Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Genius, and a meme!

Heard this tune on the radio this morning driving into work. Yes kids, it's a zombie song, set in corporate-speak.

I love WKNC for playing it, and Jonathan Coulton for writing and performing it. Genius!


A little bittago at Pseudotherapy (oh, last week I guess), a meme was created just for Hallowe'en. I've never seen the birth of a meme before, and was so caught up in the beauty and majesty of the moment that I agreed to participate innit. Oh foolish hormones, that swell my heart with hope and my fingers with promises I only later have chance to second-guess, how you do me wrong....

And yet.

I will do this thing, for it seems fun and involves some of you, my fellow bloggers, and is a neat game in which you can guess who I'm talking about in each haiku below.

Yes, haiku. Shut up.

See, the deal is that I give you a list of bloggers who I MIGHT be haiku-ing about, and then you guess which haiku belongs to whom. Oh, it didn't HAVE to be haiku, but because I'm not one to take an easy task and run with it, I fluffed up the difficulty points a little by starting to THINK about each possible victim in haiku, because haiku was mentioned once in the instructions, and the thought stuck, and now I'm all 5-7-5 and can't get it out of my head.

So here we go with the list of potential haikuicides:

1) Tammie
2) Biff Spiffy
3) Wordnerd
4) Paul
5) TracyLynn
6) Utenzi
7) Renn
8) Kingfisher

And the haiku for each.

A) Curmudgeon for sure
yet admittedly he is
a lover as well

B) Trivia play now
wear purple and yellow too
most wonderful friend

C) Once rode a gas tank
albatross is now the word
please come back, OK?

D) No forks you morons
Fling the spoon with ninja skill
Hide now Los Gatos!

E) Gentlewoman, ha!
"Pocket full of bite me" is
The best line ever

F) Hiding from the world
The world comes to seek out the
wisdom of his heart

G) Baseball and whipped cream
running naked through the house
old folks are a pain

H) Hiking and kayaks
busy as a bee unless
something's on teevee

WHEW! My haikuamater was getting worn out there, so I'm glad THAT'S over with.

Match 'em up, letters to numbers, and leave your guesses in the comments.


Happy Hallowe'en, y'all. May the ghosts of seasons past haunt you well, and may the Hallowe'en goblins fill your buckets with only top-drawer candy.

If you don't want your Smarties, I'll take 'em.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tears and posts do not mix

Dr. Syn, formerly the Buerger King, formerly Blitz Krieg, has died.

I can't see through the tears to type.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Quick! To the Batty Cave!


Dr. Syn needs your prayers, now more than ever. If you're not the praying kind, then just THINK about him in a positive way, or observe some moment of focus on him and his family.

Seriously people, he's one of our own. Just do it. You'd want people doing it for YOU if you needed it, right?

Right. Now get cracking. Come back here when you're done.


Changing topic and tempo now....

Anybody know where I can get a couple of Imperial Storm Trooper costumes, quick? And cheap?

Hallowe'en - Bah, BumHug!


I'm feeling a little "tricky" today, so instead of handing out candy for Hallowe'en, I offer this little greeting to all my interwebs friends.

Stomp the Poo!



The TUNG brush.

Not only does it work, but their website is really cute. Obviously, it's marketed to younger folks than me (but the black lipstick looks cool); but us old farts can have funky gunky tongues too what as need proper cleaning.

Dudes, really - it's about 2 bucks and works like a total charm. I didn't think it would make much of a difference, but i was so very very wrong. Yeah, I know, now you're thinking "good Lord Tiff, you must have had some nasty-ass breath on you!" and you'd be right.

TMI? So what. The PACKS of gum I was chewing to keep the mouth fresh, the gross morning breath, the whitish cast to the ol' oral orifice's big muscle all pointed me toward investigation of a possible aid to a cleaner mouth, and this sucker has is it.

Plus which, I'm not all gaggy when I use it, which rocks.

Try it yourself. I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed.


Also? Stridex extra strength pads for adult acne - totally worth the few bucks investment.

I can now wear lower-cut shirts without being embarrassed by the bumpy chestal area (and no, I'm talking about my BOOBS, y'all).


Lastly - Deer are quick. Very quick.

Thank goodness, because the one that was five feet from crashing full force into the front bumper of my car this morning very quickly decided to go the other way, thereby avoiding becoming the next victim of Tinkerbell, who has tasted blood once before and found it good.

She is a delicate flower in appearance only, is my Tinkerbell.

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's genetic, plus random acts of tangentitude and headlines

This morning Thing 2 was telling a quick story about a little interchange he had the other day. Seems that the Things were hanging out in the car while their Dad was purchasing some adult beverage in the alphabet store, and a woman from the next car over was a tad confused about how to get in the store to procure some potable of her own.

(author's note: methinks she maybe might not have needed more of the spiritous liquors, but who am I to judge?)

The nice/confused/possibly semi-drunk lady asked out loud "How do I get in this place?" and my darling younger son, knowing full well that the driver's side window (right next to where she was admitting her confusion) said "well, ya
could try the door!"

So, she did.

I am very proud of Thing 2 for combining helpiness with a generous helping of snark.

It must here be mentioned that Thing 1 was was very busy "shushing" his brother during this exchange, not realizing that Thing 2 KNEW the window was open and the ditz from next door could hear it.

How two such different children came from the same set of parents, I'll never know.


So, my little rant about water use the other day must have worked its way into the ears of whatever almighty power it takes to rain, for ever since that day it's been raining.

And as sure as gravity keeps us on this planet, there are total doofmeisters out there who are now using water at a furious clip, revelling in the "end" of the drought, believing that one rain makes a reservoir.

To those people I'd like to say this:

It ain't over. This tiny serving of moisture didn't fill up the lake. We are still dry, even though your windshield wipers are getting a workout lately. Dudes, just check out the graphical representation of the extent of the drought in North Carolina as of yesterday:

Colors represent percentiles of general 7-day average streamflow conditions for the day of the year

It's not over, people. Not by a long shot. A good chunk of this state is dry as the mouth of a stoner three tokes in. It's going to take a lot more than a few days' rain to turn on the taps to anywhere near full force again.

