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.
You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers--desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.
You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.
Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.
I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours--your Passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.
Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
In the last portion of the dream - just before my alarm woke me for the day - were done packing, our things had been moved, and now we were cleaning up behind ourselves. We tore down tattered curtains, letting in fresh air and sunlight. The light showed that the house was crumbling and cobwebs covered nearly every surface. The previous owner had made haphazard renovations that I was just noticing. I clearly remember noting out loud, as a piece of disintegrating particle board broke off in my hand, "I don't think this is up to code."
The resident poltergeist grew angry, the walls shook as it howled. And as the dream took a familiar turn toward becoming a full-blown nightmare, I suddenly found the inner resolve to resist and hollered, "Stop." First, in nightmare fashion, I couldn't find my voice. But then something shifted, and I was able to say, repeatedly and with confidence, "Stop it. Stop. Stop."
And it stopped. It wasn't gone. It was still angry. But the walls stilled, the angry wailing quieted, and we were able to go back to the cores our move out of the house required. In the dream I knew that before we finished moving the spirit would probably roar again, but that I could stand up to it, and make it back down.
I've decided I'm going to keep a running log of the day.
7:15 AM: My mister calls me from our polling place to let me know that as the polls opened, there were about 150 people already in line ahead of him. I go outside in my short sleeves and bare feet to give the squirrels some nuts. Even the chipmunks have come out of their hidey-holes in search of goodies.
We tied the record for the date yesterday by topping out at 74°F. Weather predictions for today are for another beautiful day. Highs of 70°F and fair. 20 to 30 degrees warmer than the last three presidential election days here.
7:45 AM: The morning fog in my brain is starting to clear. The morning news is on TV. Every commercial is a political ad. CBS is showing Barack Obama in his polling booth, casting his vote, with his daughter at his side.
I'm going to rustle up some breakfast and then log in to get some work done. I'll try to beat part of the crowd at the polls by going in at an odd hour, between morning rush hour and lunch. But I will be taking a book to read while I'm waiting. I assume there will be a line, no matter what time I show up.
8:00 AM: My mister just called. He got through the line fairly quickly. The optical scanning machine listed his vote as #138, so his estimate wasn't far off. He says the line is down to nearly nothing now. I'm going to throw on some shoes and zip out there now.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Of all the places I've lived, California is "back home" in my heart. I lived there for most of the period from 1977 through 2003. I met my husband there, and I got married in California. I'm proud of my home state.
So I've been watching anxiously as election day draws near, and Californians prepare to vote on Proposition 8 (2008), titled Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry.
I ask the voters back home, please, please vote NO on Proposition 8. Don't write discrimination into the California constitution.
If you're on the fence, I ask you to watch this video and give it some thought.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
This article about Minnesota's former governer also made me quite happy when I saw it yesterday:
Carlson endorses Obama, spurred by Bachmann remarks
The former governor said Obama represented the best hope for an America facing an economic crisis.
Last update: October 23, 2008 - 8:57 PM
Former Republican Gov. Arne Carlson endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama on Thursday, saying Obama represented the best hope for an America facing an economic crisis and criticizing Republicans for waging a mean-spirited campaign that has "been going down all these side roads."
Speaking at the State Capitol, where he was introduced by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Carlson said his party had strayed from the moderate philosophies of past Republican leaders such as Ohio Sen. Robert Taft and President Dwight Eisenhower. "I consider myself a Republican maverick," Carlson said in explaining his endorsement of Obama.
Carlson also took aim at U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, saying that her controversial remarks of the past week suggesting that Obama may have anti-American views, had led him to endorse the Democratic nominee. After hearing Bachmann's comments, he said he telephoned former Vice President Walter Mondale, the Minnesota Democrat, to tell him of his plan.
(read the rest of the article on their website)
And our local news reports that outraged people keep calling the local Bachman's gardening stores, asking if they're related to Michele Bachmann.
Any connection between flowers, 'anti-American?'
"Larry Pfarr with Bachman’s says Congresswoman Bachmann’s statements have caused a flood of phone calls and e-mails, from those wanting to know if Bachman is tied to Bachmann. "I can reassure everybody that she is no relation to Bachman’s Home Gift and Garden," Pfarr said."
Bachman’s is staying out of Bachmann’s political controversy. They want both Republicans and Democrats to buy flowers here.
(Here's the rest of the article and accompanying video)
I haven't been following Tinklenberg's campaign as closely as those in our own district, but I got a chuckle out of this video, care of Tinklenberg For Congress.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
One of the web comics I follow regularly is Diesel Sweeties. My Mister and I got an extra chuckle out of this particular strip because I've joked about moving to Canada (or Australia for that matter) if the Karl Rove camp stays in power after this election cycle.
