Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Homeownership

Saturday morning the grass in the front yard was blistering up in a big mound with water sprinkling out the edges. The city shut off our water supply, we went without water for a couple of days, and yesterday the plumbing people and the backhoe people dug a huge trench in our yard and repaired the broken pipe. The checking account is bruised, but water is restored.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Alert

This just in from the police via one of our e-mail lists: if you see a burgundy Chevrolet Impala, South Carolina license plate GQB 528, it's casing the area for a break-in.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Is Nothing Sacred?

Sigh. Bob Woodward just said "noocular." Twice.

Shoe Repair

1 - 2 Shoe Renew does good work. I've owned the same pair of Rockport shoes for 17 years and recently had them resoled there.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Uncle Roger

A dear friend died last month. He was the father of childhood neighbors and playmates, but my sister and I spent so much time at their house that Mr. and Mrs. Banner very soon became Uncle Roger and Aunt Ceci. He was 92 years old when he passed away November 6th. He's buried in Union Cemetery in Leesburg, VA, a few hundred yards from our childhood home.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Video

Isn't it fun how you can be gazing out the kitchen window over a sinkful of dishes in hot water, thinking back to that funny bit from years ago where Sam Kinison appeared on Carson, and then moments later you can saunter over to the laptop and instantly find it?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Amadeus

I never saw the movie Amadeus, but yesterday the kids and I made the jaunt to Raleigh to watch Kimberly sing in the chorus for a stage-production version of it. Most fabulous it was. Very nice. I'd recommend it, but it's over.

Monday, November 29, 2010

AdventureDad

Look at my niece and brother and their chickens.

SemiBiAnnually

So there I was at Milltown in Carrboro, happily sipping a cold draft De Koninck, making the emphatic point that biannual means every other year. The gadget people in attendance were able to pull up online definitions showing the primary definition to be "twice yearly" and a secondary definition of "biennial," or "occurring every two years." And I was thinking that my Merriam Webster would know better. It did not. I find this unacceptable.

Our bicentennial celebration has occurred only once, correctly, in 1976--not twice centennially since 1776. If the incorrect definition had been applied here, we would by now have four bicentennial celebrations under our American belts. We do not.

Merriam Webster's primary definition of bimonthly is "occurring every two months." There's further confusion. The adjective biweekly is primarily defined as "occurring twice a week," but the noun biweekly is "a publication issued every two weeks."

Merriam Webster adds this little blurb, about bi- generally: "This ambiguity has been in existence for nearly a century and a half and cannot be eliminated by the dictionary. The chief difficulty is that many users of these words assume that others know exactly what they mean, and they do not bother to make their context clear."

Reminds me of the this/next confusion. "I'll see you next Sunday." "Wait, do you mean this Sunday or next Sunday?" "I mean the next Sunday that will be upon us." "Wait, so, this Sunday?" "I don't know anymore." And so on.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bee

Tonight we're going to the Spelling Bee. I'm going to contest.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In-Laws At Sea

Kimberly's parents loaded up their sailboat and shoved off from New Bern Sunday morning for a 6-month adventure. We get these nifty little daily alerts in our e-mail inboxes to let us know where they are. Here's yesterday evening's check-in.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An Interesting Day

High, high excitement this morning as I worked a volunteer shift at Jane's elementary school's book fair. A 5th-grade boy wandered around the hallways before class with an armload of new books (including multiple copies of the same book), handing them out to his friends. Then a horrible rumor started: he'd stolen them! The assistant principal and the book-fair organizer started asking questions, and, no, he hadn't stolen them. One of the cashiers specifically remembered his paying--very proudly and ostentatiously--with a $100 bill.

Then his mother showed up at the school in tears. She was wailing and carrying on, and no one could calm her down enough to figure out why she was upset. We're still not sure why she came to the school to report this, but it turns out money was stolen from her purse that morning (at home, at the school? It's not clear). So, yes, the son had stolen $100 from his mother and promptly spent $81 of it at the book fair. Recovering the books became an hourslong ordeal, because the friends to whom he had distributed the loot were scattered among several classes. All but one book was recovered. Bottom-line loss to the mother: $6.99.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Heh

A soccer friend showed me this.

Go to Google Maps.
Click "get directions."
Enter Japan as start point, China as destination.
Scroll down to #43.

Not technically the Pacific, but still cute. Another soccer friend pointed out similar cuteness for San Diego to Honolulu, at #15, this time with a kayak.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Unnecessary Censorship

Jimmy Kimmel's show has this clever thing called Unnecessary Censorship, which I find kneeslappingly funny.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Random Video Fun

Some fun video links that have nothing to do with anything.

A vegetable orchestra.

This guy has 3 cm clearance on each side to park his car.

Kittens on a slide.

This could be a Wheel of Fortune record.

Some bloopers: Little House, Back to the Future, Waltons.

Steve Martin's atheist song.

Remember this one? It's FunnySad.

Awwwww, awwwwww, and awwwwwww.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Play Slam

Friday night I attended my first Play Slam at the ArtsCenter. Big, big fun. I hope to go again next year. My friend Paul submitted a script and had his play performed, though he didn't win. Sniff.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pictures

Ooo, check it out. FriendGregg came to town and took pictures.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Monday Lunch

Halloween night lasted until well past 10 pm, so it was a good thing that the kids had no school Monday. A neighbor friend had to go in to work for a meeting and asked me would I mind her kids for two hours and she'd bring some lunch over. Lunch was a big ol' casserole dish packed with lasagna, enough for at least ten kids. And since ten kids were hanging around that day, woo hoo, group lunch! Another neighbor friend brought grapes, I sliced apples, and presto--lunch.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Meh

I'm halfway through a Dutch movie called Wat Zien Ik. I don't like it so far. I like silly movies and all, but the silliness lacks something I can't put my tookus on.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Omraam Time

It's been too long since we last heard from our friend Omraam. Here's a good one.

"Before any kind of undertaking, wise people begin by reflecting; they consider all aspects of the work they have to do or the problem they have to solve; then, they bring love into it, that is to say, a taste for the task to be carried out and an interest in it; lastly, they decide to begin the work that will carry the plan through. So, we can say that wise people conceive of something clearly in their mind, which they then strengthen and bring to life through feelings of love and, finally, bring to fruition thanks to an unshakeable will.