So, to do my part, I'm willing the clouds to stay overhead by repeating the message that might have precipitated the precipitation in the first place, if I can be so precipitous in my prevarication as to suggest I had any role whatsoever in precipitating the rain.

Sure wish I could have worked the word "precipice" in that last sentence somewhere.


Oh dear. It's Friday, and other than the weekly infusion of baked goods here in the office, it's also somewhat of a tradition to offer up some news headlines here at NAY.

So, here goes!

Iraqis try to defuse tension with Turkey

Come to Mohammed's Turkey Bar, where the fuse of your your tension will be snuffed once you've tasted our fried turkey legs! Not a fan of fried foods? Then try our turkey tapas, tiny bits of tryptophan guaranteed to soothe your savage breast.

Can we say breast? Oh Allah, here come the cops! Grab the gobblers and RUN FOR IT!

Pair get hitched at Ohio haunted house

Clip and Clop the Cyldesdales were strapped into the buggy rigging successfully, despite the playful poltergeists who kept undoing the buckles.

Evacuees return to ashes, uncertainty

Beats turning into a pillar of salt, I guess.

Edwards raps Clinton, Romney on Iran

(oh dear lord, here comes another "white girl rapping" thing...sorry folks, I can't help myself)

I say I say I say, yo
I say I say I say, yo

Some call me chickenhawk
and I got that
some say I'm just chicken
yo that ain't phat
I'm a rootin' tootin' guster of a charming southern lad
tellin' Clinton and the ball glove that their take on Iran's BAD

I say I say I say, YO
I say I say I say YO

They're all for blowing
The burkas offa women
They're all for showin'
The bombs that we be givin'
I'm against the rampant pandering to the GOP TRIBE
Tellin' Clinton and the ball glove to get the Demmo VIBE

No war, No war, No war, YO!
No war, No war, No war, YO!

I say, y'all, come ovah heyah
Let this chickenhawk whisper
In your ambition-stuffed ear
No war, No war, No war, YO!
No war, No war, No war, YO!


Have a terrific Friday and a wonderful weekend, y'all. I am owt!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Today I am two

For it is my blogversary.

A mere two years ago I stepped out into the blogosphere, naked and wet from a most precipitous birth, and shouted into the darkness.

For a while it was cold and lonely. For a while it was dark beyond want. Then, one day, it was not.

Somebody heard me. Somebody called back, a soft echo against the walls of isolation. And something broke open a little. The crack let in a finger of light, then a degree of warmth, it slowly expanded, and today I can stand in the glow of a small sun of friends.

Two mere years. Enough for a child to be born and to learn to walk and talk, but not to reason. This little blog walks around, talks a lot, but in all likelihood, still needs to learn to reason (if, indeed, reason is a thing worth striving for).

My grateful warm thanks to all who come here, read, comment, and grow right along here with me. You are wonderful, and I count you as friends.

Today, I am two. Give me a present, please, and let me know you were here by leaving a comment. If you do, I'll return the favor. I promise!


Let's veer off topic, as is the regular custom at NAY:

Word porn HAS GOT to make a comeback here, for a most wonderful word was passed out recently that tickles my fancy....


What does it mean?
And how would YOU pronounce it?

It's here, and here, and here as well, but the most straightforward explanation of this most excellent word is here. Yes, Tiff, there IS a word for what you are, and it is obscure and wonderful.

Ours is indeed a language of wonder, isn't it? It is a tremendous burden, and a marvelous gift.

Lexiphanes, indeed.

I wonder if a haiku has ever featured that word?


Oh, there were other things for today too. Regular things, without the big scary words. Normal things, all, but they were subsumed under the spell of Shadofax and a good dinner, and so the large ponderous words come forth like badgers in the night air, like blue whales breaching, like a bubble of steam from the middle of the earth through a sulfur vent. Take what metaphor you will, what ever suits your mood.

Mine is expansive.

Chicken breast and spiced lentils for dinner, followed up with maple cookies and a tall glass of milk, will do that to a person.


Go to Dr Syn and tell him you're thinking of him, won't you? He's got a lot to deal with, and the thoughts of friends could make his dealings a tad easier.


When you're done with that, go see what the wordsmiths have cooked up, and drag out all the bones of past frights to spin a tale of woebetides....


That's it folks! I'm off to happy a happy blogversary, for today I am two, and it's my daggone party! Wheeeee!! Have a great day.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Supersize it Today! Bleary Kermit

The title of this post is the subject line of an e-mail that got plopped into my spam box this morning. It made me giggle.

Poor bleary Kermit. I wonder what he's been doing that made him so muzzy and muddled?

Ah, that would explain it. Kermie's feeling down. He's feeling blue over being green, perhaps? Having to spend each day the color of the trees has got to be exhausting, don't you think? I do. Therefore, it's only natural that he "supersize" his life, as my spammy friend suggested.

Or, perhaps, Kermie's tired of other people not being green.

I can think of about 1 half a million reasons why he'd get tired and depressed, and they're all living right here in the Triangle.

(awesome segue about to happen in 3.....2......1.......)

Yeah, being green isn't what folks around here are all about. It's a bummer, and not just for our froggie little friend. Why, I'd go so far as to say that supersizing is so very NOT the answer that it might just be the PROBLEM.

(See? THAT'S how to bash a transition over the head and bend it to your will!)

Yes, the drought is still on. And NO, that doesn't mean that people are paying attention. The lake, our resevoir, is drying up. There is grass growing where bass and trout should be swimming, and where our frog buddies should be plopping into the shallows with a small wet "plunk" as kayakers paddle the shoreline. There are tree stumps 4 feet tall sticking out of the dry lakebed that were once covered with water.

We're going very dry here people, and yet I can see lawn sprinklers going on the way to work. The car washes are still doing a brisk business. The construction crews are still spraying down the roads.

LAWN sprinkers! CAR washes! Don't these people know we're in trouble here? Can't they see the great clouds of DUST being raised at the myriad of construction sites around this area? Don't they read the paper, listen to the radio, watch the news, open their eyes to see that this state, and several others in the Southeast, are dessicating?

Do they even know what dessicatingmeans? Have they seen it happen? Do they know that each gallon of water they waste is a gallon they can't get back in two months? Do they know that every time they turn on that tap they're letting something go that might NOT come back? Do they think that maybe, this once, the winter rains WON'T come?

