Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hitler and Rebecca Black

Why, just last week a friend of mine introduced me to this cretin of a singer called Rebecca Black and her opus, "Friday." Words fail me. Go find it and listen if you must, but hide any weaponry because I promise you will want to kill yourself.

And while I know there are a million versions of fake-subtitles for that Hitler-in-the-bunker scene, most of them are pretty funny. Here is the Rebecca Black incarnation.

Talking Babies

That talking babies video wasn't interesting to me, but this altered-version pleases me greatly.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Göbekli Tepe

I read an exceptionally good article this week in the New Yorker about ancient Turkish stuff. When we win the lottery, I'm taking Kimberly and the girls on a month-long excursion along the Turkish coast via Istanbul and then north to Ankara. It's going to be fun.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Inspection

I've changed my mind. Requiring car inspection before registration is a good idea. More than once over the past 20 years I've neglected to get the inspection because it slipped my mind. The state sent nasty letters threatening fines. The new way is better. I am sorry for any inconvenience my bad judgment may have caused.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Seriously Disjointed Miscellany

The kids have had flu shots. A friend of theirs slept over Saturday night. Jane had a dental check-up and cleaning last week. On Saturday the kids baked and decorated cookies with friends. There are varying opinions about the effectiveness of "Rosetta Stone." I just finished a 600-page biography of Hemingway, and if the material can be trusted, the man was a nearly complete asshole. The electric, credit card, and phone bills have been paid. Wednesday a friend is coming over for half an hour while I go onto the roof to clean off leafy crap. On Friday I visited a neighbor and showed her how to publish an ebook; in two hours, she went from Word document file to published Kindle ebook for sale at Amazon. Some day soon I'd like to watch the original BBC "Tinker, Tailor..." production. It annoys me that North Carolina now requires a car inspection before registration can be renewed (both cars are due). We have eliminated (knock, knock) Jane's latest round of pinworms. A friend recently returned from Belgium (Schellebelle, to be precise) and brought me Kwak beer and Leonidas chocolates. The less time I spend on my home computer, the happier I am. This morning the dog was seen tenderly licking a steaming pile of her own excrement. It's remarkable how often NCIS reruns appear on television. Starbucks breakfast sandwiches are tasty. It is now 7:32.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Big Spoon

I know this man, Mark Overbay, and can confidently report that his nut butters are delicious. I would never say that about just anyone.

Monday, December 5, 2011

To Each Her Own

Emma just this moment related that a female friend of hers at school likes to hug old people "because they're squishy."

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dance

A fellow writer dropped this dance video onto my desk earlier in the week. It has nothing to do with writing, it has no punchline or inherent hilarity, but it tickled me. I do so enjoy a good tickling.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Team Seizure!

I am a participant in Meniere's Syndrome and occasional ophthalmic migraines, and while I'm not an epileptic, I am visually freaked out by flashy things on TV and movie screens and by fast-changing frames. So it is with great sadness (given my long-enduring fascination with Edward and Jacob) that I read this latest bit of news.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Definition

A friendly spousal dispute is underway. In the comments section (and without Web searching), kindly describe any and all definitions for the word "dork." After submitting your answer, you may Google away, but we're first interested in the contents of your brain.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Turkey

My friend Ellen shared this, and it's good. Some turkey cooking advice.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ice Cream

This is a Ben & Jerry's flavor I would probably not care to try.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Commenting

On the phone last night, my mom reminded me that it's Daylight Saving Time, not "Savings." I have made the correction. I was also reminded of what I thought was an annoying symptom of Blogger but was actually due to a switch I had incorrectly thrown in the settings area. One can now leave comments on this blog without being a registered user. Sorry about that. Would someone be a dear and test this out--see if it will let you post a comment without logging in. (Word verification should still be in play; this prevents auto-spam-comments.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Time Change

My latest idea: change the name of "Daylight Saving Time," as I'm pretty sure no daylight is saved. My proposal is to call it "Stupid Time-Change Time." Jane was asking today why we have the time change, and I answered that we're all just stupid and there's no reason for it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Good Flick

The documentary Where Soldiers Come From was on TV last night. Seriously good.

Petty Tyrant

This American Life's current episode is excellent. This guy, Steve Raucci--wow.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Church Monkey

Some time ago I'd discovered that the Archbishop of Canterbury is appointed by the Prime Minister, which I found creepy in a church-state sort of way. But today I learned that one of the archbishop's roles is as "Primate of All England." Now that is just kneeslappingly hilarious. Those English, honestly.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Manners

In the car today I was reminded of an old 78 record I had as a kid and started humming and singing tunes from "Manners Can Be Fun." The internet comes through again. Here's the recording, (click 'download' when you get there) in its full anachronistic goofiness, sung and narrated by Frank Luther.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Le Film Very Good

A few posts ago I mentioned the movie Tell No One. My friend Chris Ogden had recommended it, and he was right: it's good. He specifically mentioned it has a very good chase scene. I agree--it's an on-foot chase scene, not one of those annoying shaky-camera multiple-crash car-chase monstrosities. Yes. This movie was well worth the rental.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hallelujah

My mom sent me this today. I think we've all seen other versions of this, but these people have one of the more adorable versions, so adorable that their cavalier use of apostrophes can be forgiven.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Being The President

Excerpts from one of Jane's recent school assignments.

Pros of being president:
You live in a big white house.
You would never compete against your siblings.
You wouldn't have to take out the garbage.
You wouldn't have to eat yucky vegetables.

Cons of being president:
You have to be polite to everybody.
You would have lots of homework.
You would have to live up to other presidents.
Sometimes people throw things at the president.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cleaning House

I've been tidying up loose ends on the internet for about a year now. Moments ago I deleted my MySpace account--remember them? I also tripped over this helpful site.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Owl

Yikes. Keep small children in the house.

