Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Build Your Very Own Powered Model Aircraft

Monday, March 30, 2009

What Do You Think?
I just ordered one of these toaster ovens from the nice people at Amazon. My old, and by old I mean I really don't remember when I bought it, toaster oven still works but it's no longer what I want in a countertop appliance. It came with an aluminum tray which I hate, hate, hate. I could get a stainless steel tray really, truly, honest-to-goodness clean. I could use oven cleaner on it. Not so with aluminum.
So I bought some after-market toaster oven accessories, non-stick even. And they were superior but the muffin pan did not fit! It was too wide. I even considered hacking the "ears" off the pan. But rather than cookware surgery, I realized that I really wanted a bigger, more functional toaster oven than the one I'd been using lo! these several years. Now, I'm expecting the new one on Wednesday which means I'll have to care fully clean the old one (I've done that before!) and then donate it to some deserving outfit.
I'd be interested to know what you, dear reader, think about my new toaster oven. It's something I've been turning over in my mind for probably the last four months and I'm hoping that I made the right choice.
Also, I should be getting the new Basia disc, another home appliance from Amazon and part of an order from Costco today. My UPS guy brings me the coolest stuff! Then some other SOB makes me pay for it. Dagnabbit!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The News Senor, She Is Mixed
I said I wasn't going to be upset if Duke lost. And I'm not.... But, a 23 point loss? That's just sad. Villanova's not that good and Duke's not that bad.

Otherwise, Jake has a disc's worth of sacred music available for free download as well as his new CD coming out in the not-too-distant future. Always a good thing. And Basia has just released her new CD, "It's That Girl Again." Another good thing. I shall have to have them!
On the other hand, I have "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" as an earworm today. Dammit!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sorry for the lack of posting. Much of muchness proceeds apace at Chez BlogDog. Out one evening with the Enigmatic Misanthrope. Always a fascinating way to learn a little more about humanity, revealed for me by the EM who is adept at stripping away the painted facade. But then bar life ain't exactly real life.
There are stories but perhaps left untold.
House cleaning proceeds as well. Taking the shower apart to clean places that haven't seen cleanser since I moved in certainly. Good lord somethings are made bloody difficult to clean. I may have to get a quote for a frameless shower stall.
Tonight the NC-2-Ays return. Go Duke. Or not. Ahhh, I'd prefer they win but if they lose, it won't kill me.
What else, what else .... iPhone is one bitchin device. Checking e-mail in the car, looking at Instapundit while grabbing a taco salad. iPod Shuffle is stunning. So much music, so little space!
Watched Eddie Izzard's "Glorious" from Netflix. Damnably funny. And if I looked that good in makeup, I'd wear it too. But not the fingernail polish. and the shiny red suit. Yeah, I'd wear that. Lots of Izzard all over uToob. Go, search, watch, laugh. Just like life itself: go, search, watch, laugh.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Home Repairs
Ah, the joys of home ownership (hmm, that sounds a little too much like "homo-nership" for my taste)! I had a workin' man in the house today (and there I go again! dang.)
Regrouting my shower! Regrouting my shower! Now the "mahstah bath" smells of curing grout and caulk, and i can't use it until Friday (luckily the guest bath is available) but it's worth it. The shower is clean and white. The HIDeous scrunge (i.e. mildew) is gone, gone, gone. And I learned something.
I've been using cleaners with bleach (if not bleach its own self) to clean the shower. The grout man tells me that's the worst thing one can do. Every grout and caulk made in the past 20 years or so is made with mildewcides built in. But using bleach on them actually destroys the ability of those to function. Thus the mildew can come back, not to mention that bleach destroys the grout in situ.
What to use to clean. Well, I think the Mr. Clean "Magic Eraser" type of melamine sponge is a good bet - I think it acts more in a physical action than a chemical action. And "green" bathroom cleaners were also recommended. Bah! "Green" irks me.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Deck Farm™ 2009
Burpee has acknowledged my order for the upcoming year of Deck Farm™. I'll do a little cut-n-paste (soon to be on an iPhone near you!) to lay out the plants. That's three each of the tomatoes, the bell peppers, hot lemon peppers, zavory peppers and six of the Biker Billy jalopy peppers. The Hosta collection is going into the front yard to mitigate the pain of mowing around the roots of the cherry tree.
And Since I ordered enough, I get a little spiff in there at the end. How nice.
Does anyone want the items below set as links to the item page at Burpee.com?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

