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December 19, 2007

well, some good news...

Just heard one of the kids I knew who went into the National Guard is back, and going back to school starting the 7th. Now if only I could afford a trip to A-town, I'd buy him a beer. Between him coming back, N getting back from 7 weeks in Lame-a-ho, and Brian O getting fired, I'd say it'd be beers all around.

And Goodfellas. Mmm Goodfellas.

tooth woes for kids

my friend is touring europe with her family. while playing, one of her daughters had part of a tooth come out, and it hurt, so they had to schedule an appointment with a dentist in a non-english-speaking country, and the remaining piece had to be pulled. the brave girl made it through it all ok, and only cried a little, to which i say that is one amazing kid.

getting a tooth pulled ANYwhere is scary stuff, even for a rational adult. we know what to expect, generally, and know that the scary dentist is not out to hurt us, but still we worry. being a kid and having dental work done is a lot different.

when i was about 10 or 11, i fell on the ice on the playground at school, face forward, chipping both of my front teeth (one worse than the other) and also chipping the corner of my jaw. i was petrified and bleeding. i had to walk 4 blocks to the dentist by myself, and my mom was going to meet me there.

needless to say, everything was ok, but i was scared. my dad had problems with his front teeth and i was so scared that i would, too. they were already huge and i had a big overbite, and they were crooked -- (this was before braces). i was sure i was going to look more grotesque.

the doc filed the bottom of one to make it smooth again, and crafted a new bottom to the other so they matched. as for the chin, for a few weeks i had a tiny piece of bone floating in the corner of my jaw. now, one corner is rounded and the other is square. i never noticed a problem until the past couple weeks. keeping a goatee trimmed to be symmetrical kind of a challenge.

December 18, 2007

scary medicine.

so, i've been debating going to the doc to knock out this "cold" that i've had off and on for over a week now. i've been on the edge of a sore throat, lots of pnd, and my glands are now swollen. i've long since forgotten my doc's phone number, so i had to check it out online.

well... while there, i was looking to make sure my doc was still working there. i only see him a couple times a year, and didnt want to get a surprise when i called.

turns out, one of the folks i used to hang out with in the dorm in early college is now a doc at that practice. i wasn't totally sure till i checked her CV, but there it was...

I'm sure I'll get the normal antibiotics, as usual. If I start today, I could be done before Christmas.

December 14, 2007


so, i've been playing a lot of online scrabble lately. it doesnt require hours of time, and you can play with folks from wherever. i win some, i lose some.

i feel really bad, though, about challenging my youngest cousin to a round, and trouncing him by 200 points. seriously, i'll probably never ever get a score in the 400s, let alone 436 ever again.

ouch. doesn't mean i won't ask him to play again.

but i got thinking -- i'd love to sit down and play a game of scrabble or cards face-to-face again. we played a lot when i was a kid -- mostly when the power was out, or school was cancelled in winter.

scrabble, and a hot tea or hot toddy? anyone?

December 13, 2007

three months ago

Three months ago, we put an offer on a house, and then had it inspected, only to find about $30,000 in repairs were needed to bring it up to the value it had been listed at. Now, by law, they have to disclose everything that was found in the inspection, because now they "know" what's wrong with it.

We drive by the house a lot, actually, and have been saying how we wonder what the "price reduced" sign meant. Well, folks, we now have the answer.

Three months and $30,000 in needed repairs = $5,000 less in asking price. I'm sure the repairs were not completed, and I'm sure the inspection results were never disclosed.

Astounding. Seriously astounding.

there's this football thing...

so, you may have heard a certain team is heading for the playoffs, and the tickets at quite a premium. only 1700 faculty tickets were set aside for season ticket holders, and faculty and staff had to enter a lottery to get them.

now, i had had season tickets to the games, but sold them to my coworker since he was new and didnt qualify. that coworker asked me to enter the lottery for him. well, i didn't win.

my other coworker had over a dozen people entering the lottery for him... two of whom came through. he's sitting on 2 pair of tickets so far. because he'd already lined up a series of folks who might want to go, the newbie coworker who was using me for the lottery doesnt have a chance to get the other guy's extra seats.

next year, i think we all ought to have an agreement that we could buy each other's extras should something like this arise again. it cuts down on the politics and bad-feelings.


Two words: thanks, Jhames!

Making my afternoon halfway pleasant.