But heck, we're in the middle of trying to buy a house. We've made a lot of friends with some really amazing people here in the Twin Cities. We've both got good jobs here, it's a beautiful place to live, and we expect to be in Minnesota for a good long while. So, in all seriousness, we're not going anywhere any time in the foreseeable future.
That said... there are three words that could change my mind. "President Sarah Palin".
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
IRON MAN: A WALK IN THE STARK
- "THERE ISN'T MUSHROOM IN THE
SUPERHERO BIZ FOR A FUNGI !!"
Originally uploaded by zero g
I'm crashed on the couch with my lymph nodes in my neck swollen up to obnoxious proportions, watching a dog show and wandering around flickr.
Ya'll probably already know I'm a fan of Zero G's photography, sculpture, radio show (when I can catch it - dude, podcast already! *wink*) and amazingly creative brains.
I couldn't roll a saving throw against being amazed by his work with Sculpey if I had a feat that guaranteed it.
* Grab the nearest book.My response -- cross posted from my reply on her LJ post to here:
* Open the book to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the cool book, or the intellectual one: pick the CLOSEST.
I'd just grabbed my purse to answer my cell phone when I read this thread, and my current purse book is: Assasin's Quest by Robin Hobb.
"The case would proclaim me as that to the chance acquaintance."
If I'd been catching up with my rss feed reader 10 minutes earlier you'd've ended up with a quote from The Workbench Book: A craftsman's guide to workbenches for every type of woodworking by Scott Landis.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
As of today I've been married to this wonderful, playful man for 5 years, and living with him for 8 years and change. I should not have been surprised when he pulled this little stunt in the middle of our wedding ceremony.
Yesterday was his birthday, or "bird day" in the family vernacular. With the two dates back to back like that, he's taken to calling the 10th and 11th of October as the Birdaversary Extravaganza.
Did I mention I love my Mister?
Friday, October 10, 2008
I based my design on EXTERMIKNIT! by "Penwiper", with some modifications of my own.
Bunches more photos of it on flickr. Or see it on ravelry.com if you're a member there.
50 of your favourite words
Story about man who read the OED in a year
Lots of sesquipedalians out there, judging by the response to our feature on the man who reads dictionaries for fun, Ammon Shea. We asked for your favourite words and were overwhelmed with nominations. Here we list 50 of the best.
Read the rest of the article here
I have to admit at being pleased by how many of these words I actually knew. And enjoyed all the many spiffy words that were new to me. My favorite word on this list is "tintinnabulation".
One of my (many) favorite words that didn't make their list is:
doting upon, foolishly fond of, or affectionately submissive toward one's wife.
First one that came to mind, just randomly. Has nothing to do at all with tomorrow being my wedding anniversary, I'm sure.
I guess that makes 51 words for today.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
When I was a little girl in Australia, I learned about the simple treat that is fairy bread. White bread (often without crusts), butter, and hundreds-and-thousands (aka rainbow sprinkles).
I made fairy bread for some friends at a party last year, and while most of them nibbled it only to humor me, there was one devoted convert by the end of the afternoon.
Now, excuse me while I go rummage in the cupboard for some sprinkles... I might need some fairy bread if I'm going to watch the presidential debate tonight.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Obama = ? Biden = ? McCain = ? Palin = ?
You've seen the meme, here's the thread (voting enabled)
My Mister and I both thought the 2+2 = chair was too funny not to share.
You have such a diverse body of work that during my research, I had trouble getting a handle on it all. If we could imagine a definitive Peter Woodward magnum opus, what would it look like?
I would be stark naked. I would be carrying a very large sword, on a stage, being filmed, and with a History Channel executive fretting in the background.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Which geeks among us haven't pondered what superpowers we'd most like to have? For me, it was telekinesis, and the power to converse with animals.
Though, honestly. Really. The most welcome super power for me as a kid would have been the ability to grok the kids around me, so I could walk in their social circles without sticking out. To be a social chameleon.
This would, of course, have had to be accompanied by a native ability to play school yard games. You can't blend in when the dodge ball teams at PE are arguing over who will be stuck with you; and the teacher - despite their pleading - won't let the team that you end up on take a handicap to compensate.
I didn't necessarily want to BE like them. I enjoyed reading for pleasure, and was glad I'd lived and traveled in more countries by the second grade than most of them would see in their whole lives. It was super cool having computers in the house before most of the neighbor kids had even seen a computer. Being a Star Trek fan, and an avid watcher of nature and historical documentaries on PBS were not things I'd've willingly abandoned.