"And now let's see how most humans go about things. They launch suddenly into action without having properly studied the plan; then, obviously, they come up against obstacles, they suffer and lament, and it is only after having thoroughly lamented that they end up reflecting on the reasons for their failure."

Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov

I'm clearly in the "most humans" category.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Request

Are you one of these people who, when someone asks "Is today Thursday?" you answer "All day"? If so, please stop. Don't do that anymore.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Strange Book

I've been having great fun since our branch library re-opened after renovations, especially with that nifty online thing where I can select books from any other branch and have them delivered to ours. I have so many holds in various queues that I've lost track. On the reserve shelf today in my name was a book called The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. wtf. I don't remember requesting that one. I'm confused. Inside the front flap it says "Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers." Whoa. This thing had better be good.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Candidate Whitey

Oh my, this poor candidate's name was misspelled as "Whitey" on a Chicago ballot. My stomach hurts from laughing.

An Author

One of my BobFriends (there are four Bobs in our group)--after soccer last night at the pub--recommended an author whose books he's reading: Ian Sansom. While the man has no business switching the n and m in his name like that, I'll assume his writing might be good. He's on my list.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sears

Here's a thoughtful article about childhood vaccinations.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sex

This short piece (when did we start calling them "pieces?") about sex ed for kids reminds me what a good word "homunculus" is.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Album

I crossed paths today with a good album, Themes from French Cinema. It's jazzy with violins.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fall Has Arrived

I refuse to allow the persistent scourge of mid-80s-October-days here in Durham to dissuade me from embracing the arrival of fall. Loyal readers will have seen this before: my favorite autumn essay of all time.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I was intrigued by this story about a tarantula-eating teacher, until I realized it had been baked (the tarantula). That's no fun.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Orwell

I'd years ago read and reread the standard 12 or 14 George Orwell essays in the mainstream canon, but lately I've been digging into some of his off-the-path essays and reviews. A brief 1940 write-up of a London performance of The Tempest begins, "If there is really such a thing as turning in one's grave, Shakespeare must get a lot of exercise." He has a lot to say about Henry Miller, whom I've never read, so I've added him to my list.

Oh, and yesterday I watched a silly thing called Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. It was like a substanceless 1950s sit-com. I don't think I've ever seen a Cary Grant movie with any kind of depth.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

O Fractious Day

In addition to scraping various parts of her skin on Manford's asphalt, Jane broke her wrist in a spectacular scooter fall two days ago. The urgent care clinic visit Tuesday night netted a fetching splint, but this morning's trip to Duke orthopedics meant an upgrade to a real cast. It's orange, and she's very proud.

There were three breaks: ulna and distal radius buckle fractures and a thin crack extending up the middle of the distal radius. Before Tuesday, I didn't know those words.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dee!

I'm glad to know that Dee Snider is still working. My brother and I were big Twisted Sister fans back in the day.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wow

A friend of mine told me recently that this placed called High Point University had created a position called Director of WOW! It's true. Said he, "My job will be over when everyone involved with High Point is a creator of "WOW'."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Language

From an e-mail sent to us players by the organizers of the over-40 soccer league:

"You have heard it before, but WATCH THE LANGUAGE. We share venues with youth teams and have received emails from parents this season. We have asked the officials to crack down on the bad language, so do not complain if you receive a red card for cursing on the field."

Naughty boys.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Trader Joe's Responds

Here's the answer from Trader Joe's, when I asked if it was true that they refuse to disclose the sources of their products.

"Trader Joe's and it's [sic] private labeled products are privately owned, therefore we follow a very strict disclosure policy along side [sic] our suppliers. Due to this policy, we do not disclose any of our suppliers [sic] information."

In other words, "Fuck You."

Bummer.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Moving

The problem with living in a town that earns a "ranking" is that it may attract the sorts of people who would uproot themselves and move to a new place based on a magazine story. Sure, I love being in community with all sorts of people, and we'll have a great time getting to know each other and forming connections and roots and relationships, but then you'll move away when next year's magazine story comes out.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New Book

One of the most adorable kids at our church-like-place has Lulu-published her first book. Apparently it'll be available at places like the Regulator in about 6 weeks.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Food

That naughty Trader Joe's refuses to divulge where it gets some of its food.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dr. Murrill

Emma's math teacher had already won points for singing the Freddie Mercury parts of "We Will Rock You" while the kids stomped and clapped, but now--because the math textbook is so big and heavy--he gives the kids the textbook on CD to use for homework.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Name

Our men's singing group needs a name. inCantation has been suggested, but that's been taken. So has Sons of Pitches. Must think more.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Weekend Review

It was a manly weekend. Saturday morning was the inaugural rehearsal of a new 20-voice men's singing group. We sang and sang and sang and it was good fun. That afternoon I played a game with my geezer league soccer team; we lost 4 to 1, but I still had a good time. Sunday was not a day of rest. This evening at 7 pm we had another soccer game, which we tied 1 to 1. It was the funnest game yet, with plenty of running and kicking the ball and shoving each other and sprinting and yelling and cursing and laughing and then shaking hands at the end.

Off to bed now, up at 6:10 am to start the first breakfast shift.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sexuality Time

OWL season is upon us, and I'll be teaching another year of sex ed. Tonight we present an orientation to parents of the 8th graders enrolled in our course. It's a hoot. Heh. Hoot. OWL.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Food

Tonight I'll be steaming mussels in white wine and then pickling jalapenos in vinegar with cumin and coriander. Wish me luck.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Bergama

I should now like to register a strong recommendation for the Bergama restaurant on Hillsborough Road. Seriously yummy. The four of us agreed that the falafel was the best ever, better even than the falafel at Baba Ghanouj on 54 (that is, better than the falafel under the former ownership/management; falafel and baba haven't been the same for the past year or two).

The nice Bergama people gave us a warm basket of bread and some kind of oil dip with garlic and tomatoes in it. Yes.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dude

It amazes me that this person is a public servant.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Soccer

Geezer League is officially on hiatus for Labor Day weekend, but our excellent coach has arranged a Saturday morning scrimmage with another team. Yay.