December 11, 2007

blogging software

i'm seeing more and more people switching to drupal. i know it's more complicated, but it also integrates with gallery2 and smf, which are used on the alumni site. i think i will investigate it more. it makes sense, certainly, for that site, but i'm not sure if it makes sense for any of the other sites.

well, maybe a group blog.

i should see if it's a one-click-install, too.

a wonderful lunch as the world gets smaller...

Today I went to lunch with ZW, who used to live down the hall from me when I was a freshman. We'd run into each other twice in the last year, and he works at the college, so we finally were able to arrange the time to get away for a bite to eat.

ZW suggested Zen Cha, which I didn't realize had food, and we ate a nice light lunch with some great teas and conversation. Turns out, not only did we have an odd parental connection, but on the way back to work, he said something about his part of town, and I said our friend Matt lived there... and he said he thought he knew him, and what was his last name? I couldn't remember but said our friend the Fab TA would know, and he was shocked we knew the Fab TA!

The world does indeed revolve around Cowtown.

making food with pierogi filling

we had about 8-10lbs of ground beef with dill and about 10lbs of potato and cheese filling left over, so i'm trying to use it all up.

last night, i used up about 1.5-2lbs of beef and about 2 lbs of potatoes and 2 packets of stove top to make a "stuffing bake" thing for which I had found a recipe on allrecipes.com.

tonight, stroganoff, i think. tomorrow, chili. that should use up the last of the meat. the potatoes have been stuck in the freezer for now, for future use in a cheesy potato casserole. the flavors of pierogi have to be masked to stop burn-out.

December 10, 2007

ok, now i'm actually excited

We're having a holiday potluck later this month at our bimonthly staff meeting, and I was dreading both it and the white elephant gift exchange. I really didn't want to spend any more money, but now I think I've got it covered.

For a potluck dish, I'm making cheesy potatoes. For a white elephant gift, cookies from Cookie Day 2007 in a nice tin. My boss said he might bring homemade hot sauce as a white elephant gift, and that's one I would actually fight somebody for... his sauces are legendary.

We've got a list of what folks are bringing to the potluck so far:
cheesy potatoes, baked beans, bbq weenies, a fruit plate, subs, tandoori chicken, and something called the "#4 steak special" which I got a laugh out of.

Estimating for baking...

Ok, if I make my average 30 dozen (or so) Great Cookies, that's about 3 pounds of flour, and a dozen eggs, 6 cups of peanut butter, 3 lbs of butter, 6 cups of brown sugar, 6 cups of sugar, and 6 cups of chocolate chips.

Here's a handy pounds-to-cups table, too.

So, I'll be bringing plenty of bowls and such to Fab J's, too.

Cookie Day 2007

The location has changed! Thanks to Fab J and Mr T for donating the use of their kitchen for Cookie Day 2007 next week. The festivities start around 10:30 and we'll be making all kinds of goodies, including thumbprints and "great cookies".

We have to use up 34 lbs of flour and 5 dozen eggs. I've got a mixer and 6-7 cookie sheets to bring, along with enough gladware for an army. It's going to be a lot of fun. I might as well also try to make Nala's mom's sugar cookies, too, since they call for sour cream (and we have a bunch!) And I've got cream cheese for cream cheese frosting.

I have molasses for molasses crinkles, and peanut butter for great cookies, and oatmeal for oatmeal scotchies. I'll also make my mom's chocolate chip cookies, and maybe jubilee jumbleas... I wish I could find the orange cookie recipe I made as a kid.

I hope that Max and Kelmeister can come, but I haven't verified... Max makes pressed cookies which always turn out yummy. If you didnt get an invite, shoot me or Fab J an email (or a comment) and she and I will get you started :)

It should be fun. I'll bring wine and some savory nibbly things, too. I'll have to make bourbon balls, too. Messy, but lovely.

Holiday Eating Season is upon us! Enjoy!

(I need to find something to make with apples... anybody got an apple cookie-type recipe to share? Maybe apple bar cookies?)

pierogi party over!

So, 95 dozen (yes, 95 dozen, with a 3% margin of error) pierogi are complete. We tried to send some home with everyone who came to help, but I'm not sure we were successful, so if you didn't get some, let us know.