It would just have been awful handy to have been able to avoid the inevitable shunning that kids are so good at when there's a misfit in their midst.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Wake with a sinus cold. Just what I did NOT need right now.
Confirmation that the world is watching our presidential campaign with interest. Last line in an email from an Australian friend of mine... [We are] taping the debate. Guess that means we get to yell at the TV tonight.
As if Rickrolling wasn't bad enough. This morning my Mister Obamarolled me. Ouch... my brain.
I switched the channel from KSTP morning news to WCCO after KSTP's "Truth Test" segment. On the very small number of things covered by the Truth Test segment, they included Biden's statement about climate change as "unknown", because of an unspecified quote from National Geographic saying that climate experts disagree. Rather than, say, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which has stated:
There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.And:
Furthermore, it is very likely that the 20th century warming has contributed significantly to the observed sea level rise, through thermal expansion of sea water and widespread loss of land ice. Within present uncertainties, observations and models are both consistent with a lack of significant acceleration of sea level rise during the 20th century.Even the Republican platform includes language accepting that human activity is at very least contributing to global warming.
You can technically claim that there are still scientists who disagree on the causes of global warming. You can technically argue that there are scientists who believe in Intelligent Design, too. But giving someone a negative mark on a political fact checking segment (and that big question mark is effectively a negative since it contradicts what Biden was saying) because there are a few scientists who are still in disagreement with the majority of the scientific community strikes me as irresponsible and misleading reporting.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
It took a LONG time to finish buffering the video (I guess the interwebs were slow from Australia tonight). But for a Peter Woodward junkie like m'self, it was well worth the wait, since it includes a few snippets of his work that I hadn't seen before.
Pssst... There's a very little tiny bit of swearing in one of the clips. Just so you know.
There are a couple of bingo cards out there for download. I got one in an email from a friend. Here are a few links to some others I found by checking the googles.
I'll be playing along with VP Debate Bingo card in hand, and I'll post to Twitter when I fill a row, since that seems like the equivalent to shouting "Bingo"on the intertubes these days.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
The Mister is playing World of Warcraft with some guildies. I'd be playing except I'm going to shuffle off to sleep early (as in any minute now), to try to make it to work early tomorrow.
So instead of playing I watched Ghost Hunters. It's a little guilty pleasure of mine. The Mister won't watch it. He rolls his eyes when I watch it, in fact. But it's my favorite ghost show, and I admit to watching quite a lot of shows about hauntings. NOT Most Haunted, though. Can't stand a show that features ghost hunters who all freak out every time an old house creaks, or a spider web brushes their faces.
I believe in ghosts, but I don't believe in an awful lot of the things people on TV take as evidence of hauntings. Even so, I can enjoy shows about hauntings even if I'm highly skeptical about the "hunting" methods employed in said show; or programs that are just recountings of tragic events, rumors and annecdotes, mixed with spooky background music, old photos and a melodramatic narrator for extra flavor. I've got a high tolerance for silliness when it comes to this kind of show. But I can't stand a bunch of "investigators" who get hysterical when anything vaguely unexpected happens.
Why does that draw viewers? Would a show about spiders or snakes do well if the host flipped out every time they found a creepy critter? Or if they assumed every rustle in the underbrush was a man-eating viper of mamoth proportions, and they fled instead of trying to determine the truth of the matter?
Oh, and before you point at me and say, "Hey, don't you have problems with nightmares? Should you be watching ghost shows before bed?" I can assure you that if my nightmares were about normal nightmarey kinds of things like ghosts, I'd go cold turkey on episodes of Ghost Hunters at bedtime.
Speaking of which, it's past time to get m'self to sleep.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Preston Fosback and his mother, Kristine, were shocked when their Obama sign was stolen one night in April from the front yard of their Portland, Ore., home.
When they put up another one nine days ago, that, too, was swiped within hours. Undeterred, they made their own sign and put it up the next day.
But this time, 16-year-old Preston had a plan: He set up a video camera inside the house and trained it on the sign from behind a window. He figured he would catch the thief on film, should he return. He hooked up the camera to a Web site that provides live streaming. He wrote a few words on the site explaining its purpose.
And then, the handmade sign with red, uneven letters went global.
A few people started watching the video, which shows the sign next to another sign endorsing a local candidate, beside a flowerbed. The only reliable action consists of the occasional car passing in the background.
Still, by that first evening, more than 100 people were watching. The next day, when Preston checked the site during lunch at school, more than 450 were there, not only from around the U.S. but as far away as Australia, Sri Lanka and Japan.