Last Night's Listening

The "Digital Overload" episode of Fresh Air was only so-so. A much better interview is with Hamlet's Blackberry's William Powers on the Diane Rehm show. Brains need breaks; brains can't multitask; the more information we consume, the weaker our memory becomes; obsessive checking of e-mail and devices because "something really good might be there this time" is an addiction, etc. etc. I'm 13th in the library queue for the book.

Books and a Movie

A list of my recent media exposure follows. Anatomy of an Illness, The Divided Mind, (I really enjoyed these two: ideas/theories/practices I long ago figured out from my own personal experience are nicely explained, with the backing of research even), Adaptations (the best story collection I've ever encountered), Bob le flambeur (Bob is one cool cat). Next up: Molecules of Emotion and Skinny Bitch.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Today

Today evaporated in a flurry of roof repair: sawing and prying and more sawing and screwing (hee hee) and caulking and so on and so on. Boring.

What I'm most looking forward to after supper is listening to an episode of Fresh Air called "Digital Overload," which I will experience digitally on my mp3 player. I caught about 4 minutes of it in the car when it aired, and the host said something about how when she opens her e-mail she's immediately submitting to the agendas of scores of other people instead of doing things she'd like to be doing. That resonated with me. I hope the whole show is good.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Soccer

A few weeks ago I joined a geezer league soccer team, and it's been good, good fun. I love it. We didn't win Saturday's game (it was 1 to zero), but I still had a good time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Deal

Lean Cuisine meals are on sale at Harris Teeter this week (VIC week is Wednesday to Tuesday), 4 for $10.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Two Items

Emma starts middle school Wednesday. Tonight she met all her teachers, bought a locker lock and a t-shirt, and was handed a schedule with seven classes each day. The first bell rings at 7:22. As in a.m.

In other news, my friend Jenny is launching a new project: Durham Family Theatre.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Trendy

Am I old-fashioned? Should I try to become more "trendy"? Would getting a 'Brazilian' be a good start? Would an Aqua Velva man do such a thing?

Oh no, not the related-video feature again. Make it stop.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back In Town

Last year's home break-in plays a part in my decision not to announce travel plans ahead of time (and friends just two streets over suffered a break-in last Friday), so now that we're back, I can confess we were visiting family in Cape May, New Jersey. We have returned, and I'm looking forward to staying put for many months.

Quantum of Solace is the most recent addition to the movies-I've-seen list. I liked it, and I especially liked watching it on DVD because I can fast-forward through all the annoying car chase and fight scenes. I'm not a fan of those. Movies sometimes make their way onto my maybe-I'll-see-that-one-soon radar, though I tend to forget them over time. At the moment I'm thinking of Glengarry Glen Ross and The Human Stain.

Oh, hey, Oscar Mayer has a nitrite-free hot dog.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

School's on the way

The "camps" are over (why do we call those summer things "camps"?) and the new school year will be with us soon. Emma's both excited and nervous about starting middle school. Jane talks about how much she'll miss her sister in the mornings; Emma will be out the door before Jane wakes up. In the past my routine was to prepare breakfast for two shifts--kids, then grownups. In a few weeks, that'll rise to three. Three! Three Breakfast Shifts! Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha. (the Count, from Sesame Street?)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Stuck Songs

I have Lady Gaga's "Alejandro" in my head, and it won't stop. Earlier tonight it was Robbie Dupree's "Steal Away."

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Video Clip

My friend Michael shared this. It's funny.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Tonight's Fun

We spent our Friday night at Jack Sprat listening to friends play jazz. It was good.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Movie

If Colin Fitz Lives comes to town, let me know, and let's go see it.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Today's Dad Camp Excursion

While Jane went with a friend to Marbles Museum in Raleigh, I took Emma to the Ackland in Chapel Hill. She'd been there on a field trip and wanted to show me around. Not a bad little place. Nice art.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Back from CO

We've been out of town for the past week, first visiting my brother and his family in Denver, and then hanging around Estes Park for Kimberly's family's triennial reunion. A smashing good time, all around. The highlight for me was finally visiting the Stanley Hotel. Last night I watched Kubrick's version of The Shining, and now I'm looking for a rental of the later one. I'd seen them both many years ago but I've forgotten most of the content.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Things I Learn

I learned something new from my daughters today. Well, from my younger daughter. Apparently when someone uses two fingers to put little rabbit ears behind your head, it means, "I want to take you home and sex you." Hm. Apparently she heard this from someone. Older daughter is skeptical.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rainbows

I really am a simpleton at heart. Poor Kimberly sometimes asks me what I'm thinking, and I have to level with her and admit I've been pondering gnat droppings or tree leaves or some other such piffle. Recently I've been contemplating rainbows. Specifically, why were we taught to memorize indigo as part of the spectrum? It doesn't fit the pattern. If you count only the six, ROY G BV, there's a lovely pattern that loops back around to form a circle, since blue and red make violet. But indigo--whose idea was that, I wonder.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lawbstuh

I just got off the phone with a friend from Maine. He mentioned lobster boats in the bay, and now I want lobster. Both my parents grew up in New Hampshire, so we spent many a vacation there near the coast. Lobster. Man, it was good. We'd eat them in restaurants, run-down roadside shacks with paper-covered tables, or at our grandparents' house. Boiled lobster, baked lobster tail, lobster salad sandwiches. I want lobster.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Roof Update

After removing a satellite nest of carpenter ants from an upper corner of the house and spraying the beBuddha out of it before replacing the rotten wood with help of FriendTony, I've started gathering new-roof quotes because my attempts to shove in drip-edge along the side of the roof failed due to brittle shingles.

While Pickard Roofing's quote today of $5,500 displeased me greatly, the news was tempered by the estimator-guy's honest assessment that we really won't need a roof replacement for another three to five years.

I celebrate.

With Schlitz.

Pilobolus

Interesting dance troupe.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Birthday Girl

Happy Birthday to Jane! She's 8 today. Ice cream cake, balloons, presents, etc. Fun, fun, fun.