Philippe

If you know my brother and if you haven't seen each other for many years, here's one of the first things he'll ask you: "Is the dream still intact?" Be ready. Have an answer.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Delta Rae

A few weeks ago a friend of mine alerted me to Durham band Delta Rae's upcoming concert at Motorco, but I missed it (the topic came up because their Kickstarter campaign was successful). They've got pipes, those kids. See here and here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Le Film

Interesting that a French movie was adapted from an American novel. Tell No One seems engaging.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Busted

Now that I'm an alumnus of the burglary victim club, I giggle with even greater glee at stories like this one. Just three blocks from us, on Dixon Road, during a house break-in, a motion-activated camera snapped a whole bunch of shots of the offending individual. This picture is just one of them--they were sent around to the PAC3 e-mail list as well as to the police. The police identified him and issued a warrant for his arrest. He hasn't been picked up yet, but still, this makes me happy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Oh No"

It's remarkable the number of times one hears people talk about how scary and awful a particular thing will be in the future (you'll recall "Y2K," among others). Then remember when the government came out with a new version of the passport that embedded our personal information into a radio-frequency-readable chip? And the fear-based-living people talked about how very very scary this was because, with the right device, anyone could help themselves to your personal information, perhaps as you walked past them on the sidewalk.

Meanwhile, the creative people of the world were getting to work. In K-Mart moments ago, I saw a $12 passport-sized billfold that incorporates RFID-blocking technology into its fabric. "Problem" solved.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fool On Ze Hill

The most memorable tune from today's car radio experience: a techno-sounding dude singing "Fool on the Hill" in a German accent. Behold.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Algebra

While I didn't take algebra until 9th grade, Emma is enduring it now, in 7th. Today I've been re-learning math from my childhood. "If a train leaves Chicago at 75 mph and another train leaves blah blah blah." My brain had to stretch a bit, but once it snapped back into place, I was off and running, cranking out Algebra formulas and generally kicking mathematical ass.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

SmallLittle

A couple of days ago I told Jane not to describe something as a SmallLittle thing. One of those words is enough, I told her, but she didn't buy it. I've heard others say SmallLittle too--maybe it's a North Carolina thing. It's always followed by a noun (as opposed to standing alone). I've heard "there was this SmallLittle box on the table," but never "the box on the table was SmallLittle."

Monday, October 3, 2011

Midnight In Paris

...and speaking of Hemingway, we got to see Midnight In Paris last week. I liked it. It was sort of light and fun and silly and shallow, and after about 10 minutes I forgot that Woody Allen had his hands in it. The time-travel element was clever.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sealander

Yes! Let's go "camping" with the Sealander. Looks cute, but the video doesn't show how it's steered once you get it into the water.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Writers on Writing

Almost as good as Hemingway's "The first draft of anything is shit" is this Dante quote: "It seemed to me that I had undertaken too lofty a theme for my powers, so much so that I was afraid to enter upon it; and so I remained for several days desiring to write and afraid to begin."

Friday, September 23, 2011

Phone Calls

There is one aspect of my "landline" telephone I miss: clarity. Cell phones are nice for short "do you need anything else from the store" type calls, but forget actual conversations. The clarity is bad and there's that awkward lag in time--often a full second or two--that makes people talk over each other because they have no way of knowing that the other person had started speaking a full two seconds earlier. And then it's "Oh, sorry," "Oh, go ahead," "No, you go ahead," "Okay, wait, okay," "Oh, I was just going to say..." "What?" "I'm sorry," "Oh," and so on.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Another Thing I've Learned

The U.K. Prime Minister appoints senior members of the Church of England. That's just weird.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ribs

I ran into my friend Chuck today. He's been a very busy boy. I've had a cracked rib before, and it isn't fun.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Shoe Shopping

Emma is 12 and now has a shoe size of women's 7.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Craigslist

Brother Bob's Craigslist Theorem still holds after all these years: the first responder to your ad will always be the flakiest and/or rudest and/or most severely lacking in punctuation and capitalization awareness. This theorem has stood the test of time.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Half Off Food

Spend $10 for $20 at Whole Foods. The link:

https://livingsocial.com/deals/123805?ref=conf-jp&rpi=27477427

Stuff

It's nifty when things converge. Yesterday at the dog park a fellow was bemoaning that he'd be spending the rest of the day going to the self-storage facility to dig through his stuff to try to find a tax document he needed for his house refinancing. And this morning I tripped over this article.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Miscellany

Monday sneaks in again. How dare it. It was a good day: a trip to the landfill "transfer station" with some old crap that's been lying around the yard for eons, and I installed a new toilet. Its 31-year-old predecessor will be on its way to the dump soon.

Emma has been invited to be part of the all-county middle school honor chorus. She's excited. My excitement is tempered by the shuttle-driving itinerary that comes along with it. That girlie loves to sing.

Dinner tonight will include the chicken thighs that have been in the oven in a cast iron pot for 3 hours at 170 degrees.

My friend Tony had a kick-ass art show Saturday. His work hangs for a month at Beyu.

I recently rewatched (a word?) Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent. It's a good one.

Saturday our soccer team lost 4 to 0. Fuck. But still, it was soccer, and so, fun.

The shuttle departs presently for karate and gymnastics pickup.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Firework

Hey, Katy Perry picked up VMA's Video of the Year award for "Firework."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Getting Wasted

This article on college binge drinking caught my eye because our Emma has fewer than six more years at home.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

West Bank Story

This parody is 19 minutes long, but the music and dancing and goofy humor had me giggling good. Behold, West Bank Story.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Many Things

WifeKimberly has informed me that this timedistance between blogposts is unacceptable. (Apparently I am becoming German, with my mashedtogether Germanwordcreation.)