Read the rest of the article at the Wall Street Journal
Watch the sign
Need cute? Bivoir's got cute. Bivoir's got eleventymillion mind bogglingly cute photos.
Yawning guinea piggies. Kissing piggies. Smiling, eating, posing, and even reading piggies. Not to mention funny piggies, safety piggies, baby piggies, mixed species cuteness, frogs, kittens, birds, and doggies.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
What I'd like to do is get an original artwork from each of the nieces and nephews who are old enough to participate. The ideal would be something that could be either framed in an 8x10 mat, or in a similar sized shadow box. We'd like to hang their art around the house, a visual daily reminder of our family members who live so far away.
This could be anything from a favorite photo they've taken themselves, a multimedia collage or crafty thing, a sketch, a painting, a fiber art piece (knitted or crocheted, hand sewn, woven potholder, whatever), a small puzzle they've finished prepared with glue to keep it from falling apart, or whatever else they enjoy working with. Even a story they've written would be fine, as long as it's all on one side of one page.
Ideally I'd like the pieces to be signed by the artists.
The top end of their ages is in the tween range, and some are quite young, so the range of possibilities are pretty broad. I'll leave it up to their parents to decide who is old enough to participate. And of course, if any of the kids would rather not make us something, that's fine, too.
We'll get the frames or shadow boxes once the artwork arrives. And there isn't a deadline for this. Just whenever the spirit moves them.
We're still waiting to hear back on the short sale home we've put in an offer on. Could be days or more weeks yet before the lenders on the current owners' end are done with the extra stuff that happens in a sale like this. No guarantees, but it sounds like it's moving along in a promising - if slow - manner.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
Arrrrrrrr ye ready fer Talk Like a Sea Dog Tide?
The Official Site for International Talk Like A Pirate Day has great gobs o' goodies, including pirate pickup lines, songs, photos, games and even piratey knitting patterns. Arrrrglye socks anyone?
Pop o'er t' their links page t' use some mighty swell translators that'll add some piratical splendor t' yer own words, or translate a web page into properly piratified lingo. Even a Post Like A Pirate thingy (for twitterers) and an Aye Phone App.
By Dave Barry's bones! They've got it all! Don't believe me? Take a gander at the guide to pirate-speak auf Deutsch. Helpful if yer a monolingual Landratte like me, and ye be needin' to know what the Irrlichter might be, or how t' order the Smutje to be sent t' the sharks fer spoilin' the Käpt'n's Schillerlocken.
For I dream of the skull and the crossbones,
I dream of the great day to come,
When I dump the mundane for the Old Spanish Main
And trade my computer for rum! ARRR!
Yo, Ho, Yo, Ho,
It's "Talk Like A Pirate" Day!
--from the official Talk Like A Pirate Day song, by th' swashbucklin' songsmith an' filker, Tom Smith
Jolly Pirate Fish image c/o the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Dear Cap'n Slappy,
Do you have to have a Parrot to be a pirate or talk like one??
It's "Talk Like a Pirate" day, NOT "Talk Like a Parrot" day! The parrot is as much a part of Talk Like a Pirate Day as it would be at a Jimmy Buffet concert. Nice set dressing, but it doesn't make the songs any sweeter! The best parrots are the "stuffed/dead" ones. Unless you like to dress in newsprint.
Could you imagine "Talk Like a Parrot Day?" People would be gutting each other in the streets. "STOP REPEATING WHAT I SAY IN THAT HIGH NASAL VOICE! YOU #*#@($)#@!!!" people would say just before slitting you open with their cutlass.
Now, if you have a parrot, that's great! Treat them with care and they will be great gifts for your great grand children, but for the love of Neptune, leave them in their cages on September 19. And for Jimmy's sake, don't take them to the concert!
- Cap'n Slappy
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Beyond the 100% Truth Test? That would make it... um... let me think... Not true?
Intentionally telling others that things you know aren't true in hopes that they will believe you. There's a word for that, I think.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
New York City 1985
Photo originally uploaded to
flickr on September 11, 2006. The
text of this post expands on what I
wrote that day.
I was there, I looked out the windows at the top of one of the towers. How can something so apparently permanent be gone? In one senseless and brutal day can our world change so much?
Of course, the towers are gone. And so many precious lives with them. People from all walks of life, from so many countries and backgrounds, all with their own loves and fears, beliefs and doubts, and people who held them dear.
And the brave souls on United Flight 93 when it crashed in Pennsylvania. And all the lives lost in or touched by the attack on the Pentagon in Washington DC. Hold them all in your heart, every one of them.