Movie Review

Friday night we rented Alice in Wonderland. Meh. Not bad, but only sort of okay. It was mildly engaging, but not even close to arresting. The person playing Alice was depth-less, I thought. Not much presence, rather like Kiersten Dunst and Audrey Tautou.

Non-Alcoholic Beer

I'm a pretty adventurous guy, so today with lunch I drank a non-alcoholic beer, just for fun and to see what it tasted like. It was an Erdinger Hefeweizen. I won't be doing that again. It was crap. Yuck. Horrible. Total Shit. I couldn't finish it.

Last Friday

Friday afternoon following the show finale of the girls' arts camp, we headed to the Scratch baking company for snacks. I ate a tomato sandwich. It was good--seriously good. Tomatoes are in season, Scratch bakes its own bread, and they make their own mayonnaise. The mayonnaise was the best part. I'm a fan of mayo.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ach

Overdosing on Billy Connolly. Help. Can't stop thinking in a Scottish accent.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Book Review -- Cheap

I enjoyed Cheap so much I'm going to read it again. It's dense with information and stories and historical perspectives--a very good book. There are many references to Dan Ariely's work, which I find similarly engaging. Wal-Mart receives plenty of treatment, and Ikea gets a seriously good skewering. Craftsmanship? Who the hell wants that? Not only do we not want to pay for craftsmanship, most people deeply believe they don't deserve it.

There are well-developed discussions of cheap food and its effect on health. The author references a New England Journal of Medicine article that delivers a somber forecast about children these days: members of that generation will likely be the first in history to die younger than their parents.

Oh, and this paragraph has stayed with me. If you're eating right now, stop. It's about pig shit, er, manure lagoons: "I've probably smelled stronger odors in my life, but nothing so insidiously and instantaneously nauseating. It takes my mind a second or two to get through the odor's first coat. The smell at its core has a frightening, uniquely enriched putridity, both deep-sweet and high-sour. I back away from it and walk back to the car but I remain sick--it's a shivery, retchy kind of nausea--for a good five minutes. That's apparently characteristic of industrial pig shit: it keeps making you sick for a good while after you've stopped smelling it."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A message for Tony

Tony,

I think my friends would tell me I'm going too far in giving you the benefit of the doubt here (your "asda codes" links in the comments section are pretty standard troll-behavior), but since you might actually be an interested, honest reader and an all-around nice guy, here's your test. In the comments section:

1) Tell us a little bit about who you are and where you live now.
2) Explain why your "Tony" link doesn't lead to an authentic Blogger profile.
3) You said you saw the movie L'auberge espagnole. Explain exactly where and when you saw it, and your favorite parts of the movie. Discuss obscure scenes or details that can't be found online in reviews or summaries.
4) Lastly, in every comment from now on, leave out any hotlinks.

This test is pass/fail. Go to it, man!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Cheap

I'm reading a good book called Cheap. In the chapter describing the history of discount culture in the U.S., the author talks about stores' attempts to stock very cheap items--"essentially what most people sought or could be persuaded to buy most of the time." "What this means to customers even today is that a trip to a discount store often begins with high hopes, moves on to a frustrated search, and ends happily in a surprising number of unanticipated purchases."

I've made it to page 68, an indication that I like the book (I usually stop between pages 30 and 50 if I'm not pleased). I'll say more when I'm done.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Movies for the List

I have to write these down quickly before I forget them. At tonight's neighborhood 4th street-fireworks bash, a neighbor recommended two movies: America America and In July. They're on my list.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Radical Homemaking

This article had me laughing out loud many times. One of my favorite parts was about the tiny goat-moms and their K2 SUVs. I've never tried canning, and I have no desire to start.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Flying Car

Oh, hell yes. Flying car. Sign me up. No more traffic jams. Yeah. Seriously though, that thing is just adorable. Like maybe you could put it in your pocket.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fishing

One of my soccer friends entered a fishing tournament last week and told the tale of someone who lost 1.2 million dollars because he forgot to get a fishing license before the tournament. Youchza. Here's the story.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father's Day Update

I was going to sleep late on Sunday, but since it was Father's Day, Emma and Jane woke me with breakfast in bed. Man, those two kids. They made a nice tray with a glass of flowers and proudly paraded it into the bedroom. Emma had cooked scrambled eggs with bacon bits and shredded cheddar cheese. She had also harvested basil and parsley from our herb garden, diced them, and tossed them in with the eggs. The kid's got talent. This was much better than sleeping in.

More House Stuff

While I was on the roof trying to shove in pieces of drip-edge to prevent more wood rotting in the future, I discovered that the shingles are cracking and falling apart as I grab them. So I'm thinking about a new roof (just shingles, that is). No rush, but I'll probably start collecting quotes. If you have recommendations, gimme gimme.

House Stuff

Tony helped me with some carpentry at the house today. I'd always been a normal wood putty man, but today he told me about a thing called Bondo. After he left, I went out and bought some, brought it back and used it to patch some rotten wood. Whoa, it's serious stuff. You can shape it and use it like putty, but it starts to harden in about 4 minutes.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Birthday Party

Our friend Don Hartman turns 80 today. Sunday he had a party and there was cake and ice cream and people sang and played the piano and there was, get this, a clown. A real clown. Who did magic.

World Cup

Saturday afternoon I took the girls along to the Speakeasy so I could watch World Cup soccer. They alternated between reading from their big stack of books, running around outside on the ATC lawn, or sharing snacks with me (calamari and chips & salsa). Denmark surprised me by beating Cameroon.

The Fugitive

Just as remarkable as the frequency with which one finds The Fugitive on a late-night TV station is how good it is, every time. I've channel-surf-tripped over it dozens of times, and I'm always mesmerized.

Grandma Katie

Kimberly was in Wichita last weekend for her Grandma Katie's funeral. It was a mixture of sad and happy, as such things go. The family took Grandma Katie's ashes along for one last wagon train ride.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mexico Won!

I just watched the highlights of today's France Mexico World Cup game. You may hear people bellyaching about how the Mexican player was offside before he scored, and if you hear this, tell them I authorized you to bellow a hearty "bullshit." The French defender was employing an old trick called the "offside trap," and it is the epitome of a chickenshit maneuver. Instead, the defender should have played actual soccer and worked to defend against the attacker. The linesman responsible for monitoring this was correct: no offside call was warranted.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Creepy!

