Wednesday, October 31, 2007
I think all of that girly stuff - dressing him up in pink, painting his toenails (no, I'm not kidding), and getting him a foo-foo collar - had an effect on him. He's now a metro cat, if you want the truth of it. Anyway, he has this thing he does where he whines when he wants out, and will only accept Red letting him out. If I go downstairs to the front door to let him out he runs away.
My friend, The Bike Owner (and commenter here if you've been paying attention), refers to people doing that sort of whining thing as saying "Snarf, Snarf", and if you're at all familiar with the Thundercats cartoon from the 80's, you'll get the joke. If not, well, here is Snarf.
The funny thing is, of all of the cats, Prince looks the most like Snarf.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
First up, one of my new favorites: New Belgium Brewery's "1554"
This ale is really, really good, probably the best dark ale I've found since Guinness changed the formula for their brew. It's very smooth, doesn't have a sharp aftertaste like a lot of porters do, and isn't bitter in the least. In short, I like it a lot. It's got an almost chocolately finish that reminds me quite a bit of the seasonal late fall brews that one finds from the micro-breweries out here in Oregon, only they make it year-round, and goes with just about anything you care to pair it with (had some yesterday with Red's corned beef & cabbage....HEAVEN).
As a matter of fact, I think I'll have another.
I've been asked about this a lot - why I don't particularly enjoy the holiday season, why my response to a lot of the hooplah surrounding holidays is "Bah! Humbug!", and why I tend to get a bit cranky around the holidays. It's hard to explain.
I guess for some people, the holiday season starting around Labor Day kicks off a time of fellowship, getting together with family, enjoying fall-time parties, and whatnot. I don't associate the "holiday season" with most of that. I'm not denying it's there, and I enjoy it as much as the next guy when it crosses my path, but when I think of the holidays, that's not the first thing that comes to mind. I've been asked if something traumatic happened to me as a child at the holidays - no, my life doesn't parallel the middle of Gremlins, and I've never had somebody keel over dead over the Thanksgiving turkey. There was one particular incident when I was 18 that has stuck with me involving a 13 hour drive to visit relatives and being thrown out of the house the next morning, to spend another 13 hours driving on icy roads to get home at Christmas; maybe that incident has something to do with it. Who knows.
See, the thing is, holidays have all of this big build-up. I can understand it about Christmas/Hannukah, I suppose, since there is loot involved, but come on, do we really need to start seeing the displays for the stuff in October???? Anyway, the build-up nearly always means a letdown for somebody, and that's where I start having a problem. There's always somebody around with stars in their eyes about What It All Means, and that person nearly always gets their dreams utterly crushed at some point. I don't particularly enjoy watching that.
There are reliable studies that show a predictable and regular surge in crime rates in certain times of year, particularly around the holiday season - the studies I found are from the early 90's, but I doubt things are particularly different today. And that's just the stuff that comes to the attention of the police. Maybe that's just because human beings tend to be a violent lot, or maybe it's because we're genetically wired to off ourselves every so often, who knows. What I do know, though, is that families that get together have a tendency to fight either right before, right after, or during holiday get togethers. That one, immutable, unchanging fact turns me right off of all of it.
Don't get me wrong here - I absolutely love watching the kids opening presents on Christmas morning, and I love sitting down to a turkey dinner at Thanksgiving more than any other meal all year long. It's the insidious combination of false cheer (but you have to be happy, it's Christmas! makes no sense to me at all), spoken or unspoken expectations of the people around you (ie. comparisons of gifts....that is offensive to me on levels I can't begin to describe), and the commercialization of all of this desperate rush to glee that I despise to the depths of my soul.
Oh, and Christmas muzak. I don't like most Christmas music in general, but the muzak version of it is what they play in hell for the really bad sinners, I'm certain of it.
Monday, October 29, 2007
What kills me about this is that there's an elementary school directly across the intersection from where this happened, as well as three or four good-sized apartment complexes with lots of kids within a short walking distance. As a matter of fact, although I no longer live there, I used to live less than 500 yards from that intersection.
On a related note of interest, the Oregon State Police maintain an active registry of all predatory sex offenders in Oregon. I keep a close eye on it - there's only one living within a mile of me or either of the schools my girls go to, and he's quite some distance from us.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
First off, the show is about ghosts, haunted places, etc. Okay, fine, I can deal with that - what irritates the hell out of me, though, is the assumption that I as the viewer am going to go along with the notion that this is an opinion-neutral show. It's plainly trying to convince me that this place is really really haunted and presents all sorts of evidence in the form of rhetorical questions about whether or not it could be true.
