Wednesday, February 28, 2007

windows and pivots know no decay

Because I have sustained injuries "during sportive exercises" I've gotten to see a lot more of the medical profession than I would normally choose to. Dr. Needles, besides using acupuncture, sent me home with a tiger balm-like liniment, which is a nice pain reliever and will maybe ease my nuisance-y shoulder. I got a kick out of the prose that came with the Drug Facts (hint: it is easier to read if you click on the image).

found objects

I love the little bits & pieces you find just by paying attention (or by buying oddball things).

Here's an ad from a classified section (maybe that of my place of employment?). I did not know you could buy a whole solar system for so little. I would have thought that $3,000 would maybe get you part of Pluto, or possibly some out-of-the-way moon, like Iapetus.

a nit to pick

One of our state legislators, hoping to make a dent in gang violence in the state, has introduced a bill that would ratchet up the penalties (aka time in the clink) for gang-affiliated people who get convicted of crimes in the state.

Our state's practice is to offer a standard range for sentencing (for example, vehicular homicide has a standard range of 15-20 months in prison) that a judge may use to determine a miscreant's bid. The standard range can get longer - or shorter - for a variety of reasons, so this bill wouldn't be a shocking change from how things are done now.

Whatever. But here's the real crime, in a quote from the bill's sponsor, Washington state Sen. Jim Clements, R-Selah.

“Gang violence is a caustic acid that eats away at our communities,” said he.

A caustic acid??? Yegods, what has the world come to. What a basic mistake.

The Wild Life

OK, so Lulu called me out (nicely, though): I mostly do not have a wild & crazy existence. The butterfly lady and I have our nest here in a quiet town and a couple of dogs that take up a lot of our time. We spend a lot of time just hanging around, which suits us.

This doesn't mesh with the expectations of many of my past acquaintances and friends, who expected me to... what? In college, I was named most likely to be involved in a scandal of some sort. And although I have not been apprehended in connection with any known criminal conspiracies, it is possible that career path might have been expected by certain of my potential associates.

Hey, I don't mind. And on a somewhat more exciting note, the butterfly lady & I did score tickets for a Regina Spektor show in one of the larger cities in our area in April. Maybe that's a start :)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Another busy weekend

After the past couple of weekends, I am disinclined to:

A - Spend money for about a month.
B - Go anywhere you can't get by walking.
C - Do much besides watch movies.

That said, the butterfly lady and I have made a big dent in spring cleaning projects around the house. I suppose the outdoors is next, but I can always put on another warp and weave too much to leave time to wander around the yard, pulling weeds (that's Newfy's specialty, anyway).

We went out to the land of gnus and water buffalos Saturday, where the stores are much larger and more plentiful than in our town. Needless to say, we bought stuff. And oh, you'll be blown away at how exciting it all is:
  • Two smallish casseroles (8.5 by 6.5 by 2.5 inches).
  • A new whisk (A nice one, which is a first for me).
  • An Oxo two-cup measure (with the measure marks inside the cup and easy to read, not on the outside. I measure left-handed, so ordinary Pyrex measures show the metric marks when I hold the cup. Grrr.).
  • Four pounds (!) of Jelly Belly jellybeans, found at Costco (aka cheap). Happiness ensued for the butterfly lady.
  • A new dog bed for the little pig. Bigg Dogg likes to hog the little one's bed, which looks pretty silly (she is about twice as big as his bed and really prefers linoleum anyway). Plus some treats for her.
Pretty thrilling, eh? We followed that up on our return home with another onslaught of cleaning and reorganization. The downstairs studio now actually looks like a studio and multiple trips to drop off thrift-store donations have been made. Color me happy.

Friday, February 23, 2007

My favorite new favorites

I have a tendency to find something new to listen to, then listen it to death, then drop it for a while, then fold it back into medium rotation. Latest contenders are a couple of Regina Spektor songs, Fidelity and Samson. And here they are:

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A reading from Second Samuel

Lulu notes that the Cat in the Hat turns a half-century old this year (you can send birthday greetings and cause a book to be donated here), which reminds me of a couple of things:

Rick Ankiel and a few other Cardinals have at times worn their uniforms with a lot of sock showing, and the Cards' socks are very Cat in the Hat.

Besides socks and books, Dr. Seuss also had the very positive effect of inspiring one of my all-time favorite SNL bits:

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Busy weekend

When the butterfly lady and I lived in Walla Walla the first time, we had a medium-size apartment (square footage? who knows, but it was a pretty large two-bedroom type), and we had a fairly large amount of stuff. When we moved to New Hampshire, we shipped our books and carried everything else with us in our car and a 5-foot-by-8-foot U-Haul trailer.

Before we moved, we got rid of a hell of a lot of stuff. We didn't even take a bed, just a futon.

The place we moved into in New Hampshire also had two bedrooms but was much smaller, so we had to get rid of a lot more stuff. Yet, when we moved back, we had to rent a truck, a fairly large one at that, to haul all our stuff, even though we got rid of a lot of . Our apartment didn't grow in the intervening years, but it sure seemed that way on moving day.

Now we have a house, and we spent the weekend doing spring cleaning (the weather was decidedly vernal over the three-day) until all hours of the night. Fun, but not exactly relaxing.