Dead man's cell phone rings inside coffin.

Great Wolf Time

We'll be trekking to see family up in New Jersey in August, and on the way we're staying a night at Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg. It's the night of August 12th. If you go that night, enter code WOLF at checkout and it knocks the price down a bit.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Two Things

Today after camp, Jane was in the backseat of the car telling Emma that old yarn about how if you get rabies, you have to get 20 shots in the stomach. I remember people saying that when I was a kid too, but (without Googling), I'm going to go out on a limb and say that doesn't make sense. Injecting medicine in the stomach area shouldn't get it into your system any more quickly than a shot in the arm or leg.

I've been watching only snippets of World Cup games, as time permits. A soccer friend sent this lego summary of the US-England game.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Soccer

The "cable" TV package we buy from TimeWarner is the $17.00 bare bones option. No ESPN, Comedy Channel, etc. But Lawd Hep Meh, Univision--which is part of our package--is showing every World Cup game live.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Movie

I just finished watching L'auberge espagnole. It was cute and fun, but sort of "fluffy," I guess, if that makes sense. Not super interesting. Light. Nifty. Something like that.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Two Things

We made the late-night scene at Beyú tonight. There was fun and yumminess.

Tomorrow night the girls will be performing in a piano recital. I just asked them how they feel. Their answers: "Nervous, excited, and a bit, and I'm wondering what's going to happen, and if I'll get my piece wrong or get it right and um and if I, and hoping the people will like the music, and that it's a good recital."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Books

Now that the Shannon Road branch library has re-opened, we'll be at the library much more often. That it's within walking distance from our house is most helpful. Last week the kids finally got their own library check-out cards and have started tinkering with the self-checkout stations.

And then just today I read this article at Salon. Books. More books. Go get books.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Accord

Because the trunk of Kimberly's Honda Accord would fill with water after every rain, I had the good gentlemen of Crown Honda lay on hands. Ah, the gaskets around the tail-lights need replacing, they said. So they did that. Then the leaking continued. Back I went. Ah, said the dude after a few hours, I found where a drainage tube had come loose and so I stuck it back in there and glued it on. Then the leaking continued. So I took the car back and the same dude spent three hours with it but couldn't get water to leak into the the trunk.

So he tells me he says we know this guy, and he's really really good with water leaks into cars, and I can get him here next Tuesday for you. Okay. Today was Tuesday, so last night we dropped the car off and today the really-really-good-with-leaks guy had a crack at it for a good five hours or so and says it's fixed. He says it was part of the sunroof drain system that was leaking. Okay. So here we are, waiting for the next rain to find out. Fingers are crossed.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Frankie's

I've lived in Durham for 18 years, and tonight I visited Frankie's for the first time. Dude. The kids loved it. We had fun. And the restaurant food was good. I watched someone win 1,000 arcade tickets on the Wheel of Fortune game. I played Indiana Jones pinball. We all won a bunch of tickets, and the girls cashed them in at the end of the evening for cheap little plastic things at the counter.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Omraam

My, but it's been a long time since we've heard from Omraam.

When there is nothing obliging them to respond, to make an effort, human beings tend to let themselves go. They need difficulties and trials, and then they rally and mobilize their energies to put the situation right. And when they have succeeded, that's it - they let themselves go again and fall back into laziness. Well, it's a mistake to adjust your behavior to changes in the outside world. You should always keep on working, whatever else is happening, because work must always be your priority.

Conditions improve, and difficulties work themselves out. That's all very well, but it's no reason for slowing down your activity. On the contrary, you should learn to use these conditions by devoting more time to working with your mind and building your inner being.

-- Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov

Monday, May 24, 2010

Library Time

Oh goodie goodie goodie goodie, the Southwest branch library is finally open. They have books and self checkout and everything. And when you place a hold online for a book, Southwest is now finally in the pull-down menu for delivery locations. Goodie.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kristen Wiig

Y'ever seen Kristen Wiig's "just kidding" bit? Funny.

Bonus: 10 more Wiigy videos.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thyroid

It occurs to me to ask: how's your thyroid these days?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Soggy

A friend of mine has a rain gauge and said 4.5 inches fell last night.

I had to look up "gauge."

Monday, May 17, 2010

Miscellany

It's time for another edition of Random Thoughts and Web Links. Here we go.

The rain falls hard. The ground is soaked. The yard is flooded.

I sleep much more soundly at night knowing other people are worrying about who will be awarded contracts to operate television screens on buses in Inner Mongolia.

Look, something called a personal mobility device. I gotta get me one of those.

As unbelievable as this sounds, someone actually opened a new independent book store. As in, an actual store where you can walk inside and look at books and sit in comfy chairs and everything. It's called Flyleaf Books.

We watched Matilda in its entirety Sunday night. It's good.

My mom visited this weekend from Ohio. We had good fun and did plenty of eating and it was fun. Did I mention fun? She flew back today. Sniff.

I just started reading The Book of Lost Things. Too early to comment.

I finished Pat Conroy's South of Broad. The man's got some chops. It was a moderately decent book, though he isn't very good at writing dialogue.

Who says you need a license to become a commercial pilot? Ha!

This article resonated with me: I've found that avoiding screens after dinner helps me sleep better.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ella

We found Ella-the-dog at the Chapel Hill pound when she was a puppy, back in 1994 when we'd been married just one month. She was a good dog. Lately she'd lost her hearing, had a nosedive in cognitive ability that caused her to walk in small circles all day, couldn't use her back legs well, and spent at least one night this week sleeping in her own waste. It was time. She had her "final vet visit" late this afternoon. We miss her already.

A soccer clip

Oooo, Totti did a naughty thing by kicking someone. Word has it the other guy had insulted him a few minutes earlier.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Eating Out

Goodness, some people have strong opinions about eating out with children. Chill already. As with any open forum, the true literary gems can be found in the comment section.

Again with the movies

I was talking today to a "film" friend who told me there's still anger in Lumberton, NC because Blue Velvet is set there but was actually shot in Wilmington. Dennis Hopper looks so cute and young!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Movie?