NCAA Round Of 16
After watching much basketball this weekend, it struck me that the brackets were falling very true to seeding this year. The East region features the 1, 2, 3 and 4 seeds. The South region features the 1, 2, 3 and 4 seeds. The West region features the 1, 2, 3 and 5 seeds (that would be the #4 seed losing to the #5 seed - not that big an upset). And the Midwest region being the least true to prediction with the 1, 2, 3 and 12 seeds still standing. Wake Forest is the #4 seed that really screwed the pooch this time around. A #1 ranked team at one point, a team that beat UNC (a darn good bet for the crown now that Ty Lawson's back), beat Duke (so pppbbblllttt! on your pooch screwing) and went deep into the season undefeated. Only to bow out in the first round. I'll reduce it to letters: FU WFU. You embarrassed the ACC yet again. You lost badly to a 13 seed which then lost badly to a 12 seed.
Ah heck - much more excitement next weekend. I hope Duke can show up all the haters and beat Villanova. I'd love to see them make the Final Four, which then can do if they have a good game. But Duke is not the best team this year. Certainly a top 8, a top 4 if they play their game, but not a national champion.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday Morning
I watched the sun rise on this first day of spring, a harsh angular light on a delicate rime of frost. The world was sugar frosted as the light dawned and the shadows of buildings and trees stretched out like El Greco figures in monochrome against a landscape played out in aquatint.
As the colors filled out with the rising of the sun, I looked at the rimed grass and thought of such sweetened things as frosted flakes. But is the world a sweet thing to tempt the young with the roars of cartoon tigers? I can say neither no nor yes. Because there are other things that get their coat of sugar yet play against the sweet, the sour patch candies for example. Is the world in a sweet nanometric crust that surrenders to teeth revealing the grain formed into something entirely man-made? Or is it the sweet layer that flows out on the tongue before the acidic bite changes everything?
Both are delicious in their place. Both are insufficient metaphors for existence. Instead the world will offer some moment of zen calm - the translucent shroud of fine hoar on the grass and sidewalks, sunlight sliding across the ground with a magician's trick of misdirection. It is the first day of spring and the world says: "Look here. Here is the breath of winter still laid ever so lightly on this ground. Trust and believe what you will but I am knowable only in the largest ways. I will never surrender myself to you in any one moment. If you live in the knowing of that, you may see wisdom as obliquely as I lay the light on you. I will be that thing moving just at the very ragged edge of your eyes, that thing you can only believe you saw a moment before. But always there."