Bless them all, and also those who gave their lives to try to help them. And those who lost their health in the poisoned air after the fall of the towers. And all the loved ones of those who suffered or died on that horrible day. And all of the human beings who have paid too dearly since then, caught up in the storms of fear and hate and the shameful lies of politicians who dare to use this human tragedy to further their own agendas.
The destruction of that day was an agonizing example of the impermanent nature of the universe. And as the memory continues to touch our hearts despite the passing of time, distance, and our individual differences, we share a lesson in interconnectedness.
However we each may pray (or not), may we all take to heart our connection to one another in the human experience. We owe it to those who have lost so much to create some good in the face of the enormity of all that has happened since 8:36 AM*, on September 11, 2001.
Monday, September 8, 2008
For Brian Appel—and, maybe, for an energy-hungry world—it's a dream come true, better than turning straw into gold. The thermal conversion process can take material more plentiful and troublesome than straw—slaughterhouse waste, municipal sewage, old tires, mixed plastics, virtually all the wretched detritus of modern life—and make it something the world needs much more than gold: high-quality oil.
read more | digg story
I heard about this company in 2004 and thought the idea was intriguing. I just saw the above article wander by on Digg.com. Yeah, it's an article from 2006, but it's still fascinating. I don't know if it could ever translate into an alternative energy source on a large scale. But it gives me hope that even if we burn up most of the available underground oil, it will still be possible to create enough oil for other important petroleum products that we take for granted, like plastics.
The company doing this is Changing World Technologies, Inc.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
My Mister is home and on the mend, minus a gallbladder that had passed its warranty. He won't be allowed to actually put the beer cozy to work for a while longer yet, though. So it's up on the shelf, holding a practice beer.
Time for me to get some chores done, errands run, and generally get caught up on things that got left undone while my guy was in the hospital.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
That's my Mister and our rattie, Talia. Click on the photo if you want to see it (and vote on it) on icanhascheezburger.com. Or don't. I'm just sayin' it, just in case :)
In to some sad news, I just heard that Don laFontaine has passed away. The quintessential voice of modern movie trailers, laFontaine's name might not be familiar to all, but anyone in the US who watches TV, listens to commercial radio, or watches movies has heard his voice.
He also appeared on NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! on May 14, 2005, where he played "Not my job" (a game in which famous people have to accurately answer questions totally unrelated to their chosen professions). The prize (for a listener, not the contestant) is "Carl Kassel's voice on your home answering machine". LaFontaine did not win the game, and offered to do the answering machine message himself instead.
I remember hearing that episode of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! I think it was the first time I had a name to go with the voice of the "In A World" guy. With that show, laFontaine was no longer just an amazing voice actor, but a human being with a great sense of humor. I've been a fan ever since.
Rest in peace, In A World Guy.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Let me start by saying that Sarah Palin gives me the heebiejeebies when you pair her name with the words "Vice President". She seems wayyyy too much like our Minnesota's 6th district congresswoman, Michele Bachmann for my comfort.
Bachmann's 2006 campaign for congress just about stood my hair on end, and I don't even live in the 6th district - though it is basically next door.
Being pro-Intelligent Design; calling the human connection to global warming voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax; and being a dedicated opponent of a woman's right to reproductive choice are just three of Bachmann's Right-wing "charms".
Ironic Bachmann trivia: she introduced the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act. According to Wikipedia, she said of the legislated phase out of incandescent lightbulbs:
I was just outraged that Congress would want to substitute its judgment for the judgment of the American people. It struck me as a massive Big Brother intrusion into our homes and our lives.Sarah Palin is, as far as I can tell, Michele Bachmann's ideological sorority sister. She is NOT someone I want to see one step from the most powerful position in the world. So don't get me wrong, I'm not defending Sarah Palin because I like her.
This thing could have been started by someone on the Left trying to out-Rove the McCain camp. And if so, it could seriously backfire.
But - call me paranoid - I wouldn't rule out that it could've been manufactured by the Rove Machine itself to make the Dems look like they're mudslinging when Obama has repeatedly promised to avoid the ugly tactic of personal attacks. All the McCain campaign needs to do is produce clear proof that the rumor is a lie, which shouldn't be difficult, and the liberals who jumped all over the story will look like the worst kind of muckrakers.
As for the story itself, the date on at least one of the supporting photos has been fudged to make the rumor seem plausible. A photo purporting to show Palin's daughter Bristol as pregnant was taken in 2006 - Baby Trig was born in April 2008. So there's no way that photo shows what they claim it shows.
A lot of the details of the accusations are based on assumptions and individual opinions from people who have no first hand knowledge of the people involved.