If anyone has seen In Bruges, I'd love to hear thoughts. Is it very violent?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Movie

I'd never seen Matilda before. Saturday night I got to watch about 33.3% of it. I'm hooked. It's on our family-movie-night list.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

42

It's my birthday. I'm 42. Woo hoo. Yay, etc.

My sister and niece sent me this. I like it. I'm still smiling.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Things

I find it hilarious that it took a Belgian to tell me all about the Trans-America Trail. I'd never heard of it. Tomorrow morning my friend Stefaan and his wife are starting their bicycle ride from here to Portland, Oregon. Tonight was beer-with-the-Flemish-people night at Tyler's. Stefaan rode his already-fully-packed bike, and while he was up at the bar ordering another round, Dirk joked that we should unpack all his stuff and replace his things with bottles of Duvel. And tomorrow on the road he'd be wondering why his bike feels so heavy, and what are all those clinking sounds. Hahahahahaha. But we didn't do that. Still, it was a funny idea.

Emma's tick bite was extra swollen and itchy today, so I took her in to the clinic. Not Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever, but the doc was concerned enough to prescribe an ointment and oral antibiotics.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wicked song

Ahhhhhhhhh! Help! Ever since we saw Wicked at the DPAC Sunday, this song won't stop playing and playing and playing in my brain.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tick Season

Yesterday I pulled a tick out of Emma's belly button and then swabbed the wound with alcohol. This morning it was red and itchy, so we swabbed again, filled her belly button with triple antibiotic ointment, and pasted on a bandage. After school we cleaned it out again, more ointment, and another bandage. I'm watching that thing, 'cuz tick-borne illnesses are no fun.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spring

Because I yanked up several bucketsworth of poison ivy this week, I'm pretty sure spring has arrived. And I went through two tubes of caulk. Will I ever stop finding little places in the siding where critters can take up residence in our house? No. No, I won't. And the wasps just love to build tubes behind the shutters. Last week I gouged out at least 10 mud tubes from the rungs in the extension ladder that hangs under the porch. They'd been sealed up with little soft white grub wasp babies inside, walled in with those narcotic-injected spiders for later snacking. Ew.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Reading

My friend Melissa is at it again, this time with a reading at Quail Ridge in Raleigh.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Web MD

Here's an article on using the Web to self-diagnose. My favorite sentence includes the line "...countless worriers have Googled themselves into a lather..."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Woodstock

There's a whole lot I didn't know about Woodstock, especially in the section on declined invitations.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Worms

A recent episode of This American Life had a segment on parasites. This guy Jasper Lawrence makes a living selling hookworms to people who have allergy problems.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Four Points

Boy, I'm nothing close to a "real" "film" person. (I already knew this, mainly because I still call them "movies." I also still use the word "preview.") When I took the snob IQ test, I scored only 4 points total: 3 for Oliver Stone and 1 for having heard of Ridley Scott.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Birthday Girl


Yesterday was Emma's birthday. She's now 11.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Reading

A friend recommended The Interrogative Mood, though after glancing at the first few pages, I'm not sure I have the stamina for it. It's 164 pages of non sequitur questions.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Poison Ivy

Today I ran into a friend who was covered with poison ivy rashes. He asked me for advice. I had none. As a kid I lived in poison ivy, and the memories aren't pleasant. Poison ivy is one of those afflictions that brings out scores of ideas about what's best for treating it: calamine lotion (though our pediatrician last year said not to use it--I can't remember why), alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, salt water, essential oil of newt pus. (Hee hee, just kidding. But wouldn't it be cool if that worked?)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Backstage

I've always loved learning what various music artists require backstage. Here's a page from Beck's requirements.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Belgium

Because we're not quite ready for another house break-in, I didn't post ahead-of-time that we'd be in Belgium for a week. We were in Belgium for a week, during spring break, mostly in Antwerp.

I put up some pictures.

I could write millions and millions of words, but at this point I'll keep it brief and say that we did a lot of walking and ate a lot of mayonnaise. It was a good time.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bad Sex Writing

"She is topping up your engine oil..." Wow, this award sounds well-deserved.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Slide Show

For you, for fun: a slide show of cinema's greatest writer villains.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Songs

Various songs that have wafted through my head during the past few days: Rock This Town, Babe, and Voulez Vous. Dare I say it? Yes. You're welcome. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Movie

How to Train Your Dragon was pretty good. We saw it last weekend at Northgate. The dragons behave like cute little kitty cats (sometimes mad kitty cats), and the vikings have Scottish accents. Fat Bastard would have fit right in.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

Yummy Food

I hadn't been in the Mediterranean Deli on Franklin Street in something like twelve years. It's bigger and yummier than I remember.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

For Sale

This snappy property is owned by Rush Limbaugh and is for sale. What a steal. Assuming 10% down at closing, the mortgage payment would be $67,397.95 per month.

There's just a whole different world out there.

Pool

A man I lived with for three years runs an annual NCAA basketball tournament pool. As I do most years, I entered. I'm doing very, very poorly. I'm not so good at this.

Sorry

I forgot to share that yesterday was free pastry day at Starbucks. I apologize.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Words

Today I learned a new word: Fauxhemian. Cute.

I don't know if I've shared, in this "public" forum, a word I created: Fakestrovert (pronounced fake-struh-vuhrt). This is someone who's an introvert but through skill, persistence, and very hard work is able to be a temporary extrovert. The fakestrovert can be "on" for, say, an evening of entertaining, but when the crowd leaves collapses onto the couch exhausted and drained.

I shared this idea with some people, several of whom said, "Oh, that's me!" And so here's a very strict rule: this term may only be applied through self-identification. Only you know you. If you think you know someone else, you're probably wrong. And annoying.

Giveaways

I'm cleaning out some stuff, so lucky you. Special deal. List of giveaways; claim them in the comments section.