My gratefulness rises along with the warming of the sun. I will make myself a measure of coffee, fill my cup therewith, milk, artificial sweetener as fine and white as if I'd scraped the frost from the blades of grass. I dress warmly, step outside. Feel the cool water of the fresh spring air flow into me. Take a sip from my cup which releases steam in the most wonderful ghostly curls of vapor. I inhale the fragrance of the bean and feel its tiny acid bite on my tongue, an echo of the world entire. I thank God again for all of this. For cool spring air, the friends whom I love, the taste of coffee on a cool morning, the pinkish haze that fills the empty branches of trees preparing to bud out, even the cliche of daffodils clustered near the neighborhood doors. I think of the day, not long in the offing now, when the world warms and the scent of the earth itself finally rises from its hibernation. Then spring truly begins as all the poseur flowers, the daffs, the crocuses give way to the trees and plants that give us food, not just frosted candy for the eyes.
The Deck Farm will rise again this year. Possibility remains an almost endless giving box for the delighted.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tea Blogging
Earlier I posted about PG Tips tea. This stuff is amazing. I've been making "sun" tea via the method I learned from NPR's weekend food show (which will not be linked or named due to my pique at the liberal buttheads on NPR). Rather than put a vegetal product in water in the sun at a temperature roughly ideal for the growth of nasty things, I put the tea in water in the fridge overnight.
Well, PG Tips short circuits that process. In a half gallon of water, two tablespoons of tea makes a wonderful brew in about two or three hours. Well, maybe four if you get it in the fridge immediately and don't agitate the container. I'm a container agitator.
Since I have friends coming over for dinner tomorrow night I've got about a gallon of it in the fridge even as I type. I'll drag out the camera and snap some pics of the brew. It could be a little stronger (especially if it's to be poured over ice) but the liquid is beautifully translucent and the taste is second to none. And, yes, when it's used to make hot tea this is the closest thing to instant imaginable.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Noted Briefly
After my biffix this morning, I'm coming to the conclusion that Gruyere is the best cheese for use in an omelet. Though I'm discounting a mix of cheeses which would probably be better still.
I welcome comments weighing in on cheese or cheese mixes for omelet production and delectation.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Doing The Bullet Points Thing
A full slate for today - even unto having a professional in to estimate regrouting the shower stall - but I thought I might throw up some eructations of what's fermenting in my internal organs.
• iPhone rocks like the Technolithic Age. I've gotten my e-mail, read blogs, txt'ed, listened to iTunes samples, played iTunes songs. I need to set up my contacts list but that'll involve some data entry so it may take me a few days to get that input in.
• The new iPod Shuffle is every bit as amazing as I'd imagined. A couple of pics and little more depth of review will be along shortly.
• Watched Simon Pegg's "Run, Fat Boy, Run" in recent Netflixery. Not exactly a home run. Pegg is a very funny guy ("Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz") but in this one it's paint by numbers all the way through. The Indian landlord and his stunning daughter (played by India de Beaufort) are nice surprises. Though how Thandie Newton who pegs my "meh" meter was chosen for the love interest is beyond me. Bottom line: good for a few laughs, don't go out of your way.
• I'm still connected to gratitude. I get up with thanks in my heart and the words in my first waking breath. I even thanked a stoplight yesterday that I was sure was going to catch me but didn't. That's just silly. But it made feel right to have done so.
• I've been listening to Emm's latest disc, "Goddess," a lot lately. She's a fantastic talent. The music is wonderfully melodious, she has a voice to which I love to listen and the lyrics, while typically elliptical, are wonderful as well. ("Leftover love / I've got more than enough / Take it from me it was meant to be all for you anyway/ All for you anyway") Can't recommend the new any more strongly even if I don't think it's her best CD.
• I'm considering a few questions as they might inform fiction: What do you believe? What can you not return to? What can you not live with?
• Guitar madness - I bought an ice tray from Amazon which makes ice in the shape of a guitar body into which a plastic neck is laid. I can see stirring my iced tea with one of these bad boys this summer. I may have to practice making clear ice, save for the fact that it's much more effort than it's worth.
• And I have to add a brilliant observation from the Grouchy Old Cripple in a comment on his own site: "I sometimes miss my work, but I never miss my job." Well said, sir. Well said.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Finally, truth in advertising...The Real Deal....