For example, ArcXIX, the author of the story on Dailykos asserts that Bristol Palin must be pregnant in specific photos because of generalizations about female physiology. Explaining the curve of Bristol's abdomen in close-fitting clothes ArcXIX says:
Bristol is pregnant in these pictures. She is not carrying belly fat, which grows outwardly wide, and does not become dome-shaped. That's because fat is generally evenly distributed around the abdomen and a fetus is not.
That's just ridiculous. I've never been pregnant, but since my early teens - even at my most slender - I've always had a dome shaped belly. Everyone - man or woman - carries their body fat differently, unless they're Michael Phelps and just plain don't have any.
For the record, the photos I've seen of Bristol look like a very attractive, healthy young woman. She isn't a bean pole like the twigs we're accustomed to seeing on TV. She's not a thin as her mother certainly. But I wouldn't look at her and think "pregnant", and I feel sorry for her - a teen in image conscious America, being told by thousands of anonymous voices that she looks pregnant when she's not. Way to make the poor kid's day.
Some people are making a lot of the fact that Palin didn't publicly discuss her pregnancy until she was 7 months along. This, IMHO, is a non issue. My Mister and I didn't know my my sister-in-law was pregnant until she was 8 months pregnant. Not everyone shouts their news to the hilltops as soon as they know. And if I was a politician, I think I'd keep it private until it was pretty obvious, too. It would be easier to get things done if its business as usual, instead of everything you say or do being filtered through or trumped by speculation about your pregnancy.
Also from the same DailyKos diarist:
In a video posted in February (nearing five months of pregnancy at the time), Sarah is seen trim, and walking around all of Juneau, Alaska.and
Eight months pregnant. A 6.2 pound fetus. No one notices a visible trace. By the third trimester, a perfectly fit woman not wearing anything less than a space suit should be easily spotted as pregnant.Again, I say this is a load of bat guano. In the video ArcXIX refers to, assuming it was shot the same month it was posted on alaskapodshow.com (February '08) I would have no trouble accepting that Palin is 5 months pregnant. Compared to her more recent photos, she's plumper in the face, her jacket is fairly loose, and it's common knowledge that women show their pregnancies at widely different times.
I've been amazed by some of the women I worked closely with and knew were pregnant who barely showed until 6 months. One, at the age of 40, had a 9 lb baby; another friend had healthy twins at 6 lbs each. The former was able to wear one of her regular coats zipped closed until very late along. And you'd never have guessed the latter woman was carrying twins even up until she went on leave from work to have the babies.
And if we're going to play the comparing photos game, what about this photo of Sarah Palin and family from a few months after Trig was born? Bristol is in the photo with her. Which of the two looks more to you like a woman who has recently given birth?
I've read posts by commenters on various articles that back this rumor using Palin's age as supposed proof that she couldn't have been pregnant.
Do any of these people seriously believe that the hospital she gave birth in would be likely to participate in a cover up?
As for the flight from Texas back to Alaska that Sarah Palin took before delivering Trig that so many of the gossipers claim proves she either wasn't really pregnant (because she wouldn't have taken such a risk), or that she put her baby in jeopardy? Her own doctor, Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, is quoted in the the Anchorage Daily News as saying:
Things were already settling down when she talked to me...Sarah Palin is actually her son Trig's grandmother?
I don't think it was unreasonable for her to continue to travel back.
Sorry. Not buying it.
Friday, August 29, 2008
In the mean time, I've been considering what it will mean to have a house with a real yard for the first time. Mowing. Raking leaves. Pulling weeds. The Mister and I are discussing composting grass clippings/leaves wherever we end up living. He'd like to do a square foot garden for beets and such.
And there's something I'm totally taken with now that I'd never heard of when I lived in semi-arid Southern California.
Gardens designed to help control runoff from your property when it rains, encouraging more of that water to soak into the soil and get filtered by plants instead of ending up in storm drains. I am all excited about this concept. Partly because they can be pretty, and can be good for local wildlife if you use native plants. And partly because they keep the crud that ends up on your roof from air pollution - and other crud picked up by runoff as it heads to the street and storm drains - out of lakes and streams.
Here are a couple of the websites I've been snooping around on while reading up on the subject:
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
James Eric Benham, convicted of beating an unarmed and innocent US civilian so severely as to require surgical implants to save his victim's face and vision, has still served no time two years after the brutal assault. Benham due for General Discharge from the Navy in Nov '08.
read more | digg story
The author of the blog post that I submitted to Digg.com - James Howard - has been a friend of mine for more than a decade, and is a man for whose intelligence, honesty and honor I will vouch without hesitation.