You may wonder what has been occupying my time of late. Many, many things. Laundry, for one. It never stops. Also trips to the dog park with Roxie, which is always fun. The kids go back to school next week, which means there's been a flurry of PTA work to do for Hope Valley Elementary. My friend David was married last Saturday (I also attended his bachelor party; very tame, no large cakes or women in dishabille, alas). The kids have had their annual physical exams. Emma is 12 and had her HPV vaccine. Jane is 9 and is a candidate, but we've decided to wait 2 or 3 more years. The kids were part of these decisions and understand HPV and how it's transmitted.

Let's see, what else. Oh, yes, a lot of singing. And riverdeep, the men's ensemble, is going through that early-stage process where some singers start refusing to sing certain songs because of certain lyrics. But that will all get ironed out. The group needs clear policies and singer contracts, and we're not there yet; when that's in place, the problem will all but disappear. At the moment, we're still endlessly discussing things as a group via our e-mail list. You can't efficiently run a 16-voice choir by groupthink and consensus; riverdeep is slowly figuring this out, so I have hope for the future.

My sister Christine is now married! Congratulations, little sis. Aaron, her dude, is an excellent man. They spent a week vacationing in Cape May. A couple of weeks ago I zipped up to Leesburg to visit family there and hang out at the Shoes cafe with Grandma and the kids.

We were 23 minutes into the first soccer game of the season when the referee called it off because of lightning. We let him leave and then stayed and scrimmaged each other just for fun. Next Saturday's game is at 8 am.

The kids had a fun week at Camp Kanata. They'll probably go back next year. Piano lessons continue, karate continues, gymnastics class continues. School starts August 25th.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Give Me The Serial Comma Or Give Me Death

I am a strong advocate for consistent use of the serial comma; I always have been. Here's a good article.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Fullsteam

Last night we headed to Fullsteam Brewery, finally, to check the place out. They don't serve food, but rumor had it that the Durham food trucks surround the place regularly. It was a Saturday night, and there wasn't a food truck in sight. WTF. (My younger colleagues tell me this stands for "What The Fuck," and so is a nice way both to be succinct and avoid being crass; you know I don't like being crass.) So we walked over to Geer Street Garden where there's food. That was nice.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Latest News From My Brain

I picked up a couple of good movies from Avid during the past week. The first was a Tom Tykwer thing called Winter Sleepers. I liked it, though it got sloppy toward the end (his The Princess and the Warrior is one of my all-time favorites. Wait, no, maybe I like The Lives of Others better; DAMN that's a good movie. I can't decide).

In other news, the newly-opened Dulce Cafe in Sutton Station is a yummy yummy place.

In yet other news, the date has been set (November 19, 2011) for a fall concert combining riverdeep, Avante Singers, and Men in Black. I hope it's fun.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Links For You To Click

This guy is trying to acquire a house the old fashioned "common law" way.

One Day On Earth trailer.

This silly Brady Bunch thing made me check TVLand, where I found these.

"Cherish the Love" was in my head earlier this evening, so here you go.

Persistence pays off.

Don't stay up too late.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Why I Eat The Way I Eat

Back when I was experimenting with strict veganism, I was asked what was most challenging about that way of eating. The answer was easy: having to reassure other people that I was going to be okay. Vegan eating was good for me, because while I'm no longer a true vegan, the Vegan Way informs many of my decisions.

So I eat a lot of plant-based food, but I also pop 2 to 3 grams of fish oil a day (long-chain omega 3s, keeping an antinflammatory omega 6 to omega 3 ratio, etc.), I eat flesh occasionally, and about once a year or so I hork down organ meat of some kind (micro nutrients available there are hard to find elsewhere). I also try to move even more than I used to.

Years ago I had the thought that if I ever received an early-stage cancer diagnosis and was successfully treated, I would probably make some lifestyle changes moving forward. The thought that closely followed was to wonder why I would wait for cancer to make whatever these changes would be. I want to eat like a cancer survivor.

And longtime readers will note that these aren't topics I often blog (or talk) about, because I've learned that, generally speaking, No One Wants To Hear That Shit. Relationships are more important to me than evangelizing about nutrition (or anything else, for that matter). Wouldn't you just love me if, during our 1 pm café meeting while you sipped coffee and I sipped tea, I delivered a scintillating lecture about coffee and cortisol levels? No, neither would I. So it's mainly a journey of silence, silence broken only when someone in my life (possibly someone who is not at peace with his own relationship with food) carps about what I'm putting (or not putting) into my own body.

I love reading books on nutrition and health. I've read so many I've lost track of most of them; there isn't enough time to read everything that's available. But six titles return to me repeatedly:

The China Study
Healthy at 100
Anatomy of an Illness
The Divided Mind
Born to Run
Anti-Cancer

And if you have nutrition book recommendations, gimme.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Muppets

A lovely Muppets tribute.

Food

David Sirota's article about cheap food is like a very short version of, say, Fast Food Nation.