The dishes are still being washed and put away, but the house is slowly getting more under control. I think the kitchen will be completely back in order by tonight, and then it will be time for me to start planning Cookie Day 2007, which will happen next Saturday @ The Fab Kitchen. (Thanks to Fab J for donating the use of her kitchen!)

December 7, 2007

at least not on my bday

so, i called my dad last night because i had to tell someone.

i'd gotten up in the morning and a clock fell off the wall, and zoomed past me, in the bathroom, while i wasn't able to catch it. the face was glass (what? who makes glass faces on cheap-ass clocks?) and of course, shattered everywhere.

the cabinets where i installed the range hood were about 3/8 further apart at the back than they were at the front, which meant neither the backsplash nor the range hood was a perfect fit.

then at work, my best friend emailed to say his aunt died on tuesday, which is why he was wishing me a happy birthday a couple days late. no details. i knew his aunt, too, so it was a kind of a shock. i called and emailed my folks to tell them what i knew, and try to find out a little more.

the freezer? oh god, the freezer. not too heavy for one person, but... our steps slant forward, and my shoes were slick, and jack went tumbling after.

i hadnt eaten all day. i was sure nala would be upset with everything and that the freezer was broken and just everything was wrong.

"no good deed remains unpunished" my dad said.

when nala finally came home, we tried a new (fantastic) mexican place, and ate till we were stuffed. it sort of made up for the lousy way the day went.

this morning, i cleaned up the kitchen a little more, and started getting stuff put away. i'll need to vacuum, sweep and mop later, but there's a lot more room to move. i've also got to put the freezer back together and turn it on, clean the guest room, and move some stuff around.

is it wrong?

This is going to be perhaps one of the most un-American things I've said in a long time.

I sort of don't care about the writer's strike. While I hope they get what they want, I also hope that a couple things happen.

1) the glut of reality and game show television will cause viewers to tune out.
2) folks start watching more videos, if anything at all
3) people get off their asses and DO something instead of wasting 3-4 hours a day in front of the idiot box.
4) the lack of viewers causes networks to DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. I'm not certain what I want out of them, but anything other than rehashed sci-fi and bad (and I mean BAD) crime dramas has to be good.

Yes, I'm optimistic.

Are the writers for the news also on strike? You'd think, since the scripts for the morning news have been so horrendous.

December 5, 2007

it's wednesday, and you know what that means?

It means snow, more snow, and stupid drivers. Same as any other winter day.

My back hurts, between my shoulder blades, like i'm being knuckle-punched only the pain is constant. This happened the last time I got stressed out at work. UGH.

I got lunch set up for next Tuesday with my friend from college, ZW. ZW lived on my floor freshman year (and maybe sophomore year? i can't remember. i was drunk.) I hadn't seen him since the Sister lived in town and we ran into him at a Drag King show. That is, until I ran into him again a few months ago at the dentist. And then again when out for drinks with my super cool (ex) coworker and my friend MW (no relation. I gotta get better names for these folks.)

I don't remember how I met ZW, but I think it had something to do with my dad knowing his dad. Not really sure. It's an issue I may do well to avoid, since I seem to remember him cringing about it 16 years ago.

Also, I saw a photo of someone I used to date online. They looked old, pale, and skinny. I shudder to thing what's up with that. Probably drugs.

What else is new? Um. I have to swing by the store again tonight to get gravel for my truck bed (weight for winter). I'd also like to pick up a carpenter's square, and (finally) get the right bolts to fix the freezer.

I bought stamps, so Christmas cards will be done soon. I bought birthday cards for some more friends with December birthdays. The rest, I will be using vintage cards from my grandmother's stash.

I heard a rumor about a radio party on the 30th... but only that. There's another open house this weekend (Sunday? come on people, what is with you on a school night?)

Netflix is weird. I still don't understand their shipping logic, but I'm close. I should get Knocked Up today, and Oceans Thirteen on Friday, but only because OT wasnt available in my city. If I watch Crank tonight (89 minutes) I should be able to get another one by Saturday... I'm trying to decide what to move up in the queue -- a comedy, sci fi, drama or action flick.

Got Despotes a figure he needed today, and will try to ship it tomorrow. I realized I don't have tape in the office, or I'd drop it on the way home.

Oh, is anybody still watching Desperate Housewives? I want to say something so bad, but everyone tivos it and doesnt watch right away! (And, yes, Dana Delany is attractive. And so's the guy from Serenity. I can say that.)