What irritates me the most about that is that it's fundamentally dishonest entertainment masquerading as a documentary, much like watching most mainstream news programs come to think of it.
The other thing that annoys me a lot about this show is a narrating convention I see from time to time in actual real documentaries. For some reason, it often seems that the primary offenders are British historians, or to be fair, historians with a British accent. I love the British, but their historians need to just knock this off.
When you're talking about something that happened in the past, the correct way to refer to it is in PAST TENSE. Referring to a sequence of events that happened six hundred years ago in sequential order, in present tense may perhaps be gramatically correct, however, when one is contrasting that with current events, not only is it incorrect, it's often confusing. Determining cause and effect when the narrative is temporally neutral is something that these people should not be asking me to do on my day off.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
1. How do you like your eggs cooked? Any special ingredients?
I like my eggs in one of three ways.
--Scrambled hard, with cheese and herbs mixed in (much akin to Kate's way of fixing it, sans the cream since I can't eat it).
--Mixed in with corned beef hash and pan-fried potatoes, and plenty of tobasco, OR mixed in with a really good, fresh chorizo and lime. Either way, eat with a tortilla.
--Omelettes, with a variety of things in them, are one of my utmost favorite things. Chili, cheese, veggies, or even fruit are all excellent things to add to an omelette. The thing is, though, the omelette has to be juuuuust right or not only is it not good to eat, it is highly nasty.
2. What's your favorite cold sandwich, made on two pieces of bread?
Hands down, that's gotta be the one made with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, with cranberry sauce, dijon or brown mustard, bean sprouts, provolone, mayo, and whatever else I can come up with at short notice. I particularly like that on a really dark Russian rye bread, but that's me.
3. What is your favorite pie?
If I'm eating in a restaurant, that's going to be lemon meringue, any time.
If I'm eating at home, honestly, it's a toss-up. Red makes pumpkin pie around this time of year that is to die for, and I've eaten enough of it in one sitting that I thought that might actually happen. The one my family goes for, though, and one that actually got me threatened with bodily injury if I ever brought it again, is Tollhouse Pie. (Note: fair warning - it is physically impossible to eat small portions of this pie. If you are trying to lose weight, don't make it.)
1/2 C butter, melted
1 C white sugar
1 C brown sugar, packed solid
1 t salt
2 eggs, beaten until submissive
16 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 t vanilla
Optional - any one of the following:
1 shot of spiced rum
Substitute half of the chocolate chips for cinnamon or mint chips - butterscotch is not recommended unless you have a sweet tooth that knows no limits.
Walnuts (I don't add them, as I think they're icky) or another nut you like, such as hazelnuts.
Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Preheat oven to 375F. Pour into two unbaked 9" pie shells - I make my own crust, but, again, that's me. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
4. Name one food you refuse to eat and why.
Anything with more limbs than me, because they're gross and fit into the general category of "bugs", whether they live in the ocean or not.
5. What's the name of your favorite restaurant, and is it small or part of a chain?
Given that I have a number of food allergies that restrict what I can eat, saying I have a favorite restaurant is impossible. I generally like authentic Mexican and Italian food because they generally aren't heavily based in dairy or nuts, which I have a real problem with. I can usually find something to eat at a steakhouse or a seafoood restaurant, and I often enjoy eating in such places. In general, though, uncomplicated food fixed by people who genuinely love to cook from things I can eat will win me over every time, and that usually leaves the big chains out of the running for first place.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Okay, I'll admit, I have a thing for long curly red hair. She knows it, too....I said something about shaving my beard a year or two ago, and she looked over at me and said, "You do, and I'll cut off my hair." I was horrified.
Anyway, long curly red hair with blond highlights. Looks good, baby.
Yes, that's three links to the same blog, but if you don't read em all, you won't get the joke....and if you don't want to get the joke, you may bite me, because it is teh funneee.
Monday, October 22, 2007
So I went to take Small Friend and our youngest with me back up to Portland. Along the way, I did some minor maintenance and whatnot, putting fluids in where they were low. I got as far as just between the interchange with Highway 217, and -=bam=- serious overheating, like smoke coming from under the hood overheating. I got it off to the median side of the road, where conveniently ODOT had coned off the inside lane (plenty of shoulder space too, which is a rarity in Portland in most places).
And there we sat. A couple of friends of mine came and rescued us, but we didn't end up getting outta there until after the tow truck left at around midnight with my car. I'm missing work today so I can go fix my car (I hope) or deal with it in some other way. We'll see.
Anyway, the point of this post was that I spent several hours in a car on the side of the freeway with two little girls, and guess what the main source of humor was?
I love kids.