It is a serious bummer that good, fresh food is more expensive than crap. The few times each year I think to hit the farmer's market in Durham, I come away pleased with my bags of leafy green deliciousness, and shocked at how much cash I had to drop to get them.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Durham Dog Parks

Finally, two days ago, Roxie had her rabies shot and qualified for a Durham Dog Park registration badge. She's been once to Piney Woods and twice to Northgate Park. It's much too early to form an opinion about which is better. I think Roxie liked them both and was good and tired afterwards.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Third Person

There are only 3 musician/singer type people who have sold more than 100 million albums both as solo artists and as members of a band (i.e., both those things separately, 2 x 100 million). The first two are Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. Who's the third?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

New York Chewing

Has anyone else noticed that people from New York City generally chew their food loudly and with their mouths open? Or am I just being overly Southern? I know one person who is an exception to this (seeming) tendency, otherwise it's smack smack smack smack. Or is it all people from northern states? I'm not sure--still collecting data.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Ball Game

Riverdeep sang two national anthems at the Bulls game last night: US v Japan (rain make-up for the 4th). The fireworks were extremely fireworky, and they even played that awesome awesome Miley Cyrus USA song. And Neil Diamond, of course. And Bruce Springsteen. And Lee Greenwood. And Pete Seeger. Hahahahahahaha, just kidding about that last one.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Makeup

I've always wondered what it would look like if I applied a full year's worth of makeup in one day.

Two Items

We have returned from three days of camping with our Belgian friends at Jordan Lake. Hot, fun, grueling, swimmy, outdoorsy, and also, there was sangria. And Hoegaarden. One Belgian guy even brought--gasp--cans of Pabst.

In other news, go look at the funny funny laughing babies.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

River Time

I'm in the market for a used 3 to 4 person canoe. If you have ideas, gimme.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Weekend Highlights

PuppyRoxie had a grand time Saturday night with us at Geer Street Garden, where they have dog leash clips on the outdoor patio tables and the staff brings a dog water bowl. And they have that Locopops dog treat on their menu: a frozen chicken-flavored popsicle with a rawhide for the stick. Roxie loved it.

We watched a silly movie this weekend called Y Tu Mamá También. I just read about its Oscar nomination, but those awards are more about what's topically relevant in the mainstream and less about movie quality, imho. The thing is 10 years old, so we're out of sync.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Two or Three Movies

I rented a couple of things from Avid Video last week. Time Out was so slow and uncompelling I couldn't finish it. Together was cute and had some funny moments. I'm pretty sure there was a third movie, but I can't remember what it was.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Airport Fun

I love stories like this! These guys had fun at an airport after hours. My favorite part is where he pours himself a cold beer.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Dog

Here she is, Roxie, our latest family member. We picked her up from Carolina Border Collie Rescue. She's a cutie.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Random News In A Single Paragraph

Movies this weekend: roughly half of Water for Elephants (a power outage closed the theater, so I have no opinion yet), and The Hangover Part II, which wasn't nearly as good as the first one. The girls are out of school for the year and start at Camp Riverlea tomorrow morning. Tonight Kimberly is off singing the Bach "Mass in B minor" with the Vocal Arts Ensemble. Yesterday for our 17th wedding anniversary (yay, us) we ate for the first time at Revolution. Yummy food. Also yesterday, in the morning, our league soccer team lost a scrimmage 3 to 2 (sniff, sniff). Some time this week we will acquire a new puppy. Bull City Burger is now brewing seven beers, and there was a guy at the bar this weekend with a notebook and seven full sampler glasses in front of him. He's writing reviews for a site, but now I can't remember if he said great beer dot com (doesn't seem to exist) or rate beer dot com. If it's the latter, his review isn't up yet.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Flight Edition

There'll be no travel in our near future, but these two items caught my eye:

15 Things No Airport Terminal Should Be Without
I really like the first item: a low-cost transportation link to downtown. Our own airport lacks this, and years ago when a light rail plan was being discussed for connecting Durham to Raleigh, there was no airport stop planned. I always assumed the taxi lobby wouldn't allow it, but I don't actually know.

The Knee Defender. This device can prevent the person in front of you from reclining his seat backward. The FAA allows it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Lights

I'm sure others have seen this before, but I was amazed today at the grocery store when in the freezer section the lights turned on in succession as I walked down the aisle. Dude! That was so cool. And then they all turn off when no one's there. Whoa.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Funny Thing That Made Me Cheer

There's a movie theater down in Texas that kicks out texters. This is funny. (language alert)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Jackson Pollack

I wrote a few years back about the excellent documentary Who the Fuck is Jackson Pollack? I was reminded of it minutes ago as I watched a very strange but riveting animated thing about Pollack. You don't have to devour and regurgitate the masters! Don't imitate! Do your own thing! Good messages any time.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Museum of the Moving Image

I tripped over a new phrase today, Video Essay, like this one about the movie Badlands. It's like an extended trailer with running commentary. Very engaging (I never saw Badlands). Here's the main site, Museum of the Moving Image.

Salad

Looks like someone's fixin' to make a yummy salad.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sentences

I read about this hilarious writing exercise for exorcising writer's block. It's great fun. For 60 seconds, kneel before your computer or notebook and beg the universe to help you write the worst sentence ever written. I've taken stabs at it over the past few months. Paging back through one of my notebooks, I see several examples. Here we go. (I confess I've been foregoing the kneeling part.)

Rock, gravel, stone--these were hard things, very hard, but not as hard as the task she was about to attempt: she was going to walk right into the study and tell her husband Tom that his mother had to leave, as this house wasn't big enough for the two of them.

The sky was radiant blue, the kind of blue you see in pictures.

Today would be the day to start it all--all of it.

You are most welcome.