What about that?

Some of us are doing something about the drought, and have been for some time. We can't NOT use water, but we sure can use less of it.

  • Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth. One quart saved.
  • Turn off the tap when you wash dishes. A gallon (very likely MORE) saved.
  • Do laundry only when you've got a full load. 10 or more gallons saved.
  • Take a shorter shower, install a low-flow shower head. 2 gallons or more a MINUTE saved.

Let's take stock here. Me, as just one person, can save oh, about 12 gallons of water a DAY by doing these few simple things. Multiply that by the 500,000 people who live in this area and depend on the municipal water supply, and you've got a 6 million gallon a day savings.

But will this help? I have my doubts. Check out this snippet, published in AUGUST, from the local paper:

RALEIGH - Despite mandatory restrictions, Raleigh's water use has soared this month, setting three all-time daily highs.

The use directly correlates with recording-breaking temperatures. Still, the numbers startled city officials, because use spiked when only half of their water customers should have been watering their lawns, which officials think accounts for as much as 20 percent of total water consumption.

And from a slightly more recent story (published 12 Oct):

In response to the ever-lengthening drought, the city of Raleigh has targeted homeowners almost exclusively, restricting when and how often they can water lawns, wash cars and scrub their siding. Homeowners use about 70 percent of Raleigh's water.

Meanwhile, businesses and people who have new homes, lawns or landscaping and buy a $50 permit can carry on as usual. The city has issued more than 700 such permits since August, including 84 luxury homes on display in this year's Parade of Homes tour.

In Durham, the city issues water-use licenses, but only if a business or organization can show that it will reduce overall water use by 30 percent. Cary's water system offers free new-lawn permits that exempt a customer from water restrictions for three weeks. Cary has no restrictions on commercial water use.

PARDON? No restrictions on commercial water use? Homeowners being able to buy "passes" to water their lawns? WTH is the city going to do with all that money when the water runs OUT? Mulch it and tell people to scatter it on their YARDS to keep it green? Why are car dealerships still washing cars? Why do people still care about having a green lawn? Why are cities allowing this kind of tremendous waste to occur in this time of DIRE DROUGHT?

To make this personal: How can my pitiful 12 gallons a day of savings stand up to this opened vein of foolishness?

It's mind-boggling, it's sickening, it's frustrating, and it's irritating. Every single time I see a sprinkler going full blast I grit my teeth. It's an obvious single-finger salute to the rest of us, the small folk who are collecting shower runoff to water plants, the ones who are turning off the taps while we scrub our teeth or dishes, thoe ones who are taking shorter showers, worrying about the future, trying to steward this region of dunderheads into the next rainy season.

IF the rainy season comes. It might not get here on time, you know. Why, in 1945, there was no rain of significance until February. February! February is a month after Falls Lake, our reservoir, is slated to dry out.

Who going to save the water supply once there's no water to save? My 12 gallons a day will seem like liquid gold then, I'm sure.

No wonder Kermit is bleary.

Or is he just drying out?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Well now! Imagine that!

What Your Hands Say About You

You are artistic, intuitive, and inspired. You have good people skills.

What's not to like about this quiz? I LOVE this quiz!

Bold and daring, you're not afraid to change your life if you think it needs an overhaul.

Read back a few months and see for yourselves! Yep - the quiz rawks.

Brainy and intelligent, you are intellectual to the point of being incomprehensible.

Word porn, anyone? I'm still liking the quiz.

Your emotions tend to be relaxed and uncomplicated. You don't read too much into things.

Relaxed to the point of unconsciousness, if necessary. Seriously! I LOVE this quiz!

What about y'all?

Chicken Soup!

Wouldn't that taste good right about now? Some hot, luscious, soul-satisfying chicken soup?

Well, wait no longer, for rather than heating up some glutinous mass of over-salted under-meated chicken goo from a red can, you can make it your self and bask in the glow of a job well done in under 40 minutes.

Here's how.

You will need the following (to serve 4 hungry people):

2 chicken breasts onna bone (please feel free to leave the skin on if you'd like, or take the skin offa one, or flay the both of them if you're really health conscious)

2 medium onions
2 small zucchini

2 carrots

1/2 bottle of white wine. or the equivalent amount of chicken stock (2 cups)

3 cups of water

2 TBSP flour

S&P to taste

Place the chicken skin side down in a stockpot over medium heat. Brown slightly.

Dice onion and carrot, place in pot to sautee alongside the browning chicken.

Pour in wine/stock, let sizzle satisfyingly.

Breathe in yummy-smelling steam.

Dice up zucchini, add to pot, pour 2 cups water over all, cover, and boil for 10 minutes or until chicken is done.

Lift out breasts, pick meat from bone and return meat to pot.

Throw away bones.

Season to taste with S&P.

Mix flour with remaining cup of water, drizzle into boiling soup while stirring.

Cook for two minutes to thicken stock.


Y'all, this took me about a half an hour to do last night. SO much better than the crap from a can that doses you up with all your recommended daily allowance of salt and fat. It's slightly thick, has terrific mouthfeel, is PACKED with veg and good protein, and makes your house smell like somebody loves you.

Really now - who doesn't want THAT?


Pumpkin carving? Use a jigsaw.

No, not the PUZZLE, you sillies, the tool!

Seriously. First off, it's guaranteed to get the guys to the carving table, for the lure of the power tool is too strong for even the most hearty of men, and who doesn't want all the help they can get for this yearly exercise; and second, the punkins turn out fabulously.


How do you know if a cat loves you? I think Albert has a crush on me, but don't know how to tell if it's love or if he's just got itchy ears.Dude is after me ALL the time to pet him.

You input is welcomed, and have a great day.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wait - what?

Gah! It's noon already - how did THAT happen?

Anybody else think that October is flying by so very quickly that it seems like September was just last week? It's the 22nd, y'all and I'm here to tell you that I am in NO way ready for November. Is Hallowe'en REALLY next week? How can that be?

Oh, wait....the Christmas decorations are up in the Home Depot, so yeah, it must be Hallowe'en. Or Labor Day.

Days are flying by too. What I think can be done in 4 hours takes 8 or more. What I have planned to accomplish gets swallowed up in process, in details, in snafus, in procrastination, in socializing or a short attention span. This is not fair.