"ShitBegone toilet paper is a quality product that exemplifies your attitude and approach to life.Part journey of discovery, part assertion of responsibility, part embrace of life, ShitBegone expresses hope and belief that a better world is possible."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Quick Foodie Link
If you like teh exotic, possibly new and interesting foodstuffs, take a look at Sadaf.com. I have friends who get their tea here as a matter of course. And there all sorts of things I've never seen before. Prices don't look too bad either. Bell pepper dolmas? Yes, please. Sounds delicious.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Blog Free Weekend
Apart from this post, of course.
There is much to occupy my time: My car will be coming home from a major servicing this afternoon (I was lucky enough to get the loaner car from the dealership). I will be working on my friend's PC so she can take it home next weekend. There is much of tournament basketball to be enjoyed (and sometimes cursed). I am working on cleaning up paper that thinks it's ocean water & I am Indonesia (that would be the oblique tsunami reference). And I am determined to pick up the guitar and practice for the first time in over a month.
So thanks for stopping by but you'll not hear from me until Monday. But I welcome any contribution from my fellow bloggers. Always.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hey! Your Screen Is Dirty
Let a friend of mine clean it for you...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Apple Does It Again
The new iPod Shuffle. Just go watch the video. Jaw-droppingly astounding tech.
Many will recall my confessional postings in last year when I revealed the extent to which I had either been laid low or laid myself low. I find, now, that honesty compels posting of more of the interior life albeit a sunnier climate in this dwindling winter.
I am a hypnopompic pray-er. I awake to the consciousness of what I am asking in prayer without having consciously formed the prayer. (I do not "pray" in my waking state. I will talk to God - my conception of Him - but it is not "praying" as such is usually conceived.) In the last several days, I have sought that a process ongoing in my life conclude positively as it faced several snags, hold-ups and speed bumps. I believe I can honestly say that my prayers have been answered. Every time it looked as though the edifice being constructed was about to come crashing down, it didn't. And now we seem to be entering the end game wherein I have some desk work to do but otherwise, done deal.
So as I came to consciousness this morning (after a night wherein I could not find slumber for reasons physical and psychological), I found myself again seeking from God in my way. But I was not asking for the world to treat me well as I seem to have been doing lately. I was asking that my heart be changed.
I asked for humility. I am not a prideful man but I lack the quietude of soul that humility, a truly humble spirit, gives. I asked that I be given, undeserving, the gift of humility in a world to which I am too much attached. I don't expect any Damascus Road experience to sweep over me and calm my restlessness. I ask that I be able to live within myself, without anger at slights and provocations. That I can be, without conscious effort, an oasis for my fellow travelers in this desert world. I won't know if I have been vouchsafed this because it should be transparent to me. So I will continue to talk with God in my daily life to keep humility in my own mind.
Even more than a spirit humble in daily life, however, is the title of this post. I woke this morning seeking gratitude. Not from others but for myself. I am deeply grateful for what I have in this desert world yet I do not carry that gratitude in my spirit. I acknowledge it in a conscious fashion if I called to do so but it does not flow from me like the wellspring I wish it to be. And what I most want is that I can live in the awareness of my gratitude to God for those answered prayers, for that spark that is my life struck off the flint of the eternal.
I say, "Lord, I would be humble, I would be grateful. I will try to quiet myself to allow the blessings I have undeservedly received to fill my life." For all that I do myself, I then ask that these blessings of spirit inform my every day.

I am not hugely inclined to such self revelation here on PoW, but part of what I am coming to feel about what I have asked for, requires that I be open about it. I appreciate you, reader, coming here. I wish no less blessing on you than I wish on myself. I'd like to be a part of the good of your life even if just a small smile on some snarky blog post. There is but one thing left to say in this post though: God bless you.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Tea Drinkin'
Here's a picture of the basics of the current consumption of tea:

Everything comes from Amazon.com with the teapot being a gift. The electric tea kettle (cordless, the keen of eye may note) is a replacement of the one I had been using which went flaky in that it wouldn't reliably click on. And the tea is a brand I'd heard much about, called by many the best tea they'd ever had. I won't go that far but it is very good. Excellent in point of fact. What's unusual about it, from my limited perspective, is that the "tips" are the most finely granulated tea leaves I've ever seen. Lileks once referred to coffee as being ground so fine it was "weaponized." Well, this is that in tea.
The taste is a very clean black tea flavor. It brews in about as long as it takes to pour the hot water into the pot and it's a very clear brew - translucent, not even a hint of cloudiness.
I made a couple of mistakes in doing my buying this time though. I bought by clicking the "one click" button and then forgetting to switch the delivery to free super saver shipping. And I find a couple of days later that there's a page of Amazon coupon codes which included a coupon code for 20% off PG Tips. D'oh!
And I've ordered probably a lot more than I really need. If you come to visit me, I just may send you home with a package of loose PG Tips. But I'm not paying for shipping again!

Wherein We Take The Mickey Out Of The Belgians

1. You get to speak three languages, but none of them intelligibly.
2. If other countries want to fight a war, they will do it in your country.
3. You can brew drinks out of fruit and still call it beer.
4. You are either a) like the Dutch, just less efficient, b) like the French, just less romantic, c) like the Germans.
5. Decent fries. Real mayonnaise. Great chocolate. The best beer.
6. No one knows anything about you, except for the Dutch and French and they make fun of you.
7. More scandals in a week than any other country in a decade.
8. You can drive like a maniac on the road and nobody cares.
9. All your famous countrymen are either imaginary, or sex-offenders.
10. Face it. It's not really a country, is it?

I love Roller Coasters…Here on Six Flags ”Goliath” …
note the gaping mouths..like hungry baby birds..
You will see I can feed a family of four for the
cost of three slices of greasy pepperoni pizza and two beers..