Word

New word (for me): casuistry (n) -- deceptive reasoning; fallacious or dishonest application of general principles.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Enough Already

I have this txt file that lists all the sites where I have user IDs and logins (I'd love to have maintained completely consistency over the years, but some sites have annoying parameters that force me to throw in little differences, e.g., "please use at least seven alphanumeric characters and include either % $ or *"). I'm going to start slowly cleaning up, i.e., canceling accounts. Moments ago I began with "Friendster." Remember that one? I didn't either.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Pinworms

Saturday evening I noticed Jane had pinworms writhing around out of her anus like snakes on Medusa's head. Urgent care clinic, 24-hour pharmacy, 100 mg of Mebendazole for all four of us, just in case. Many loads of laundry: bed sheets, pillow cases, underwear. 48 hours later, there are fewer worms, but just now I counted 5 little wigglers. I could go on and on, but if you want more, here's a good article.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Back To Our Future

I just finished Back To Our Future, a book about the 80s. I am a survivor of the 80s. Good book. I recommend it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rabbits

This is the latest bunny lead I'm eyeing, one for myself this time. We have two rabbits and have two more to collect.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

This Weekend

My mom is visiting! She flew in from Ohio (Canton) this afternoon. She'll be here for several days. It's party time when Mom's here. This afternoon we drank white wine and ate cheese and crackers, and then later I cooked and we ate chicken and drank some other wine. Tomorrow night's dinner will be a 3-day daube, which will be consumed with red wine and potatoes and salad and rolls. Adventures will include visits to the farmer's market, Wine Authorities, Bull City Burger, Local Yogurt, and the Nelson music room at Duke for the kids' Saturday evening piano recital, followed by dinner at Satisfaction. High, high excitement around here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

S-K's Theorem

To review the Robert-Slentz-Kesler-Theory-Of-Fucked-Up-Driving, which we can shorten to S-K's Theorem: close examination of any car on the road that doesn't seem to be "with it" (e.g., driving too slowly, swerving, or displaying a general lack of focus and/or road courtesy) will reveal a driver who is 1) wearing a hat, 2) using a phone or other electronic device, or 3) driving a Buick. This theorem has yet to fail. Today's swerving Buick was being driven by someone wearing a hat. Hoping for the S-K Theorem equivalent of Bingo!, I looked for a cell phone. No luck. I remain hopeful that some day I'll see all three at work in the same driver.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sleepover Mania

Tonight Emma is sleeping over at a friend's house for a birthday party. Also tonight, Jane is entertaining a friend here for a sleepover. Tomorrow night, both girls will sleep here at our place but will host two friends for a sleepover. Party Time.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Two Links

Look what Gregg put on his blog. Frickin' jack-in-the-box, man, 'bout freaked me out.

And look what the Library of Congress has done.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Turn, Turn, Turn

For many years I've had this annoying thing called Ménière's Syndrome, always on the right side. Ringing comes and goes, dizziness happens from time to time, and occasionally (the last one was ten years ago) I get a whammy of a vertigo attack with plenty of barfing. Last night the whammy kind visited me while I was home alone, and since my fluid loss was starting to cause shakes, I phoned one of my excellent neighbors who called for an ambulance and came over to let in the EMTs.

Quiet ambulance ride, 5 hours in the E.R., IV fluids, anti-barfing drugs. That did the trick. I'm back home now and feeling much better.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's Bunny Time

I recently finished building a walk-in rabbit hutch in the back yard. Muffin, Jane's 2-year-old Holland lop, has moved in and is having the time of her bunny life. Emma just turned 12 and gets a birthday rabbit. Tomorrow we'll be taking a look at these little guys.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Pictures from St. John

Plane ride




View from the ferry dock in Cruz Bay




The villa we rented




Breakfast with cousins




Jane holding something from a tree




Local lizard-like thing




On grandparents' sailboat








So many beaches I lost track












Sunday, May 1, 2011

Vacation Pictures

(Try the link again--I might have fixed it.) It's been a while since I've used Kodak Gallery. Let me know if this works. I put up some pictures from our excursion to St. John.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Back In Town

Once again, I have not been forthright. We've been out of town for eight days, in St. John, USVI. I wrote all those blog posts and put them "in the can" to make it look like we were home so you would not rob us. I'll post pictures soon.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bull City Craft

Yes! A new source for my writing notebooks, even closer to home: the just-opened Bull City Craft. I used to use Canson, now I'm into Moleskines, and next I'll try the morereasonablypriced Leuchtturm notebooks. Damn, I envy those Germans and their creativity with long words. In the first instance, I opted for a hyphen, but in the next sentence I just decided I was going to be like the Germans and mash everything together. It would have been much more German if I'd boldly added the noun to the long adjective to make a noun of the whole thing (and even more bold to capitalize it), but I'm just easing into this.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reading

Next up on my reading list: Journal of a UFO Investigator. Looks interesting.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Upstairs Downstairs

It saddens me that I must wait until next week to watch the third installment of "Upstairs Downstairs." I've heard they're continuing production. I hope it's true.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

This American Life

Ooo, I'm very excited about this week's This American Life podcast. It includes that story about Van Halen's contract always insisting that brown M&Ms be removed; I'd heard that one before.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring Break

Yes! The kids are on spring break. I have mowed and fired up the weed trimmer, and I've even knocked down three very small wasp nests under the porch (if the kids didn't play there, I wouldn't care). I also patched up two holes made by carpenter bees. Let the warm weather fun begin.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Vote

I trust that like good Durham denizens you've all completed the Indy's Best of the Triangle survey.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Visit Hogwarts!

Forgive me for being behind the times, but I only just learned there's a Harry Potter theme park. I have no wish to go to such a place.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Serenading Unicorn

I find the Serenading Unicorn both creepy and intriguing.

Vlamingen in Durham Raleigh Chapel Hill Cary Apex

Last Thursday our merry band of Flemish-speaking people had its monthly beer quaffing meeting at Tyler's, and I was reminded that we have no Web presence to alert other Flemings in the area. What follows will be a nonsensical string of phrases and words that I hope will create an enticing snare for Googling Flemish speakers in the Triangle area. Ahead-of-time apologies to regular readers.