Michael Kohlhaas

Flawless

Sweetness and Power

Utne Reader, March/April 2010 issue

Monday, March 22, 2010

Eagle Cam

I've been stalking this eagle cam for a week while the egg incubated, after my sister tipped me off when her son's class started following it. As of yesterday or today, there's a baby eagle, somewhere under that mom who won't move out of the way. Today I had the cam window open while I worked in another browser window. I heard little cheeps and flipped over, but I was too late: mom was hovering in the way again.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

King's Daughters Inn

The King's Daughters Inn over on Buchanan has some innovative resource-saving features. My favorite is the part where they use laundry-machine water for flushing toilets. Major nifty.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thursday for Lunch

At Jimmy John's on 9th Street: $1 sub day Thursday (March 18) from 11 am to 3 pm. This may apply to other Jimmy John's stores too; not sure.

You're welcome.

(I've noticed that many people these days write "you're welcome" like that on its own line. I'm trying to keep up with the times here, though this may not fit, because usually people write "you're welcome" in a sort of cynical way after inflicting something awful or silly on others. I hope to continue researching this matter in the future.)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mirror Mirror

Will Bob triumph? Will Bob reach a place of harmony and peace with the bathroom wall mirror? Will Bob do his part with great care and gentleness so the motherloving mirror won't break again? Yes! Yes, he will. And then the family will go out to dinner one Saturday night and return to find that the beautiful, beautiful mirror with its beautiful, beautiful frame has cracked by itself, all the way from the top to the bottom on the right side.

This is fun. Not sure what's next, but I promise I'll let you know. This is becoming the mirror blog.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Overheard

In the Regulator Bookshop hangs a framed copy of that John Locke quote, "Books seem to me to be pestilent things, and infect all that trade in them with something very perverse and brutal." I watched a teenager read it and then ask her mother who John Locke was. "Oh, he's that character from 'Lost'," replied the mother. I confess that I didn't intervene. I am ashamed.

Birthday

Yesterday was my mom's birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Marching Up and Down the Square

I have no doubt that the participants in this little ritual take it very seriously, but I can't. See what you think. The commentator's remarks about facial hair and silly walks don't help. Apparently this happens every evening.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Miscellany

The dry-cleaning place lost one of Kimberly's shirts. They're looking for it.

A couple of friends are selling their houses, here and here.

Another friend has a photography site, here.

I recently finished reading this (very good), this (good), and this (great). Tonight I'm tucking into this.

I've replaced the bathroom mirror. The frame is up, and I've patched the screw holes with wood putty.

Last night's orange sherbet at Francesca's had zest in it. I like zest.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Mirror

Okay, so there we are, all something like 18 of us, a couple weeks ago on the soccer field on a Wednesday night under bright floodlights clobbering the living hell out of each other as we chase the soccer ball around having a grand time, and then when it's all over and we're sweaty and disgusting, we descend on the pub to drink beer and have a bite to eat. And come to find out Nick is really good at carpentry so I says to him I says well I've got this precision cutting I need to get done for this mirror frame I'm putting in and maybe you could help me and then some day I'll help you with something ('cause he does a lot of work on his own house too), so he says yeah that'd be great.

So I take the wood over there a few days later and we do the work and he shows me all these other projects he has going on and he also has this really sweet little dog named Molly and he addresses her as Molly Wolly and eventually we end up in his kitchen and he makes us tea and in his British way is shocked when I don't put milk and sugar into mine.

So anyway a few days later I'm at home arranging the wood frame and as I'm putting it up, one of the screws gets too close to the 32" x 32" mirror on the wall and the fucking thing cracks ever so slightly with that subtle but horrifying "pew" sound. Problem is I'd stuck it to that wall but good with serious heavy-duty mirror adhesive and so I spent a good bit of today in hazmat gear hacking and cracking and pulling off bits of mirror and creating such fine glass dust that it floated up instead of down and then I spent just as much time carefully cleaning up to make sure the kids don't end up with little bits of glass fibers in their littlekid skin.

This week I'll put up another mirror that I had cut at J&H Glass over on Holloway Street only this time I'll use flat metal clasps and then gouge out little spaces on the inside of the wooden frame so it'll be mostly flush with the glass and the wall so that when the mirror breaks again I can get it off easily.

Don't ever stick a mirror directly onto a wall. It's not worth it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Free Will Astrology

This week's Taurus horoscope from Rob Brezny:

Two-thirds of people surveyed said they would rather look good than feel good. I hope you're not one of them. The ironic fact of the matter is that if you put the emphasis on looking good in the coming week -- creating favorable impressions, acting dishonest in order to curry favor, wearing uncomfortable but attractive clothes -- you will end up feeling sub-par and looking mediocre. On the other hand, if you put the priority on feeling good -- treating your body like a beloved pet, seeking out encounters that nurture your secret self, and hanging out in environments that encourage you to relax -- you will look good and feel good.

"Beloved pet." Nice.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Water

Aha. I'd always wondered about the pink gunk on the faucets and shower head.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pet Meds

After the price of Selegiline jumped from $32 for 60 5mg tabs to around $75, I was happy just to find a pharmacy that could actually order it (this is for Ella-the-dog; the vet's office and all online pet pharmacies I'd checked had run out), but over the weekend the pharmacist discovered that even the $75 bottle of tabs can't be found anywhere. The only Selegiline available is in little powder-filled caplets and costs $113. Ella will swallow her first $1.88 pill tomorrow morning. I have 60 days to find a cheaper bottle.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Roller Skating

We need to go to Wheels more often. Today we skated there for Jane's friend's birthday party and had a good time. Maybe when summer comes.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Miscellany

Local people, I've got two things waiting to leave the house: a Brita Ultra Max dispenser and a regular Brita pitcher. Let me know if you want them.

Rockwood Filling Station has closed. There wasn't enough lunch business. In its place will be the Fish Shack (same owner as Q-Shack), similar to Fishmonger's fare but with a waiterless Q-Shack format and flow. They hope to open at the end of March.

Finally, after all these years, I am still tickled by the word "gubernatorial." Guber, guber, guber.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Coffee

The aroma at Bean Traders always makes me wish I liked coffee, but the smell is so much better than the taste. Here's the owner in a cute little how-to video.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

DPS Evening of Entertainment

Emma has been rehearsing her little buns off. This past week's rehearsal schedule: Tuesday 6 to 8, Thursday 5 to 8, Friday 5 to 9, and Saturday 1:30 to 6. The show started at 7 pm and was a smash. She had the time of her life.