It used to take AGES for a week to go by. Summer vacations lasted forever. A year was an eternity. Now, though, weeks seem to zip past in a blur of what's undone.....and it's only when evaluated in retrospect do I get a sense of time, of accomplishment, of resonance.

Weird. Like the moments that make up my life are speeding by so fast I can only experience them in memory.

And I have really crappy memory.

Sigh. Best to enjoy each moment then, right?


Also - fall disappeared on me. It's back to summer again. This confuses me!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Am I old enough to fuddy-duddy?

Just curious - how many adult toys do you own? I've been reading some bloggers lately that make me feel like a TOTAL slacker in this department. It's clear that there's a rich panoply of options available to us for our private escapdes. Do YOU utilize it?

I do believe I'm nearing an age at which "fuddy-duddy" will become a verb, for I had a moment of "tsk" at the thought of owning more than, say, TWO marital aids, and yet I now am thinking that my inner curmudgeon needs to loosen up and get a life before life is over and it's missed out on all the fun.

You may have noticed that I speak of my inner voices in the third person. It's a coping mechanism.

Ennywhoo, let's get to the headlines before my train of thought runs right of the tracks, shall we? Yes, yes we shall.

Why Males Die Before Females

Something about meopausal rage, I'm guessing?

SAfrica reggae star Lucky Dube shot dead

Sometimes the headlines write themselves.

Swearing at work boosts team spirt, morale: research

HELLS YES! HOT DAMN! About Freaking Time, you buncha gobsmacked wankers!! Sheeyit!

Psychiatrist: Faked pregnancy was a ruse

Un, eeeeyeah. Thanks Doc for the blinding insight. Jeez.

US sex fugitive returned from Hong Kong

A fugitive from SEX? Is that what they're saying here? Somebody didn't want sex and now they're being forcibly returned to the United States? For what? To HAVE sex?

This makes no sense, and yet, I refuse to read further, because it might well be an unpleasant story, and I can't have that rolling around in my head on this lovely Friday.

McCain, Romney woo social conservatives

An out-of-control pair of Presidential candidates were seen on tape shouting "Woo!" and flashing peace-out signs while drunekenly wobbling on stage during a wet tee shirt contest at the social conservatives convention in Las Vegas this past weekend.

The social liberals were off having tea and scones, and missed the whole thing.

FDA to warn Viagra users of hearing loss

Sudden hearing loss may occur in men who use Viagra and other anti-impotence drugs. Researchers say it's usually unilateral. Most men affected say the last thing they heard was "Oh my GOD, YES!!"


With that, my dears, I will leave you. Have a wonderful day and a smashing weekend. I'm OUT!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

So I'm NOT the only one

(Courtesy of Q)

Once again, Scott Adams has lifted the veil on my life, exposing it to all and sundry. That voyeur.


What's the most expensive corn?

Pirate corn! It costs a buck an ear!


I don't know any ninja jokes.



When your day starts by HAVING to buy a plunger and clean up dog barf, you KNOW it can only get better from there. At least this is what I am hoping.


Oh, and because this is such an oddrush day, and I don't have time for a reg'lar post (quit cheering!), I invite you to peruse this month's writing prompt over at Wordsmiths Unlimited. and commence to thinking on how your story is going to go.

After yesterday's talk of the creepy, you can guess how very much I love it. October rocks!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Oh! I'm all shivery with anticipation

This link brought to you by Rennratt, who shares my love of the geekly biumverate of Tim Burton and Danny Elfman

The Nightmare Before Christmas, in 3D!

The very first beats of that music, the very first flickers of image, and a lovely chill runs up my spine. I heart this movie in a way the previously was reserved for only "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." The Old One, with the Grunka-Lunka precursors.

Obviously, I'm a lover of creepy things.

Yes I am. Why, I even sat through all of "Eraserhead" just to see if there was a point. (there was not, to my way of thinking, but I still envy his hairstyle)

And yet, there is a limit.

My love for creepy is truly only for certain kinds of creepy. I like pretend creepy, art-creepy, possible creepy, not REAL creepy.

For example: I do not like the creepy that is leathery old toothless men with wandering eyes and breath that smells of tangerines who spend their time on street corners hoping for a strong breeze to blow up the skirts of the girl office workers and who might also secretly have human body parts hidden in their second freezer in the garage that they visit every night and gently stroke while humming "We are the Champions" in the wrong key.

For another example: this.

Creepy, right?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In which I equinealize software, and wax poetic.

It was a cool morning, perfect for snuggling in for another hour’s sleep beneath flannel sheets and a lofty quilt. The dark of 6 a.m. gave way to the twilight of 7 a.m., then the gray dusk of 8, by which time there were pancakes being made, sausages frying, and tousled-headed boys lounging with a cup of homemade hot chocolate in their hands and bellies.

By 8 a.m., the dogs had been out for a run, the cat had been fed, dishes had been washed, a few e-mails exchanged, coffee made and quaffed, hugs given.

On a “regular” day, by 8 a.m. I’d be well on my way to work, joining the throngs of other commuters hurtling down any available road toward their place of employment; just another worker bee waggling my tail in a dance of fiduciary responsibility. By 8 a.m. in a regular day the boys would already be in school, one in class at the elementary and one milling about the hallways in the pre-teen give and take that is the middle.

But it’s not a regular day. It is, rather, track out week three, and the Things are here with me after a week at the beach. We are different during track out. Our pace is relaxed, languid, casual. Wake up at 7 instead of 6. Cook breakfast instead of throwing a bowl of cereal down the chute. No lunches to pack, no snacks to remember. No homework. No projects. No instruments to lug around. No library books to return. No alarm for them, and an ignored alarm for me.

We can hear the birds that come out to sing at 9. We can see the school buses that wander a long stitch through our neighborhood, gathering up children who attend “traditional” school. We can experience the silence that comes after the morning hustle, the subtle relaxing of time after the everything of the morning is accomplished.

It is most certainly not a regular day. It is even better than a weekend day, because we are not of the world of the rush and bustle of morning. We are beyond that, we are the vacationers at home, the layabouts, the idle middle class, and it is sweet.