  • Got a router/wireless base station - Now the smartypants doesn't have to hook the damn ethernet cable to her laptop just to go online. That's only been two years in coming.
  • Assembled a photo album/organized old letters - Doesn't sound like much, but now all that stuff is way more organized and takes up way less room. I should have done this when space was at a premium.
  • Bought a couple of organize-y drawer things for the butterfly lady to use in the closet - Hey, I didn't have to do much except take out my toolbox, aka wallet.
  • Weeded out a bunch of junkola - Like my father, I looked at my late uncle's (his brother's) house - overrun with stuff, and when I say overrun, I mean stuffed to the gills - and thought, "If that runs in the family, it isn't running with me."
  • Wove a lot - The warp I'm working on is nearly done, but I've got a couple more behind it...
  • Made clam chowder - How is that spring cleaning? Well, it helped me reorganize some bacon, clams, potatoes and milk that were cluttering the place up, and we were able to put a fair amount of it "away."
maybe there were some other things, too, but my brain is full.

Friday, February 16, 2007


I'm pretty sure you can figure out what that number's all about, but what if you wanted it for your own? How would you know whether it's taken.

Maybe there's another, easier way, but here's one way I found. The TN Database lets you cruise for potential phone numbers with a fairly simple interface. First you choose an area code, then an exchange, then you can narrow down the choices by the first two digits of the four-digit suffix (i.e. 800, then 423, then 56xx to get close to a number for my current employer).

The database won't tell you who holds a given number, but it will tell you, usually, if the number is assigned.

In the case of 1-800-328-7448, however, the assignment comes up "unkown." As does, oddly enough, the number for my current employer, and that of a former employer, too.

Go figure.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A great movie

The butterfly lady and I watched The Tunnel the other night, a movie I picked out on a whim from Netflix.

I think I was predisposed to enjoy it, having been waaay into German/East German history and dynamics when I was in high school.

Whatever. The Tunnel was great, one of the best/most entertaining movies I have seen in quite a long time. It sure as hell beat Babel and, to pick another non-random example, Crash.

I wish more action/adventure/suspense movies were this good.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The hospital scene

Having just spent an interesting 30 hours at Northwest Hospital in Seattle, an observation or two:
  • Nurses have too much to do, or hospitals need to hire more of them. Judging from the want ads, I'd say there aren't enough to go around in the first place.
  • Many undignified things happen in hospitals.
  • If you know what you're doing, the nurses will let you help out. But they won't pay you, except with smiles.
  • The butterfly lady is braver and tougher than people might guess from looking at her.
  • Northwest has free wireless Internet, but blocks access to flickr and youtube.
  • My SIL, who I've known since she was in middle school, has grown up a lot in the past few years. And her husband is nice, too.
  • I'm glad to have that place in the rear-view mirror.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Favorite foods

Sets of threes:

Grafton Village cheddar (the now-extinct Gold - aged three years)
Parmiggiano-Reggiano - from Italy of course
Whole milk - very cold, please

Raspberries (with that milk!)
Blackberries (in cobbler)
Bananas (lotso K and good for primates of all stripes)

Odwalla carrot juice (carrots are OK, but this is way better)
Okra (stuffed with kheema and baked!)

"Vegetables" that are really fruit
Squash - summer or winter, I love 'em all
Tomatoes - preferably a funky heirloom variety, right off the vine in the sunshine
Red Hot Chili Peppers

Hill Meats bacon
Homemade chicken soup
Ground lamb (good in lots of things!)

Jasmine or basmati rice
Sushi rice
Bob's Red Mill oats

Grains that have actually been made into something
Extra-crispy English muffins
That kick-ass crusty bread you get at good Italian joints, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or harissa
Biscuits and gravy (maybe that counts in meat, too.)

Bacon fat - the best
Extra-virgin olive oil - also nice on the hands
Unsalted butter

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

In the skies of Iraq

It appears that lately, people who do not like the U.S. military presence in Iraq are getting better at doing something about it, as though they needed much improvement. The latest fashion is shooting down helicopters, and being as I run/have run in circles that include military helicopter pilots, I thought it would be interesting to have a quick look at what kinds of birds are in use.

Here's a quick look at the makes and models that have been shot down - and have therefore been in use - over the past few years.

UH-60L Black Hawk

A general-purpose aircraft, "used for troop transport, cargo lift, anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, drug interdiction, anti-ship warfare and special operations," according to a U.S. Air Force profile. Carries a crew of four.

OH-58 Kiowa

A small reconnaissance helicopter that can carry missiles, guns or a couple of stretchers in an emergency medevac situation. Carries a crew of two.

AH-64 Apache

A heavily armed attack helicopter. Carries a crew of two.

CH-47 Chinook

In use since Vietnam, a heavy transport helicopter capable of hauling up to 33 combat-laden troops or heavy gear such as two humvees. Carries a crew of two.

CH46 Sea Knight

Superficially similar to the Chinook, but carries less stuff: Up to 14 troops and a crew of four or five, depending on the mission.

Other aircraft that have been used - and shot down - include an OH-6A flown by contractors and an Mi-8 HIP that also was being used by contractors. Other helicopters may be in use, but haven't had the misfortune of crashing/being shot down, and of course, fixed-wing aircraft are also heavily used, but helicopters are cool and airplanes pretty much are not.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Superb Owl

I am not sure where I fall on the sports-fan continuum, but I think it is safe to say that although I like sports and am athletic and competitive, I don't spend a lot of time hanging on the outcomes of big games.

I am highly aware of what's going on - partly my job, partly my interest - but I just don't wind up being very involved emotionally. Hey, the Cardinals won the World Series. That's cool, because I'm a fan, but if they had lost I wouldn't have been heartbroken. (Mystified, maybe, because the Tigers did everything they could to lose...)

So I didn't watch the Super Bowl. And I'm kinda pleased with that choice - I think the Colts are annoying, plus the butterfly lady and I had a nice dog walk in the fog with zero other people out and about during the fourth quarter.

From what I hear and read, I didn't miss much.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A great line from an obit

I love this:

At his request, there will be
no service, although he would
have appreciated the
sentiment of a toast in his
honor at a tavern.