On September 16, 2006, Mr. Howard, his wife, and another married couple went out for dinner. That evening Mr. Howard and his party became unprovoked physical targets for James Benham and his brother Chris'* bigoted, ignorant hatred. Mr. Howard was especially savagely beaten.
Excerpts from James Howard's statement to the court:
I have been granted this opportunity to make a statement about the impact to my life:
Where do I begin…
The immediate impact to my life was the painful recovery for an un-naturally sustained set of injuries. A broken nose, a split lip, internal and external stitches, the surgical implant of two small titanium screws in my skull that hold my eye in place with a synthetic mesh are all undeniable. Clear sight did not fully return to my right eye for nearly a month. Nausea and dizziness were persistent during the time of my physical recovery, as the lack of depth perception and blurred vision in combination with the prescribed anti-inflammatory and pain killers was for me, an unpleasant cocktail consisting of mandatory, hard to swallow pills with a shopping list of encountered side effects. Headaches from reading, even with corrective lenses, persist to this day like never before, and it affects my capacity to be fully productive at my work. Sadly, I no longer read or write for pleasure...* * *
I will begin by saying I am not a victim, but rather a survivor. I am survivor of both the brutal attack that night as well as the legal process which provided Mr. Benham with the ability to harass my friends and neighbors while his paid legal team and investigators worked to vilify us in the eyes of the public and the eyes of the court. I have neighbors still upset over the visitations by his investigators...* * *
... he and his brother pursued our group as prey, for no reason other than we were different and because we would make no response to the provocative statements and actions he persisted in.
When his threats and directives were directed to a young lady of our group who sought to defuse the matter and report the crime in progress, he violently and continuously assaulted me for defending her right to call the police. He then fled.
I have no desire to re-live the brutal detail of the assault by James Eric Benham and his brother that night. I re-live the event every morning of my life as I stare at a surgically re-constructed reflection of myself who is forever changed by the memory of that night.
If it not been for the intervention of several there that night, I would not be able to recount the events that transpired. James Eric Benham would not have stopped his attack of his own accord. He was pulled off me by several people, as was his brother, who had no visible intent in ceasing their blows...
Read the full statement here
Note: There is a follow up post regarding the pending lawsuit against the Benham brothers here. It includes a photo of Mr. Howard after the assault, which may be a bit graphic for delicate readers.
The defense tried to make much of the fact that Benham's victims were all members of the goth subculture, in hope of somehow justifying Benham's brutal behavior. But even if you're biased against goths (and if you are, you're reading the wrong blog - I'm an unashamed old goth despite no longer looking the part) we're talking about a small party of civilized adults out for a social evening together, not an armed gang of unruly rabble out looking for trouble.
I can only imagine how much pain a former Navy SEAL can inflict in a violent, uninhibited, alcohol-fueled attack. My friend, James Howard, knows the answer only too well.
The law abiding people who now live with their memories and scars from that night continue to wait for closure, because James Eric Benham is still free to go about his daily life without hindrance. It is now just shy of two years since that horrible night. And almost one year since the jury that tried James Benham in a civilian court convicted him. But the sentencing phase of his trial is still on hold until he finishes his term of service in the US Navy, to protect his status in the military.**
That the presiding judge provided such extreme accommodation for Benham's career after his reprehensible behavior and criminal convictions (2 felony convictions and 2 misdemeanor) is simply disgusting, and shows no compassion for Benham's victims.
Meanwhile, the US fails to properly support so many of our military veterans and their families who have served our country with honor and self-sacrifice in uniform, and honored the country they served by doing their best to be upstanding citizens.
This mockery of justice is yet another example of the maladjusted morals of the Powers That Be.
From the San Diego Weekly Reader:
Clothing Maketh the Goth?
By Jay Allen Sanford | Published Wednesday, July 23, 2008
It’s been almost a year since James Benham, a former Navy SEAL, was found guilty of two felony counts of assault. He’s still yet to be sentenced for those crimes and two misdemeanor counts related to a September 2006 attack on a few local goths in Old Town.
“I was called a gothic faggot,” says James Howard, who asserts that the unprovoked assault on him, Mark and Lora Williams, and area deejay Robin Roth resulted in over $25,000 in medical bills.
“The defense tried to play the ‘they were scary goths’ card,” says Howard. “So we all showed up to the trial wearing exactly what we wore the night of the incident, which was pretty damn tame because we were dressed to go to dinner. In Benham’s version of the story, I was wearing a leather trench coat, steel-toed boots, and leather pants. Yeah, right, in mid-September? The only detail they got right was that I was wearing all black and had an earring.”