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Kinda Cheeses Me Off
I learned a word today in the crossword puzzle. That ticks me off because I figure I should already know any word (apart from foreign words and proper names and some specific cultural references, like anything pop music-y in about the last ten years) appearing in a crossword puzzle.
What was the word? Estival. Go look it up.
UPDATE: OK then. I'll use it in a sentence. "The weather here is ridiculously estival."
UPDATE UPDATE: This is to note my screwup and acknowledge that I've edited this post. I originally wrote down the word as "estivial" but the X-word actually had it as "estival." So I changed the word in the body of my post (as the point was not that I learned a wrong word but learned a word, period.) I stand, sit and lie down (both prone and supine) corrected.

And in other business, further adventures in XP land. Well, not really. I'm waiting on the delivery of memory modules which are slated to arrive on Tuesday. I will give Dell credit on making a minitower that opens easily but such a design feature is about as easy as designing a knob on a car radio. But I will say that ease of access is a good thing.
So. Memory comes. Install it. Boot up to see if i can get the system to run better than it did before. See if I can get a service pack installed. If not, I do another back up, reinstall XP and restore files. It'll be interesting to see how it works as I've never done that on the Windows side.
On the other hand (I will run out of hands pretty soon), the USB drive to which I backed up the XP system runs cleanly off the Dell. My iMac does not deliver sufficient power through a single USB port to run the 320 GB drive (it runs the 80 GB drive I've been backing up to though). So to back up my system in the future, I'm going to have to get a "Y" cable that'll pull power from two USB slots. (sigh) Not a huge problem but ... (sigh).
I'm thinking that a new iMac would let me run a Windows OS in Boot Camp. Not that I really want to run Windows but I'd like to be conversant on both (major) sides of the OSes. It might be fun to try a beta version of Windows 7 on my Mac.
Tomorrow there will be tea blogging.

Friday, March 06, 2009

There are three side effects of acid: enhanced long-term memory, decreased short-term memory, and I forget the third. -Timothy Leary

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Things That Make you "Hurl!"

!!Woo-hoo..Boy!! it’s “Tot Roast” for dinner..
the other white meat….
Garnish with a clove of garlic pacifier and Au Jus filled diaper
and you’re talking “Good Eats””

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Things That Make You Go "Awww!"
The Pennywell Farm piglets:

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Holy ... OK Then: Wow!
Apple has just released the new iMac line. Beautiful stuff. Single sheet aluminum body, speed, memory and drive size bumps all around. One can now get a 24 inch iMac with a 2.66 GHz processor and a 640 GB hard drive for $1500. That is one hell of a machine for a price unseen previously.
And that's even mentioning all the built-in doodads like the iSight camera and the way-cool application suite that comes with the latest iteration of OS X.

Enigmatic Misanthrope Ceiling Mural- an authentic illusion of real sky that will transform a confined interior into a space of beauty and freshness.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Snow Day!
Whee! The day dawned grey and snowy with actual snow whipping the neighborhood as the tip of the lash of big wind. By now, the streets are plowed and some very nice neighbors helped me out with the shoveling (thank you!). Luckily I have more to do even sitting at my desk than I'd ever want and, I'm rather happy to say, that I'm devoting my attention to a friend's PC that's been flakier than a good Southern biscuit.
What's that you say? A Mac guy going all MacGyver on a PC? Damn skippy. I want to be able to fix anything. Lycurgus is the engineering genius in the family but I can learn. And I'm making progress. The Dell's wireless connection is now up and stable. I'm running the disk defragmenter now (oooh! 22% done!) and once that's done, I'm going to try to get Service Pack 2 properly installed, a current version of Internet Explorer and then the free version of AVG anti-virus software in place. I did put Firefox on the machine but I learn that Microsoft is only willing to do updates through IE. Also, the version of XP running on the machine is aged enough that the AVG software ,which I've already installed, doesn't want to run on it. That'll change.
It does leave me wonder though - how do you people deal with what Windows puts you through? God bless ya.
UPDATE: I think I see a problem with this machine - 384 MB of RAM. Not even half a gig. Yikes. I've suggested to the owner she buy a couple of 512 MB memory modules.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Three Words:
Shark Attack Cupcakes.
(Followed by four more: I 'ess' you not.)