But as I just told JK Notrowling, I was SHOCKED. I hadn't been reading anything about the show, and I missed last week's, so I had no idea what to expect.

Holy crap, this day is almost over.

December 4, 2007

grindhouse: planet terror and death proof

short review...

planet terror = awesome.
death proof = not good.

planet terror is everything you want. zombies. shit blowing up. crazy folks. machine gun/rocket launcher leg. yes, it's a gross out flick. yes, it's an zombie action movie. but it rocks. it's just fun. one liners, cheeseball ending... it's all there.

death proof. let me start by saying, fast forward to 30-45 minutes in. you don't need the unnecessary back story of 5 useless girls. you just need their deaths. then, you move on, the movie gets better, but yet not good enough to salvage the half that's wasted. you get introduced to 4 more girls, and then you get to the action, which ends on a high that's so silly and so abrupt that you're wondering where your 90 minutes went. seriously. if I had seen it in the theatre, I'd want my money back, and I generally like Tarantino flicks.

Thank god, I have Crank, which at 89 minutes shouldn't be any worse. And Knocked Up should be arriving tomorrow. Thursday, I should have either Oceans Thirteen or Doctor Who: Robot, which is the first of the Tom Baker run on the show.

parents are weird...

A few years ago, for my birthday, my dad gave me a cassette of the Blue Collar Comedy guys. I don't particularly like them, and generally find Larry the Cable Guy difficult to tolerate. I didn't have a cassette player (something my dad didn't understand) and so the tape went to some yard sale.

This year, for my birthday, my dad upgraded me to a CD of the Blue Collar Comedy guys. I had explained that I didn't really like them, but he thinks I should, so I suppose I will have to give it a listen. There may be some gem in there that could go on a mix cd.

Apart from that, they got me a gift they couldn't go wrong with -- a Target gift card. The fact that Target carries a lot of things I like, plus they are located close to work and home, makes it ideal. Hooray for them!

Next year, I'm sending them an email stating "you don't have to just get me Target cards... Lowe's works too!" (They're much closer to home than Home Depot, which factoring in $3+ gasoline makes them a better gift.)

he got wood

Last night, I drove to the West Siiiide to help Max go pick up some firewood. Turns out there's a farm store a few blocks from him, and they sell firewood by the 1/4 cord ($40). Now, that sounds like a ton of wood, but looking at it, it's really not. We loaded the truck in < 10 minutes, and that included the time to go in and pay. Once we got back to the Power Estate, it took us even less time to unload and stack at the back of his carport. It smelled wonderful, and I hope it burns just as well.

Now, while I was loading and unloading, I was recounting stories on how my family heated exclusively with wood till I was in high school, at least. "One of those pellet stoves?" someone asked me. "Fuck that, we had two woodburning stoves."

I grew up in a farmhouse, and I remember when we moved in, there was a crappy coal furnace in the basement. It heated for shit, and my dad gave up and bought a barrel wood stove. The wood stove was basically a barrel on its side with a rack on top for heating/cooking stuff and a stovepipe at one end and a door for loading/cleaning on the other. Inefficient, and not great to cook on when the power went out (which was often.) And, as I recall, a bitch to clean.

Then, not long after, we bought a second stove, which they still use today. This one was in a square box, with a removable top, which had access to two flat "burners", and a grille on the front to keep children from touching the actual stove and burning their fingers off. It had two separate doors -- one for cleaning and one for adding wood. Much better. And, thanks to a vent, it had better air flow, and even had a place for adding a blower if you wanted to actually turn it into a furnace.

Now, I was telling Max that we exclusively heated with wood. OH MY GOD did I think that sucked when I was a kid. I mean, you spent all summer cutting, splitting and stacking wood, and then all winter splitting and carrying wood. It was a never ending cycle. We had a method to it. We had special wood racks just outside the front door, which, once every few days, would have to be filled.

Now, what's amazing to me now is the amount of wood we went through in a given season (and I know it was less every year). If that was a quarter cord that we moved last night, that's about what we would go through in 4 days. Multiplied out, that's 2 cord in a month. Say you've got 5 months of winter -- 10 cords of firewood. I estimated last night that we had about 12 cord in the woodshed every year, and 3-6 cord in another shed.