Friday, February 19, 2010

TED

I like watching TED talks online, but if the picture painted by this article is at all accurate, actually attending one of these conferences (if one could afford the price) wouldn't be much fun.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lobby Art

In the lobby where Kimberly works there are some very snappy pieces of pottery.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Love Letters

Every so often the girls leave their little notes lying around. They like to write to each other. Two recent finds:

Dear Jane,
Remember that time that we couldn't decide who was going to go first on the zipline and I just went? I am very sorry about that. It was very rude.
Love,
Emma

Dear Emma,
I just want you to know you are the Best sister ever.
Love,
Jane

Monday, February 15, 2010

Recent Media Review

The Classic Fairy Tales has been entertaining. Jack the Giant Killer is a serious bad-ass who does very violent things to giants. And who knew that in an early text of Sleeping Beauty the only act that would rouse her from her coma was rape by a king.

Yesterday we watched The Lightning Thief, a mythological fairy-tale sort of romp with over-the-top special effects and pretty bad acting. But it was cute. The kids liked it.

Finally, some of my recent online reading: a Guantánamo cover-up and a sugar article.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Two Thoughts

To return for a moment to that old pastime of mulling and contemplating without instantly rushing to the Web to find answers, I was considering two urban legends from my youth:

If the Great Wall were really visible from space, I-95 would be as well, and I don't think it is.

If the human body really did renew itself completely every 7 years, people would lose all their tattoos, and they don't.

A Radio Story

Last week's This American Life episode, "The House on Loon Lake," moved me for many reasons: it's a great mystery tale, it involves young boys getting into things they shouldn't, it's about the mysteries of family history, and it's set in New Hampshire where both my parents were raised (coming to terms with that state's doctrinal obsession with Minding-Your-Own-Business has helped me put my childhood and later life in better perspective).

And the house! An old, old house filled with old, old things. I was captivated. In our own family there are two such houses (one built in the late 1800s, one built in the mid 1700s) that I hope don't go the way of the house in the story. I won't say more. It's an hour-long MP3, just right if you're a commuter or if you're folding laundry.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The ads

The superbowl ads were interesting this year, though a bit heavy on misogyny. The Google ad was the only one I can remember that actually pitched the product.

Today

Sanded, caulked, painted, paid credit card bill, paid phone bill, paid escrow shortage amount for mortgage, vacuumed, did laundry, sifted through and filed some health insurance documents, made it to noon yoga, ate something, and walked around gently while recovering from yesterday's Vibram run (it's the calves that absorb all the impact; they're sore).

Girls got off the bus, piano lessons for both, dropping Emma at carpool in school parking lot at 5:15, coming home to fix dinner, having people over for a vocal sextet rehearsal at 7, picking Emma up in school parking lot at 8:15, coming home to tidy up kitchen and get it ready for tomorrow.

Short phrases today, apparently.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I'm an uncle again

My brother and sister-in-law have a fresh, brand-new baby.

G.I. Fun

I've always wondered if the candle-by-the-toilet trick actually works. Even though I'm not sure, I still use it as I did about an hour ago, because that older daughter of mine gets off the bus each day, comes home, and instantly moves the universe through her bowels. I could go on at length about the smell that floats from the bathroom, down the hall, and into the kitchen, but I won't.

She'd had constipation in her early years (age 3, I think) so badly that a Duke pediatric G.I. doctor put her on polyethylene glycol (a powerful laxative, let me tell you) for a year and a half. It was in the waiting room at that G.I. clinic that I experienced the best overheard spoken line in my entire life. As I was walking to the bathroom I heard a woman saying into her cell phone, "I told you, they're in there now diggin' that mess outta her thing."

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Movies and Sports

If you're like me and you spent many hours in dark arcades as a kid, you'll love The King of Kong.

101 Reykjavik isn't without its bleak moments: I've seen other Icelandic films as well, and if their depiction of life in Iceland is at all accurate (bitter cold, very little daylight, very much booze), I probably wouldn't care to stay there too long. But my thumbs are up for this movie. The people are intriguing, and the main character finally develops some oomph toward the end. I like oomph.

The weather's better now: the free-time transition from movie watching to running in my Vibrams has begun. I'm ready to return to the soccer field, but Emma's intense rehearsal schedule for the big show probably won't allow it until March.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Three Things

Two non-recommendations:

Caché. This was one of these unresolved movies that, you know, "makes you think" without bothering even to hint at answering the dramatic questions set up throughout. In the "making of" feature the director said something like, "Well, real life doesn't always have resolution, so my movies don't either." Even the tasty Juliette Binoche couldn't rescue it. I am pissed.

La cérémonie. The movie has its pleasant moments, but they're upstaged by a completely unlikeable, creepy main character and an abrupt, sloppy ending.

Strong recommendation: Frontline's "Digital Nation." The first part is titled "Distracted by Everything" and features research into multi-tasking. It treats cell phones, Internet, Facebook, Twitter, reading, writing, learning, kids, adults, and bunches of other topics. I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

More Movies

More snow days, so more movies. Strawberry & Chocolate--eh, sort of okay. Snatch--pretty good. I liked Brad Pitt's character best.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Movie Review

Kimberly and I watched an excellent movie last night called Nine Queens (in Spanish with English subtitles), in the style of The Sting and Ocean's 11. Really, really good, I thought. Good plot twists, intrigue and mystery, etc. etc. Occasionally a gun was pulled, and people sort of shoved each other around from time to time, but there was no violence or death. It's one of those movies that would be fun to watch a second time to catch things that jump out when you already know the ending.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Grocery Store

I was amazed to learn that our neighborhood Harris Teeter is staying open 24 hours a day even through all this nasty weather. We were there today, along with about six or seven other people.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Inclement Weather

Of course I'm going to prepare for milk sandwiches like everyone else, but two other precautions occur to me as winter weather approaches: I'll gas up the car and charge the cell phone. Oh, and charge the digital camera.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Recycling

Durham has expanded its list of what's allowed in the blue curbside recycling bins, gable-top cartons and yogurt cups to name two. Full list here.

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