Man I love this year-round school thing.

Alas, even though I could work at home and let the Things run their merry course through whatever this cool gray day might bring, I need to pack us all up and journey to the office, for I did a foolish thing to my computer the other day that only my friendly neighborhood IT person can fix: I uninstalled Outlook.

It’s better you don’t ask how I did this most foolish thing. It’s better that you learn a lesson from me, which is to never walk away from your computer after you hit the “uninstall” button, for while you may be THINKING you’re deleting a little-used children’s game, you may in fact be deleting the program that brings you e-mail and without which you cannot operate at anything near to full capacity and on which you rely for things like your project files and status trackers and suchlike. And while my company does offer webmail as a substitute, it is but a pale imitation of Outlook, a veritable starved donkey compared to Outlook’s robust workhorsery. I’ve struggled for two days already on the uncomfortably bony back of that donk, which has made it clear that I much prefer the broad shoulders of the powerhorse and the effortless way in which we work together.

So, I ready myself for the commute once more, a trip that holds the promise of being reunited with a brighter Outlook.

At least, at 9 a.m., I won't have to fight the angry mobs of office drones, landscapers, concrete trucks, and travellers that clog the motorways at 8 a.m. Or 7.

Nine a.m. is much more civilized a time.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Oh, hey there!

In other news, I put together a bookcase yesterday all by myself.

With power toolz and all.

And I only had to take ONE piece off and reinstall it correctly. Sweet!

Yes, I'm insanely proud of this somewhat minor achievement. I left the drilldriver out so that the shelves I'm going to put up in the Things' room is at the ready. I've got the level out too, and some screws, and an ready and willing disposition. Man, I love building stuff. It's wonderful when it turns out, ya know?


Spent some time on Saturday cookin' with Renn and Judy. Much fun. See, Mr Kenju had himself a little health setback a while ago, and what with Judy now taking on the responsibility of getting him to and from both at home and in the outside world, Renn thought it would be a good idea to help her out by doing some cooking.

So, we did!

A few pre-prepped dinners later, and we left Judy's house smelling of roast beef and Italian chicken and sauteing onions and other yummyness. It was a pleasure to do, and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

Which leaves me wondering what I can do to get them over HERE to cook for me. Perhaps an attack of bad back? Some minor surgery? Fleas? Boils? Hmmmmmm......


It's still fall here. Just thought you ought to know.

OK, so the leaves haven't turned colors yet, but there's a chill in the morning air, which is terrific.

If there's one tiny thing I can ask of y'all though, it'd be this: send some rain our way. All y'all who might have a surplus of it, pitch it over your back fence into our yard, because we have 106 days of water left in the reservoir.


Then it runs out.

That canNOT be good.

(OK, it's doesn't run OUT, but it will need to undergo a different treatment regimen because it will be water from the BOTTOM of the reservoir, which can only mean that it will be more expensive, and what happens after THAT runs out? I don't know, and it worries me. Would it worry you?)


Purina dog chow in the green bag has ameliorated the canine gas production issues I wrote about here last week. I recommend it highly. The dogs seem to LOVE it too. So much so that I had to move the bag out to the tool shed to keep it away from their snuffly little curious noses.

For the same reason, the bag of cat food is now on the highest shelf in the laundry room.

Daggone dogs.


I know this is disjointed and fast, but that's the kind of day I'm having. Many things to do, not just one topic to talk about, and not enough time to do any of it (them?).

Whyn't y'all just talk amongst yourselves in the comments about whatever it is you did over the weekend, and please, don't forget about the rain thing.

You have my thanks.

Friday, October 12, 2007


FALL! Fall is here!

It came in with a wallop too, all cold and shivery and stuff. MmmMMMMMmmmm, shivery.

I took a walk last night through "faculty row" in Historic Wake Forest (must be capitalized thusly, don't you know) as part of my daily allotment of exercise, and the sweatshirt and goofy colorful LONG PANTS I was wearing were barely enough to ward off the chill. Buh-LISS.

Right now it is 45 degrees, Fahrenheit. The Fahrenheit is important. Ohsoimportant.

Let's go to the weather graphic, shall we?

Say it with me - YES!! Woohoo!! Halellujiah!

Chilly mornings make critters happy. There are squirrels a-jumpin' therough the old oak trees out back (and, quite possibly, out front, but I di'int check that out thus far), birds are a chirpin', and Albert, in a fit of feline joy, is chasing his tail with gusto.

Albert has NEVER chased his tail before. Clearly, he is a meteorologically savvy kitty.


(Bear with me, people, for yet another pet story is about to occur. It seems I can't stop myself.)

Someone, please tell me how to stop dogs from farting, for the farting situation at the Tiny House is reaching code red.

Witness: Because I am a loving and accommodating pet mama, I allowed Skeeter and Zack to sleep in my bedroom with me last night (a priviledge normally only allowed to Albert). The dogs and I settled in nicely, with Zack taking position on the bed with me and Skeeter guarding the door. It was a happy domestic scene, all right.

Until the farting started.

It is testament to the power of dog farts that I was brought out of a midnight-deep sleep by the smell. Oh my yes, the utterly imcomprehensibly awful stench that emanated from their furry flatulent fetid nether bits woke me right up.

Holy wah, y'all.

I thought a skunk had gotten into the house, or something electric was on fire, or I'd awakened to a giant steaming load of dog poo deposited somewhere near my nasal region, but no, the gut-wrenching stink was merely the combined methanic output of two medium-sized canines.

Again, holy wah.

There was no way I could continue in that manner. The tough decision was made. The dogs did not sleep with me. I had to shut them right out.

As I drifted back to sleep again (fan ON, window OPEN!), a previously hidden visitor to my slumber chamber appeared, as if from nowhere. It was Albert, taking up his duties as nighttime watchman. As he settled onto the pillow next to me I could hear the silent "AT LAST" coming from the core of his very being, and it was full of the snark. Albert is a master of the snark.

He is also a lovely quiet sleep partner, and he didn't fart once, all night.


Way to rock, Al.


Oh, hey, it's Friday. I'm supposed to do headlines. Gosh, I got off track what with the weather and the farting and the Peace Prize winning and whatnot. Huh.

What to do?