I never once realized how much wood that was. And, much as I hated it then, I think I miss it a little. Splitting wood is therapeutic (ax and sledge hammer wielding, anyone?) but I'll tell ya, it's hard work. And I do not miss sweating through 4 layers of clothes and a toboggan in below-freezing temps just to gather wood to heat the house.

happiness is a warm coat

I awoke this morning to the cat jumping off the bed. Realizing it must be after 5, since Nala was gone, I jumped up to see what time it was. My phone was dead. That's why I didn't hear the alarm. Shit, what time is it? Glasses. 5:15? Hm. I needed to get up and get working, since I didn't want to be behind AGAIN on my projects. Tuesday 8am project meetings suck.

Run to the bathroom, chit chat with Nala who makes his way downstairs. Hanging on a hook in the bathroom is a new coat with a card. "Ohhhhh, Kelly Clarkson!!!" it speaks. I chuckle, and put on the coat to make sure it fits, and hang it back up.

I head downstairs, and give him a hug and a quick thank you. It's just what I needed, and fits. And it's black, which matches my new hat. I start the oven to make the last of the crescent rolls, make an emergen-c, and a pot of coffee. Nala leaves, and I bring down my laptop.

It's cold. Why is it cold? The thermostat doesnt kick up to 68 till 6am. Problem -- we get out of bed starting at 5. Solution? Change the zone to 4:30am, and the house should be much better suited to cold toes.

I check my email, munching on crescent rolls, and the hoont warms my feet. Email from my mom asks about colors for the next baby quilt, and the weather (did we have snow yet?) and if we got the new bed yet. I tell her I'm not sure yet about the colors, but I will get back to her; we barely had snow and it's going to turn muddy; and escrow sapped half the cash we had for the bed. Then I let her know that The Sister emailed, and their computer at home is dead, but she says she'll be visiting in February.

I decide on a course of action for the day, pour a cup of coffee, and realize it's 6:45. Dammit. I have to get to the post office and Goodwill today, and get some things done at the house, like checking the size of the replacement screws which go in the freezer (and measuring it to make sure it will fit down the stairs.)

I leave for work, forgetting to shut off the lights. I go back, wasting another few minutes and leaving my coworker waiting for me in the cold. He's understanding, thankfully, but I chide him on his lack of warm clothes to protect him from my delays. "Where are your gloves?" I say "weren't you just saying how your teenager doesn't know how to dress for winter?" He answers, "yeah, they're in my pockets. It's only 30, so I didn't need 'em."

Got to work on time, and managed to crank out some quick documentation before my 8am meeting, which ran short, but was complete. Things amazingly aren't behind schedule, despite my feeling that way, and I'm thankful that my coworkers pointed that out. I'm right in line with projections -- not sure how that worked out, but I'm thankful for it.

I was certain today would suck, but it hasn't so far. I'm still waiting on the badness, but enjoying the happy morning while it lasts.

December 3, 2007

Another Monday

This weather sucks. My sinuses have been bothering me the last couple weeks, and so I've had migraine-level-poke-my-eyes-out-for-it-to-stop headaches every time the weather changes dramatically, which is every other day.

I agreed to help Max move firewood tonight. I'm glad I keep gloves in the truck. I'm not glad that I don't have a "goofin around" coat.

On a better note, I feel like, despite the fact that it's still sort of a mess, I got a lot done downstairs. There's still much to do (moving boxes in from the garage), but there's a lot less to do now that I spent the time. That's what it's about -- moving forward.

Tonight, after Max's firewood, I have to swing by Lowes. The screws for the lid on the freezer went missing. Without them, the freezer is worthless.

We got the non-working appliances out of the basement, too, and by morning, they were gone from our lawn. And the moldy carpets from the garage have been cut into pieces for bulk pickup, too. The only thing better would be to get the freezer moved, and the boxes cleared from the garage, and the garage attic emptied into my truck and delivered to the dump.

Yeah. I need like a week off. Seriously.

I got an email from the sis, from work. Their home computer is dead, again, and so that's her only way to contact me via email. She wished me a happy birthday, and said she hopes to see me next year.

I hope I get to see her when she's in town. There's no substituting the Sister.

Hm. Now THERE's another Time Lord name... you have The Rani, The Master, The Doctor, and The Monk... why not The Sister? Bald with a myriad of head scarves and hats as her gimmick. I'll have to tell her that -- she might find that funny, being into Who and all.