Vlamingen in Durham. Vlamingen in Chapel Hill. Vlamingen in Raleigh. Vlamingen in Cary. Vlamingen in North Carolina. Flemish. Flanders. Belgium. Triangle. North Carolina. Vlaams talig vlaams talige. Zijn er hier anderen vlaams-talige mensen in... Nederlandstalig. Blah blah blah, ik ben in 't vlaams an 't schrijven. Blah blah blah Antwerpen Gent Oostende Lier Brasschaat Nijlen De Kempen Middelkerke Kortrijk Poperinge Limburg Turnhout Vosselaar, België, Belgisch, Belgische, Belgium, Vlaanderen...

Elke eerste vrijdag van de maand komen wij bijeen, gewoonlijk in Tyler's Taproom in Durham, tegen 19.00. Zijn er hier nog anderen vlaamstalige mensen in Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill / Apex / Cary? Laat hier maar een commentaar als je interesse hebt, dan kan ik meer informatie via e-mail sturen. --Bob (of wel stuur iets direct: bob.s-k **AT**thatcherforest PUNT com )

Two Things

Maaaaaan, Bull City Burger still hadn't brewed any beer this weekend. Sheeyut. I want me some. We must wait. Again.

Kimberly and the kids saw Hop this weekend and liked it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

He Who Vitiated It Initiated It

Over dinner this evening Kimberly casually informed the family that Malawi is considering a ban on farting in public places. Wow, that's a good one. I sniffed around and found this, which has inspired me to start using a new word. "Who vitiated the atmosphere?"

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

Middle School Crash

Many tears and hugs around here tonight. Emma has two projects coming due in the middle of April, and she's very stressed out. I snuggled her for a good while as she tried to catch her breath. We looked at the project timelines and figured out that it will work, little bits at a time. Then she sat for a few minutes on the couch in the dark living room with her sister, talking things over. And finally, we finished the evening with cold milk and warm chocolate chip cookies. She's feeling much better.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Music Memory

Why, it seems like only yesterday we were jamming out to "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What

Look, there's a cute little showlet about "Welcome Back Kotter."

Monday, March 28, 2011

thea;ka;slkfas

'twas another crazy weekend. Friday night we stayed in and watched Harry Potter 6 on DVD. I'm losing interest the farther along they go. Not sure why.

Saturday morning our geezer soccer team lost 4 to 1. Saturday afternoon we ate a late lunch at Bull City Burger and Brewery (where they're not yet brewing; give it another week and a half, they said), and Saturday night I hosted an open mic event at church-like-place.

Sunday morning we were back at church-like-place, Sunday afternoon we rehearsed with our mixed-voice octet, Sunday evening we sipped beverages at West End Wine Bar to see off a pair of friends who are leaving town, and since we were downtown we ate a late dinner at Pop's on Main Street.

Today was a teacher workday, so the kids and I met friends at Joe Van Gogh. Errands after that: Barnes Supply and Harris Teeter, home for a while (spaghettios for lunch, yum), and then Jane had gymnastics class in the afternoon. Emma skipped karate on accounta her upset tummy. It seems fine now.

The basketball tournament games have not been going my way. I'm near the bottom of the pool with no hope of winning anything.

After I click "publish post" here, I'm going to drag the trash and the recycling to the curb, clean up the kitchen, read a bit, and then hit the sack. I must remember to set up the VCR (we still have one of those) to tape "Castle." That Nathan Fillion is just so totally dreamy.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring

The outdoor work continues this week. Soon it will get serious, and by serious I mean the use of gas-powered implements. May the spring treat us all well. May there be a minimum of poison ivy and ant bites. May the yard gnomes smile on us and keep order among the wild things. May the lawn mower and weed trimmer start without fail and perform flawlessly through the summer. May the ticks not be so small that they slip into the folds of our flesh only to be detected weeks later when they have become tight bags the size of marbles. Yes. May it all be so.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Teacher Dude

Interesting fellow, this teacher. I hadn't heard of him before.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

March Madness

Our family has entered an NCAA basketball tournament pool. One bracket for me, one for Kimberly, and one for the girls. Very, very exciting. As of this moment, my success rate is 50%.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Good Day

Yes! Lo! Hark! The trees and bushes are budding, and it's time to start the seasonal dance with the yard. After working on the bunny barn--I painted another coat on the door and added some more insect-screen panels--I went to work on the garden patch and the compost. A neighbor who recently moved out was good enough to donate two 64-quart bags of potting soil, which I mixed with our dark compost and some regular soil. I yanked out a wheelbarrowfull of weeds and then mixed in all the good shit, er, stuff and stirred it around some. It's ready for action.

In other news, I do like buying Maple View Farm milk (no other milk available in our area comes close to claiming grass-fed cows; Maple View feeds them part grass, part grain), but I get behind on returning those glass bottles. Today I turned in 5 of them at the Harris Teeter, carrying them in with great care (have you ever broken one of those fuckers? It's spectacular). I need to get some of those cute little plastic carriers, because even the bottle-clanking drive to the store was harrowing. Oh, about grass-fed. "Organic" milk need not come from grass-fed cows to be called that. My interest in grass is mostly about the Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio, in beef products as well. Reminds me, Trader Joe's sells ground beef from wholly grass-fed cows. I made meatballs last week, and they were scrumtrulescent. Have you ever made meatloaf or meatballs with a pork/veal/beef mixture? Grass-fed beef has a strong flavor and tastes just like that.

Is it just me, or did Duke Energy raise its electricity rates? Oh, reminds me, if anyone can recommend a company to come and add attic insulation, I'm all blog-ears. I'm looking for one of those outfits that will drag in a big hose and blast foamy goodness into the attic. Ours is too thin and has been for years.