Putin says missile plan risks relations

The basic fear, as I understand it, is that it might start dating the Kyoto Protocol, and we're all pretty sure no good can come of THAT.

Six-figure bonuses retain US commandos

You'd think the commandos would be strong enough to fight them off....

Turkey ponders Iraq campaign

And I quote: "Gobble gobble, gobblegobblegobblegob da gob."

Clinton weighs Social Security tax 'gap'

I'm betting it weights nothing, because, you know, it's a GAP.

Analysis: Rivals rap Clinton's Iran vote

Yo, yo, yo Ms Clinton
You ain't got nuthin' on the Iran SITCHIN'
you voting all over the damn hizZOUSE
putting words in other folks
Mutha F-ckin' MOUTHS

Say it with me yo
Say it with me yo
Say it with me yo
Clinton's all wrong!

Thinkin' one thing and votin' ANNUTHA
Changing yo mind like a G - D MUTHA
Talkin; out bof sides of yo
White trash MOUF
Yo ain't got nuthin' but trubs now yow!

Say it with me yo
Say it with me yo
Say it with me yo
Clinton's all wrong!

(Heh - I maybe suck at the rap.)


And that, my pretties, is all for today. Must needs I shower and get to work, where no doubts the fires set yesterday are in full blaze and need another hefty shower of my cooling expertise to dampen them down to manageable containment.

Have a good one, and a great weekend!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I am just saying, is all

I'm starting with what I made for dinner last night.

Take one large-sized nonstick frying pan (or better, a sautee pan iff'n you have one of those), pour about a teaspoon of olive oil into it, and set it to heat over a medium flame.

Plop 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts onto the hot oil and cover the pan.

Dice up a big ol' honkin' onion into 1/2" squares and put that in the pan with the chicken. Recover the pan and let that stuff sweat for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink and the house smells like Little Italy at 4 p.m.

Dump in a can of diced tomaters (minus the juice) and about 2 BIG tablespoons of basil pesto. Recover the pan and cook for another 10 minutes, or until your house smells like Little Italy during the dinner rush.

Eat, and be amazed that something this friggin' easy can taste so good.


This meal can also be prepared while the chef is having some delicious cocktails. It's one of those "hard to burn" meals. I like that.

Plus which, if you pair the chicken with some lima beans, like I did, you're totally going to have great dreams.


Now that the dogs are in the house, Albert's new favorite spot is on top of the refrigerator, from whence he shall come to judge the stoopidly doggie denizens of the household with disdain.

There was a moment yesterday when I thought that maybe, just MAYBE, there would be peace in the Tiny House at last. Albert had just finished snack #56 of the day, which he eats on top of the dryer, and had made the mistake of letting his feet touch the floor with a little "thump," which woke Skeeter from nap #43 of the day, immediately setting her on high alert. Skeeter quickly sensed that there was SOMETHING in the house that needed to be herded, picked up that it was Albert, and cornered him against the kitchen cabinets with her love and attention.

Albert was like a cartoon, pressed flat on his belly, all canted over sideways, a death-snarl on his lips, eyes wide and pupils dilated. He was also growling softly.

They stayed like this, attentive dog and alarmed cat, for about 5 minutes. Nobody moved. The occasional "grrrr" could be heard from the cattal portion of the tableau, the occasional whine from the doggal portion.

It was, to all appearances, a standoff. The air was thick with anticipation. Was Skeeter about to be bloodied by the lightning-fast claws de Alber? Was Albert about to become doggie snack #1 for the day? Would one of them FINALLY break the awful tension and just say "to hell with it" and decide to be friends?

The answer to all three questions is "no," because I made the mistake of getting up from the computer desk, which captured Skeeter's attention, and at the first turn of her head away from Albert, he hauled ASS back to the laundry room and slung himself up on the dryer, his "safe (non-herdable) place."

Even safer, though, is the top of the 'fridge, where he now sits, with front paws draped over the edge, a picture-perfect casual kitty pose if ever there was one.

If cats could think (particularly Albert, who is admittedly not the sharpest claw in the paw), I'm pretty sure that he'd be thinkin' "man, am I glad dogs can't climb."

To which I'd say "dude, don't even THINK that out loud, or the Aussie'll hear you and commence to learnin' HOW." Nothing an Aussie likes MORE than a job to do.

So for now there's detente among the furry things that live in the house. It's about all I could hope for, isn't it?


That's it for today kids. I've got to go get the garbage and recycle put out. Man, I hope the garbage isn't crawling with fly-babies......perhaps the cooler (thank GOD!) weather will slow them down this week. Then it's to work, to work, to work I go, because that last lotto ticket I bought was a total dud.

Maggots and work. Yeah, it's gonna be a great day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Significant Thing

Several years ago, just before my 39th birthday, I got braces. The reason for having them put on wasn't so much that I was a snaggle-toothed monstrous critter, but rather that I wanted to stop the teeth that I knew were "on the move" and to correct a self-inflicted problem.

See, as a kid I was a thumb sucker. Oh man did I LOVE me some right thumb in the mouth action. That thumb was in my mouth on a nearly consistent basis until I went to school; after which time it was firmly planted in hours of rest and relaxation.

I sucked me some thumb until I was 8. My mother tried just about EVERYTHING to get me to stop. Nagging, that gross stuff that tasted like bitter apple, warnings of future toothal misalignment, etc etc. Nothing worked. I shrugged off the mocking, licked off the icky stuff, ignored the dire predictions.

As in many things, I should have listened to my Mother, because I wound up with a sizable gap between the teeth on the right side of my mouth, and the front teeth were in enough of an overbite that they didn't meet.

Let's just say that biting into a salami sandwich was always an adventure.

By the time I was in my mid-30s, it was apparent that my teeth were free-ranging around in my head. The right upper lateral incisor was starting to make a retreat toward my uvula, the bottom front teeth looked like a picket fence after a windstorm, and things were undoubtedly NOT going to get any better. To the casual observer my smile still looked fine, but I knew it was deteriorating. I had visions of being a crooked-grinned old lady, and this was not acceptable.

So, I got braces.