Howard says the judge “…saw fit to extend a continuance of sentencing, until Mr. Benham serves out the remainder of his term in the Navy.” That means Benham won’t face sentencing any sooner than November 20.
“If any of us had been found guilty of such a hideous crime, we would have immediate sentencing [and] lose our jobs,” says Howard. “Justice was soft-served. Even though I have physically recovered from the assault, the psychological effects still remain.”
Howard, a member of the Gothic Volunteer Alliance, says his organization provides community services such as fundraisers for the SPCA, the Humane Society, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The group takes part in graffiti removal, voter-registration drives, and its next beach cleanup takes place August 3 at South Mission Beach.
– Jay Allen Sanford
Read the original article and reader comments here.
*Chris Benham has not been convicted for his role in the attack. He has admitted to participating in the assault, though according to Mr. Howard's post yesterday, criminal charges have not yet been served.
**Uniform Code Of Military Justice, Subchapter X - Punitive Articles, Section 928. Art. 128. Assault (U.S. Code as of: 01/19/04)
(a) Any person subject to this chapter who attempts or offers
with unlawful force or violence to do bodily harm to another
person, whether or not the attempt or offer is consummated, is
guilty of assault and shall be punished as a court-martial may
(b) Any person subject to this chapter who -
(1) commits an assault with a dangerous weapon or other meansis guilty of aggravated assault and shall be punished as a
or force likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm; or
(2) commits an assault and intentionally inflicts grievous
bodily harm with or without a weapon;
court-martial may direct.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
Any politician who wants to become president should know by now that the US public doesn't turn a blind eye to adultery like they used to. So just having HAD an affair shows extremely bad judgment on his part. But having an affair and then lying about it while trying to maintain a squeaky clean image is inexcusable in a presidential hopeful.
The US public is sick of being lied to. Even the people who don't realize how often they really are being lied to about rather more important things aren't generally going to let lying about adultery slide. Especially given America's fixation on the faith and spiritual convictions of their leaders.
If you've had an affair, it's already bad news for you because allowances for extramarital hokey-pokey aren't part of the average marriage vows. Joe Average Christian American is pretty picky about fidelity when it comes to politicians' marriages.
But if you're running for office and you get caught in a compromising situation, for Pasta's sake, don't try to BS your way out of it. Spit it out, apologize profusely and humbly, and face the consequences. Some voters may think you're a weasel for having had an affair. But at least you won't look like an idiot who thought the media wouldn't ferret out the juicy details when they caught the scent of a sex scandal.
Edwards should have guessed that his affair would come out into the open eventually, and that the Republican party, especially the Rove machine, would have a heyday with that kind of thing.
I cringe to think what would have happened if it were now Edwards vs. McCain.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
I just "love" China's government telling Bush that one country shouldn't be meddling in the internal affairs of another country.
I'm sorry... did I read that right?
"The Chinese government puts people first, and is dedicated to maintaining and promoting its citizens' basic rights and freedom"
"We firmly oppose any words or acts that interfere in other countries' internal affairs, using human rights and religion and other issues."
--Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, Bush chides Beijing over rights: BBC News
Tibet was a country in its own right long before China decided to rewrite history and claim otherwise. Is there a greater form of "interfering" than forced occupation and ethnic cleansing?
The Chinese government claims that the regions they occupy really want to be assimilated, and that anyone who claims otherwise is a splittist or a terrorist. Why do people buy into this when it is a country with known serious human rights "issues" and no true freedom of speech or the press is saying it? If a husband said this of the wife he had been seen beating; a wife who finally struck him back and then been publically beaten again for daring to so, we would be ashamed of ourselves if we blamed the real victim for her plight. Especially if we knew that the battered wife had been forced into her marriage in the first place.
H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama has long since stopped asking for complete indepencence, and asks now only for the Autonomous Region of Tibet to be allowed self-government as pertains to domestic matters, and a guarantee that they would be allowed to mantain their culture and control their natural resources in peace. These are all things they were promised they would be allowed decades ago when the Chinese occupation began. After all they've been subjected to, H.H. offers to stay "married" to China as long as the beatings, exploitation and oppression stop. For this he is called a subversive.
China "is dedicated to maintaining and promoting its citizens' basic rights and freedom"?
How are we supposed to reconcile that with their oppression by the PRC in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and the Tibetan Autonomous Region? How many people in these so-called "autonomous" regions have been killed or displaced from their homes, or been tortured and/or imprisoned for their cultural expressions and spiritual practices?
The irony is flabbergasting. I only wish it were surprising.
I hope either Stewart or Colbert will pick up on the irony of all this because no one else in the media seems to have noticed.