And, omg, guess what? Tonight's Applegate Farms beef hot dogs come from grass-fed cows. Woo hoo. The vegetable side is a casserole dish full of oil-and-herb-covered veggies that baked in the oven for an hour at 375 degrees: yellow squash, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, and carrots.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

SNL

For those who missed SNL last night, here's Zach Galifianakis's monologue.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Inception

If you haven't seen the movie, you needn't: Inception in 60 seconds.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

No Video

Awwww, man, the video of the fight at Emma's middle school has been removed from YouTube. Shit.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rasputin

I was surprised to learn, moments ago, that there are zero Google hits for the phrase "There's no disputin' the beard of Rasputin." I made it up all by myself.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Movie

A documentary I watched recently: Crazy Love. Hoowee, what a "relationship" those two have. Bizarro, to understate.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Various Things

Whoa, this is quite a thing.

It will also surprise many people to know that the rumor about John Ashcroft and calico cats is untrue.

We had tacos last night for dinner. There were so many leftovers that I broke apart the remaining taco shells and am making nachos. Nacho Night! Yeehoo.

The Geezer Soccer League is now in full Spring Season swing. We lost our first game two days ago, 3 to 1, and late in the game one of our players was red-carded and thrown out. Why? Said he to a member of the opposing team, "Push me one more time and I'll take your fucking head off." The ref heard the comment.

Riverdeep has started rehearsals again after our first and very fun concert last month.

That Neil Young is still at it.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Alice!

We're going to see Alice for the matinee showing on March 12th.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Star Wars

The kids are downstairs watching the original Star Wars. Mark Hamill was so young and cute, with that adorable whiny voice. And according to this article, Mel Blanc did not audition for the C-3PO part.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Biking

As I sit typing this, the girls are biking the Third Fork Creek trail. We love that trail.

Slicing

After all these years, the however-very-nice employees of Bruegger's still don't know how to slice a sandwich all the way through. Separating the halves of my "Leonard Da Veggie" when I get to my table is a challenge, especially one on an "Asiago 'Softwich' " with its particularly tenacious lower crust. I keep meaning to show them how, as they're making it; I'll try to remember next time.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Comedy

I dig Rhapsody's "radio channel" function, collections of music by type or theme. I'm trying out the comedy channel this week, playing it in my car when I'm on errands. So many things I'm learning. John Leguizamo does stand-up comedy as well as all that TV and movie acting. Bobcat Goldthwait was fired from Hollywood Squares because contestants weren't choosing him (even avoiding him on one occasion when he was "X" to win the game). I'd never heard of Patton Oswalt, but he's a very sharp stand-up comedian and voiced the character Remy in Ratatouille.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Driver's Ed

Is there any good reason to teach a child to drive a stick-shift if there isn't one lying around nearby?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Video

God, this is silly, but I'm laughing so hard it hurts.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Connection Speed

I've been testing the speed of our computer connection to the Internet, using four different sources (here, here, here, and here). They come in fairly consistently at 6.8 Mb/s for download and 0.3 Mb/s for upload. The UK source download result is slower, but I imagine that's a distance issue.

I don't know whether these numbers are "normal" or "good" or "whatever." If your results vary greatly, do let me know.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wireless Router

Anyone need a wireless router? I've upgraded our network, so our old router is looking for a home. It never failed us once. It's a Belkin G wireless router with all the manuals, software, and cables that came with it. Do let me know.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tax Time

It's 5 pm. I'm sitting here at the kitchen table with my laptop, using TurboTax online to do the taxes, and over in the right frame they show various popular questions being knocked around in the knowledge base forums. Moments ago, this appeared:

CAN I CLAIM MY BOYFRIEND THAT DIDNT WORK ALL YEAR

Funny! Even funnier is that the answer can be 'yes,' if the person is not the taxpayer's qualifying child, lived with the taxpayer all year, earned less than $3,650, and the taxpayer provided more than half the person's total support for the year.

Surely this qualifies many a boyfriend.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Language

While it would greatly please me if you would stop saying "ekcetera," I've come to realize that will probably never happen. I would do well, rather, to try to change my reaction to your habit. This shall be most difficult for me, as I would much prefer to strangle you. But I will give it my best effort.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Middle School Erudition

I was flipping through some old notes this morning and stumbled across some material from my days teaching history to seventh and eighth graders. A handful of sentences from their essay tests (this was in the mid 90s).

Pope John Paul II started the Crusades.

The fourteenth Dalai Llama [sic] is the current emperor of Japan.

Lenin got a lot of his ideas by reading the works of Boris Yeltsin.

The caste system also includes the untouchables, and they could not touch anything.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Videos

I'm sure Jimmy Kimmel is on TV past my bed time, so I have to get by with funny funny video clips like this and this and this and this.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Deer

In the car today Emma asked "How do they get deer to cross right at the deer crossing sign?" I did not yell "Oh my God, that is adorable!" No, I explained things with a very straight face. But it was adorable.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Scientology

This New Yorker article on Scientology is very (very) long, but if you know nothing about that "religion" (as I didn't), it's a captivating read.

News

I like real headlines that have the ring of something from The Onion. Here's one:

Man Calls Durham 911 Center 5 Times, Claims He's Dracula

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Egypt

The situation in Egypt has finally been clearly explained.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Video Time

Enough of real life! It's time for cute animal videos. Take that and that and that.

Monday, February 7, 2011

This American Life

I recommend this week's free MP3 download of This American Life. The first segment is about The Onion writers and their process for deciding which headlines go in that week's paper. They tear through hundreds of them before deciding on the final 16, so during the audio, there are all these deadpan deliveries of short headlines, some of which are stupid and some of which had me pausing the player so I could laugh for two minutes. The few I remember:

Cardinal Teaches Pope To Make Church By Interlocking His Fingers
Ghost Just Dropped By To Say "Boo"
Star Of David To Add Seventh Point

Saturday, February 5, 2011

School Board

I confess I haven't been as closely following the Durham school board as I used to, but holy moly, there's a highly embarrassing member on the board right now. If the Herald-Sun article I read is accurate, this Fredrick Davis fellow has no business as a public servant. (I'm thinking of his comments referenced near the bottom of the article.)