Let me just say right now that having braces made me appreciate a level of pain that heretofore I did not know existed. The pain was inescapable. In the first week of having the spacers on my molars I lost 8 pounds because I could not eat. One bite of food would take me 5 minutes to chew. It was exhausting, and did not bode well for the future of the orthodontia. I remember walking around with my mouth hanging open, sucking air in to cool the pain and simultaneously drooling.

I was maybe not so much with the attractive at this time.

Once the actual BRACES were on, things progressed in the pain department to new horizons of discomfort. Each and every "adjustment" was accompanied by the distinct realization that yes, my teeth are indeed moving around in my head and yes, it was going to hurt for a few days. Why, in the first two weeks of orthodontial reconstruction that wayward ol' incisor popped into place, which you KNOW has got to mean some bone is being pushed out of the way, and face it y'all, that's GOT to hurt.

After two weeks I was totally over it, and wanted them off.

Not surprisingly, my orthodontists (the sadists) were hearing none of it.
I went through arch-widening (ow), rubber-banding (FREAKING ow), "springing" (holy mother of pearl OW!), and many other small cruelties that I've since forgotten.

Truly, it's better I have a short memory for unpleasantries.

At long last, 16 months later, they did come off. 16 looooong months. Over that 16 months I had gotten well used to constant dry mouth, raw cheeks, cut lips, odd-sounding schpeetch, and a growing excitement over having perfectly straight teeth that met in an actual bite and didn't look like someone'd just run their bike into a slat fence.

When I demanded that the braces be taken off, and the docs finally complied, it was a wonderful day. Well, it was wonderful after I got over the sensation that my lips were about to slide off my head. Teeth are surprisingly slippery things, especially after one is used to having one's lips catch on every single bit of protruding metal in one's mouth. 'Tis most odd to relearn what teeth feel like.

I remember being excited to floss without having to perform complex acts of geometry.

More exciting though were the results. Perfectly. Straight.Teeth. Oh, the gap on the right didn't close fully (though for a couple of weeks of really vigorous rubber banding they did! Squee!), but the bottom teeth were movie-star straight, the wandering incisor had been returned to its regular spot, the wider arch opened up my smile, and I was happy to have spent that 5 thousand bucks on the most devious torture ever devised for the purported good of humankind.

Was it worth it? Totally. Every time I put in my retainers I'm reminded of how worth it it was, because after just a few hours of remediation overnight, I wake up, take the retainers out, and my teeth have shifted BACK to where they all meet again, in perfect alignment, movie-star ready.


I don't know if going through this experience is going to hold any water at all with Thing 1, who, in his very near future, is probably going to have to undergo some oral torture of his own. Our experiencesa are very likely to be quite different, because I didn't have to have my eye teeth yanked down from someplace in the vicinity of my nostrils, like he will and I didn't have to have my lateral incisors swung backwards to meet the other teeth, like he will. And while I did have to have the ankylosed teeth my own personal head extruded from their hidey-holes to come on out and play with all the OTHER teeth who were anxious to meet them after all these years, they were not the same ankylosed teeth that he's going to have to have rubber-banded up n' out.

And on this, his 12th birthday, I'm not telling him he's going to probably have to have braces. I'll save that for some other, less remarkable, time.


Happy birthday Thing 1. You've made these past 12 years a time of wonder. Your Mama loves you beyond anything she'd ever experienced before, and is so very proud of who you are and who you are becoming.

And I'm sorry about the braces.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Catricidal Maniac

There's the sound of a jake-braking semi coming from under my kitchen table. It is coming from Albert the cat (alternatively known as "Albertus Cattus" in the Tiny House of geekery).

Albert is not one little bit thrilled that the dogs are here for a visit. Oh, it was going fairly well the first two hours or so, when he was just getting to know them, but it's apparent now that he's got no love for the canines. He'd be happy to ignore them, as cats are wont to do to all lesser creatures, but there's a problem with this.


Skeeter is an Australian Shepard.
She herds things. She takes her job very very seriously. Skeeter loves to pay attention to her herd, right up close and personal. She will hunt DOWN her herd and stare them in the face to ensure that they know that she's on the job.

Albert, to his dismay, is her new herd. Not surprisingly, Albert does not cotton to being a herd.

When Skeeter's doing her herding thing to Albert, he gets irritated. Frankly, so would I, because Skeeter's mode of herding is to get no more than six inches away from the herdee and bully them into immobility
with the sheer weight of her intensity .

If you've ever been stared at by an Aussie, you know what I mean.

It's kind of unnerving. I cannot blame Albert for taking issue with being the focus of so much Aussie attention.

(This is not Skeeter, but it's a fair representation. She is, if anything, even MORE intense.)

I mean, those eyes. They bore right into you with their their need to control, don't they?

I'll go ahead and state the obvious here: Albert, as a cat of much dignity, is not all about being controlled. Albert would, quite honestly, be much happier with being left the heck alone, thanksverymuch, but Skeeter does not know this and therefore keeps pressing her suit.

And pressing, and pressing, and pressing, until poor Albert is perched on a kitchen chair pushed under the kitchen table waaaaay in back by the wall, twhich is sort of blocked off by the other chairs pushed under the table, thereby establishing a zone of safety around himself.

Or so he thinks.

Tragically, Albert is not much for thinking. As one friend has put it "most of Albert's brain has gone into whisker-growing." He has lovely long whiskers, it must be noted.

Skeeter, having marginally more thinking brain than Albert, and a herding drive that could power a small city if it were electricity, isn't fooled by the "hiding under the table" trick, oh no. She keeps close watch on Albert under there, then sidles around the table in closer and closer arcs until she is UNDER the table and, once again, staring Albert right in the face.

Which is right about when when the jake-braking starts.

The low rumble of a pissed-off cat would frighten me off, but not Skeeter. She will edge close to the fascinating noise coming from her herd. She will edge right UP to the herd, marvelling at the wonderful grumbling emanating therefrom.

Albert will growl louder, and puff up as much as a cat who is trapped under a table can puff.

Skeeter comes to within striking distance, the growl deepens. One more inch closer, and then all hell breaks loose under the table, the jake-braking noise replaced by what can only be described as what it might sound like if one were to cross as bagpipe and a rabid pig, then put that animal in a bellows with a 2-second repeat cycle. Snort-wheeze-snort-wheeze! Albert's gone mad!