Replacing the water pump. Hopefully that's all it'll need, but as of right now there's no way to know. Waiting....
Edit (later still):
The news is good - water pump replaced, and it's going to need a new radiator and hoses at some point in the near future. Also had to replace a tire, unfortunately, but it was about to go kablooey, and I have had quite enough of that lately.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
I'm not sure when that changed, but it may have something to do with the pitter patter of little feet around the place I call home. Becoming an insta-stepdad has changed a lot of other things, so I suppose it's logical enough that that'd change too. (It's amazing - I can sleep through an earthquake, but not the sound of a 5-yr-old's feet on carpeted stairs at 3 am....)
This morning, the alarm went off as it usually does, and I think it must have gotten set to an earlier time. I laid in bed dozing for a few minutes and then at some point realized that I needed to get my sorry carcass out of bed and into the shower or I'd be late for work. It was at that point that I realized the time was a quarter-to-the-hour. I rushed thru my morning routine, skipped shaving and breakfast, and made it to work by 15 minutes after the hour (impressive when you consider I have a 20-minute commute). I came bustling in, convinced I was late to work and would have to take a shorter lunch than usual and barely registering the fact that the parking lot was emptier than usual.
It was when the first of several coworkers looked at me, quizzically asking, "Why are you here so early?" that I realized it was 6:15 AM.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I haven't blogged about it before, but the owner of the house nextdoor was something of an ass. Last winter, one of my roof drainage downspouts came loose during a rainstorm, and the resulting cascade of water did a truly awesome job of excavating a swath out of the bank between his property and mine - his is about 10' vertically lower because we're on a hill. He took it upon himself to dig replacement dirt from underneath my porch to replace it. Much arguement and finger-pointing ensued. It was not a good time had by anybody.
So he sold the place, and the team of renovating owners are now in the process of replacing carpet, painting, and whatnot. I'd applaud this if but for one item....they evidently have day jobs and are doing this at night during the week, and while I enjoy music as much as the next guy, their choice leaves a lot to be desired in both genre and volume. This brings me back to the back massage I'm currently enjoying. Sort of.
There is something basically wrong with the idea that a central weight-bearing wall running down roughly the middle of my house, over 100' away, could be receiving enough sound energy to have a discernable vibration, much less one that feels much like being pummeled by epileptic squirrels. I've chosen not to involve the police at this time, however...these guys have no idea what they're messing with in this neighborhood. One of these days I'll have to post something about the retired lady on the corner who typically does yardwork in knee-high rubber boots and a fuzzy nightgown.
I am feeling Kate's pain with the whole neighbor thing.
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I think Rachel is spot-on - Americans have gotten so used to per-person portions that would feed a family of four for a week in other parts of the world, that we've lost sight of how truly fortunate we are to live in this country.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I suppose the converse of this is telling one's management that a planned course of action will result in nothing good, seeing it disastrously and spectacularly go awry (in precisely the fashion objected to initially), and just smiling every time it's brought up. I've been fortunate enough to do that a couple of times in the past, and I suppose I'll go to hell for it.
Oh well. Hopefully it's worth it.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
My wonderful Red had to spend a portion of yesterday working on her business....not a problem, all things considered. I got several uninterrupted hours to play my video game, and since that's a rarity, it was quite nice.
Then the Billy Joel concert tickets showed up. Did I mention I love Billy Joel, and that I've never seen him in concert? I'm stoked, even if I have to wait till the end of next month. :)
Then my friend the bike owner turned up here, around 8:30 or so (see my last photo-post - the motorcycle Julie is sitting on is his), and he and Red and I went to Presley's Playhouse. They poured a shot of Glenlivet and a pint or three of Guinness into me, and got me a private lapdance from Presley herself. I'm no connoisseur of lapdancing....actually, this was the first one I've received for myself, but I have to say it was, "Impressive....most impressive," as Darth Vader says. Red refers to it as "intoxicating", but I think that's the booze talking, whether she had more to drink than me or not. :)
After that, we went to see a local band from the Willamette Valley called Quandry. A lot of local bands come and go - I hope these guys make it, they were excellent live.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Nicole, very bright sunny day; 1/500s @ f/10, ISO 400, 90mm using a 70-300mm lens.
Anyway, sunshine and happiness will now resume. The Current State Of Things is as follows:
1) Yesterday was my birthday; please ignore any silly stories about something some Italian guy did several hundred years ago, since the important event for October 12 was in 1972.
2) Red's new business is proceeding apace....I'll have to devote a shameless promoting post to it soon.
3) I have new pictures. More on that later.
-=post interrupted by birthday celebratory debauchery=-