Brugge

Ooo, cool 360-view thing of Bruges, Belgium. Made me a bit dizzy, but pretty nifty.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Math

Math these days. The girls bring home math assignments and ask me to help, which I can usually do, except when the school is using some new procedure for doing basic functions. "No, not like that, Daddy. We're supposed to do it using shizzle grouping (or whatever the term is)." At which point, they're on their own. I can solve the problem and show them how to do it, but I don't know how to "shizzle group."

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Shopping Time

I already have black slacks, so now I'm in the market for a black suit coat. Sears has only one that costs $150, and Target ($70) doesn't have my size. If you know where else I might sniff around, do tell.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

Several Things

The readership has informed me that lapses in posting are unacceptable.

We had a visit over the weekend from Jason and Kay, who came up from Atlanta to watch some kind of figure-skating show in Greensboro.

Friday night we ate dinner at Pop's on Shannon Road. We are ODing.

Trader Joe's white bean hummus is yummy.

An article about the adolescent female desire to be an object of lust.

Jon Stewart is hilarious.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

riverdeep in concert

I've mentioned our upcoming concert to some of you during the past few weeks. The hall we've rented has 350 seats, and I'm turning in ticket money in a couple of days, so if this is your sort of thing and you want to come (Saturday, February 5th at 7:30 pm) send me an e-mail and I'll reserve them for you and collect your $10 later. It's not often I wear a real tie.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fish Shack

Two days ago, the Fish Shack closed for good. Bummer. I liked the food there.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Strange Beauty Film Festival

We have tickets for Session Four of the Strange Beauty film festival on Saturday, February 19th at 8 pm. Y'all come. We'll make it a party.

Yummy Beer

New beer discovery: Endless River Kolsch. Light-bodied and seriously tasty. I'll be quaffing this one again.

One Restaurant, Meadowmont, Chapel Hill

This post is to encourage local folks to boycott a restaurant called "One," in Meadowmont, in Chapel Hill. I know nothing about the food, only about the manager's treatment of at least one band.

Some friends of mine had played music there several times and were scheduled again to play. A person at One named Daniel sent them a text message just 48 hours before their planned gig to cancel and, further, to tell them they were no longer welcome to play there. Apparently this Daniel didn't care for the band's sound, its choice of songs, or the people who came to One specifically to hear the band.

I encourage the boycott not because this Daniel had these opinions, but because of the way he chose to communicate them. Delivering difficult news is challenging but needs to be done courteously (i.e., in person or, if time is tight, on the telephone) and professionally. We'd actually only gone to One because of the band, so our boycott won't be very effective, but still, we're boycotting One.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Two Music Things

This list of the top 10 composers of all time doesn't include Air Supply. Come on.

I don't know why I thought Gordon Lightfoot had died long ago. He's coming to Greensboro.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Two Sides of the Story

While I was tucking Emma into bed tonight she confessed that she and Jane had had a fight so bad that she, Emma, was "forced to take Paddington Bear hostage." (Paddington is Jane's favorite bear of all time.) She hid him in an upstairs bedroom. Jane later found him and reported to me that he had been "unceremoniously thrown onto the floor." But I should back up. Jane's side of the story started like this, before she knew that I knew there had been a fight at all.

"Daddy, have you ever been really really mad at someone?"

"Yes."

"So mad that you wanted to hurt them really really bad?"

"Sure."

"So mad that you..."

"What?"

"...that you flushed their iPod Shuffle down the toilet?"

Oh, fuck. I'd heard of fights like this, and now it was our turn. My eyes widened, but then Jane laughed and laughed. She got me good. No iPods were harmed during this fight.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Sexual Cost of Female Success

We haven't had any sexuality literature around this blog in quite some time. Here's a recent thing.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blackberry

My friend Jason, in addition to making his living in sports statistics, sends me funny things from time to time. Here's the latest.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Black Swan

Last night we watched Black Swan. Silly, goofy storyline, and one of those shaky-camera affairs. Gave me a headache.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sneaky Phrase

"I think you'd be really good at it" is a phrase used almost exclusively by a person who wants you to do what he wants you to do. Beware of it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Look At All Those Ones

Oh My GOD Magnum, the date is 1/11/11 and the time is 11:11. 11:11 on 1/11/11.

Today

We introduced the girls to Ace Ventura last night. PG-13--probably not a good idea. There were a couple of hay-rolling scenes.

Today was a "snow" day, so no school. We played and worked and ate at Cosmic Cantina and Kimberly worked from home and we made a fire and I made chocolate chip cookies.

Though I'm off to a quartet rehearsal tonight at Bill's house, the girls are going to stay in and watch Bridge to Terabithia. School's on a two-hour delay tomorrow morning.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sleepy Girl


Right in the middle of Christmas eve festivities, Jane fell asleep on her new Paddington bear. And look--Paddington is smiling.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Talking Animals

My sister-in-law sent this video link today. I have nearly urinated in my pants several times.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Yes!

Lordy. It's been a long time, so long that people have actually asked where in Cthulu's name the blog posting has gone. (No one used that phrasing.) This is a very short post to let you know that I'm still here and I'll be "back" soon. In half an hour I'm off to Tyler's Taproom to continue exercising my average-but-getting-better-by-the-month conversational Flemish skills with my Belgian friends. There will be beer.

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