Oh, it is ferocious, and would cause a lesser being to back off in a hurry, but not Skeeter. Skeeter knows her herd needs her, and stays her ground. Skeeter is maybe not very smart about this part of herding.

Eventually, I'll call her off. This is usually about 1 minute or so after the pigpipe starts a-bellowing, because I need that much time to recover from the hysterical fit of laughter the uber-ticked-off kitty noises cause me to have.

I am a bad kitty mama, and for this I am most apologetic. I don't see me changing anytime soon.


Right at this moment there is peace in the Tiny House, but once I lock that door behind me and go to work it's anybody's guess as to what will transpire within the confines of the small square home. I try to not think about it.

As long as there's no blood spatter when I get home, it's all good.

Monday, October 08, 2007

How was YOUR weekend?

Good morning one and all. Over to your left there is a picture of me taken just a few minutes ago with my new "Cartoon-a-camera," an invention that's in beta test mode but that I think does a pretty good job of capturing the overall feel of a moment in time, except for the "humorous" addition of the ladybug in my hair.

Note to self: inform camera manufacturers that clients may have phobias, and that the camera settings hould allow for adjustment of tolerances.

Also, my feet aren't NEARLY that big.


Moving on then, How Was Your Weekend?

I was Here. And Over There. And then back Here again.

Eeeyep - I was a travellin' gal this weekend, with a scenic tour of the I95/I85 corridor between NC and DC as the big doin's.

It all began when my Mom decided to have her knee replaced, you see. She made a decision to find out what it would be like to walk more than a couple of hundred feet without pain, and being as how the FIRST knee replacement went so swimmingly a couple of years so, she thought "hey, let's just go for the second one so that maybe I can enjoy life again." That's my Mom, always thinking of herself.


Anyhow, because Mom was going to be hanging out "in hospital" for a few days, I thought I'd wander up there to pay her a little visit and brighten up her days. I'm a giver like that, you see. So Saturday morning-ish I hopped in Tinkerbell and wended my way north. Stopped in at my younger brother's house first, because that's where I was staying, and we motored on over to see Mom, who was just getting done with physical therapy. FYI - You DO know that they day after you get a new knee they want you to WALK on it, right?

(I'll wait here a minute while y'all get done being squicked out by this.)

So bro and I hung out with Mom once she was done with the physical terrorist, then older bro stopped in, and we had rather a jolly party up there on the fourth floor. Well, it was pretty jolly. Semi-jolly. It would have been a lot MORE jolly if I didn't keep thinking about that woman who was laying on the gurney out in the hallway with bags of all kinds of fluids (one of which was suspiciously blood-red) leaking into her and who was looking very much like someone who was immediately post-surgery and who was, did I mention, RIGHT IN THE HALLWAY??? This
took a tiny bit of the jolly out of the gathering, but maybe that was only for me. Everyone else seemed pretty happy, and it WAS nice to be with my brothers all together with Mom.

Once dinner was served (to only my mother! hrmph) was served we decided to hightail it out of the hospital and find our own food, which took us back OUT to younger bro's neighborhood and the corner bar/restaurant, where we were joined by one of my brothers' good friends (a guy my older bro has known since HS and who was in the band so I knew him too) and a couple of younger bro's friends, and many large Sam Adams Oktoberfest beers were quaffed and stories told and several hours spent in true jollility. Also, there were nachos.

But the fun did not end there - for younger bro and I went back to his house and we broke open the bourbon and played around with downloading music. Until 2 in the morning. Which was accompanied by what was probably a little too much party, but hey, I only see my younger brother one or twice a year, so pour another one dude and let's rock ON!

Ouch. My head.


No time to moop about though, for the next morning I was to be at a friend's house in Alexandria, so up I got, into the shower I stumbled, up my bag I packed, then for my keys I searched. And searched. And searched. And just as I was thinking on how I was going to rip apart air molecules in search of the missing keys (having looked everywhere else), I thought "hey, look behind the furniture where your bag was sitting, dude!" and there they were. Hooray!

I got to my friend's house only an hour late, and her oh-so-grownup 10-year-old twins served breakfast and coffee and a couple of wonderful hours were spent out on their patio sipping coffee and eating pastries and chatting about so many things. I've known this woman since I was 14 years old, and would STILL want to be friends with her if I'd never met her before. She and her entire family are charming and fun, and flexible in their scheduling so as to allow time for a goofy old friend to invade their space on a rather delayed manner.

You'd think that'd be enough excitement for one weekend, but you'd be WRONG, for I left Alexandria and motored back to the hospital for a quick visit, only going down route 95 accidentally for a FEW miles before realizing my mistake and turning back. Spent 45 minutes of so with Mom before her PT showed up for the afternoon torture session, and thus I made my way back down Souf, where the doggies were waiting for me to pick them up while the Things and their Dad are on vacation at the beach this week.

Except Route 85 was hating my guts and wanting to put me to sleep, what with all the straight roads and long stretches of nothing but trees on either side. Honestly, long miles of that highway are very much like a 1980's video game....with the same daggone scenery all around because the programmers ran out of imagination, or time, or coding skillz. I had to divert travel onto Route 1 much earlier than usual just to get something to LOOK at to keep me awake long enough to make it home. By taking the slower way home though, I went through many towns I'd only ever seen exit signs for, which was kind of nice. Yeah, it took me about a half an hour longer to get to the house than usual, but so what? I now know that Henderson actually IS a town, and not just a stop on Route 85. To my mind, that's plenty of payback for a few extra minutes of travel time.

It was coming onto dark by the time I got the dogs, who were very happy to see me, though perhaps that's only because I rescued them from the garage and they were needin' the bafroom in a major fashion. The schizo dog (Australian Shepard, anyone??) yelped and whined her way through the 15-minute ride to the Tiny House, and I thought I might have been permanently deafened by one particularly LOUD "yipe," while the hound just settled in to the ride, like a good ol' hound dog oughtta.

By 8 last night I was busy cookin' dinner, washin' dishes, facilitatin' the establishment of a relationship between feline and canine denizens of the household, and sippin' a cocktail.

By 10 I was dead asleep.

It was quite the weekend.

How was YOURS??


Also: Holy cats. Give it a couple of minutes, when things really start to rock. Yowza.