What's on my mind.

29 April 2008

When Bad Gammar Attacks!

Drove past what must be the most pessimistic church ever this weekend.

As I drove out to pick up Ellen and her dogs for a walk I noticed the sign at the church at the corner. I assumed it had a version of the standard "God doesn't give you more than you can handle" aphorism. Then out of the corner of my eye I noticed it said 'no' not 'on'. The message board/sign read:
God does not put no more on you than you can bare.

I'm not sure what God is putting on you so that you can't show or divulge it all but I thought God was suppose to like us.

OMG, do I wish I could have snapped a picture for you. My camera was shipped back yesterday afternoon! Hopefully all fixed. If it's still up after my camera is back, I'll get a picture.

24 April 2008

OMG, a 2 1/2 Stone Cat!

And you thought your cat was big.

That's 35 pounds (or 15.8 kilograms) for us non-Brits. He really likes Italian fare.

(Courtesy of Cute Overload.)

At least I'm not a C.

Just when I think my family is going to drive me up the wall something comes along to remind me it could be worse...I could be a member of my sister-in-law's family.*

Mom called last night and was having a hard time being appropriately sober for the news she had. One of my sisters-in-law's father had died. She was sorry to hear this, so am I. It's a terrible loss for her and her family.

Now it gets amusing. He died early Tuesday. The obituary wasn't in Wednesday's paper and isn't be in Thursday's (today's) paper, even though the funeral is suppose to Saturday with, my brother assumed, visitation Friday evening. It has been printed yet because my SIL, her 6 siblings, mother, and step-mother can't agree on what to say. We'll see if the obit makes it in tomorrow's paper. If the funeral is really going to be Saturday, they'll have to make a lot of phone calls to make sure everyone who should know does in time.

Also, they won't have the body. One of the siblings is demanding an autopsy to find out how he died. (It was almost certainly a heart attack or stroke.) Before you start thinking about family medical history, etc., my SIL's siblings are all adopted. My brother didn't say who but Mom didn't infer that my SIL was the one requesting the autopsy.

This whole situation is actually not surprising for this family. They love one another and would (except when not speaking) do anything for one another but agreement is hard to come by but they are a crazy family. We all come from crazy families, really. Just crazy in different ways. At least when my father dies I don't have to worry that Mom, Riva, my brothers and sister, and I will be arguing over what should and should not be in his obituary.

UDATE: The Tuscaloosa News does have a death notice (at least online) listing name, age, residence, date and place of death, and "Tuscaloosa Memorial Chapel will announce arrangements later."

UPDATE 2: Apparently whoever was pushing for the autopsy has given up because there will be a burial Saturday, as well.

*Obviously I'm part of her family and part of the extended "C" family, but y'all know what I mean. You don't get to pick your in-laws.

22 April 2008

Free Love? Free Bodies?

Two oddly related readings from Tuesday on Brazilian waxes and Open Source Boobs.*

I'll let you draw the connections.

Cohen gets one thing wrong - while Victorian women wore long dresses they hardly kept their cleavage under wraps, at least in formal wear. And even when covered they were hardly hidden. The corset may have restricted breathing and therefore kept women seemingly delicate (and non-lusty) but it also pushed the breasts up and accentuated a woman's curves. Hardly a good way to hide sexuality. Corsets did, however, create a sort of sameness to the look of all women - very narrow waist, high breasts, and wide hips (sometimes with the help of crinolines, hoops, and bustles). Victorians were neither the first nor the last to attempt to standardize beauty.

I had more to say about OPSP but The Ferret has a long update to his post that says much of it and the rest I was having a hard time articulating.

*Found by way of Whatever.

Weekend Round-up

Warning: Long, rambling, mostly pointless.

Saturday I got up at 5, woke Nettie, went back to bed (but not asleep) until Nettie got out of the shower twenty minutes later (wish she'd told me she was going to shower in the morning).

We left only 10 minutes late for the triathlon (Collegiate National Championship). Arrived on campus I pulled my bike off the rack and discovered that despite my checking and pumping up the tires Friday, my front tire was flat as a pancake; riding down the hill wasn't bad. We managed to wind our way to the volunteer tent, get our assignment, and hitch a ride with a family also working in the same area. Then we sat for 30-45 minutes. Then we stood and waved a flag for 3 hours. I was facing the sun much of the time, or turned sideways and allowing my hair to shade my face. I got to chat with a nice police officer who works nights and got 'voluntold' to work traffic control for the triathlon. Getting up at 5 greatly diminished my remembering sunblock and a hat. It was a beautiful day. After the last rider went by we hitched a ride back. We went and ate, then went home. I napped; Nettie (except for about 5 minutes in the car) didn't.

Ellen came over and she and I went to Dillards. Our local store is going out of business. They have some stuff really reduced; some stuff barely discounted; and some stuff not discounted at all. All of it, by this time, is pretty picked over. There was a really pretty pair of shoes that were completely impractical (too high!) and that was the only thing I saw. I could have looked at the men's shirts more but didn't feel like dragging Ellen through there. Then we ate and went to Movie Gallery. I think we wandered around for half an hour and never picked out anything. Then we went back to her house and watched a couple of movies.

Sunday I got up at 6, Nettie came over. We left for the triathlon (Tuscaloosa Triathlon) on time. We worked the swim start this time. Not much to do since there were only two waves - men and women & relays. There were four colors of caps, so I wonder if they started out planning on 4 waves and decided the groups were small enough to just do two. I made Nettie come over and cheer for the swimmers at the swim finish. One guy did the backstroke the whole way, apparently he learned a little more than a year ago. Last year he didn't finish the swim; this year he did. Backstroke is not the best for an open water race because it is hard to see where you're going. I wouldn't be surprised if he swam an extra 50m (over the 750 meters) just course correcting. We stayed and cheered for him (2nd to last) and the grandmother who was last. We watched a little of the bike finish after that, then went home. I napped, again.

About 2, Nettie, Honey, and I picked up her friend and we all went to EarthFest On the Quad. We ate tofu-dogs and a tofu-burger (Nettie didn't like her hot dog.); listened to a reading of The Lorax ("I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues") with (bad) puppetry; the girls got their faces painted; I got two free nice tote/grocery bags from the Sierra Club. Before we went to the Quad we stopped by the park; my flannel shirt/jacket was still where I'd set down at 7:30 in the morning but Nettie's headband was gone. Later, I planted a few veggies, watched The Phantom Menace, and went to bed. I was exhausted.

Yesterday wanted a weekend to recover from my weekend.

Tri-athletes are incredible. And slightly insane. I didn't make it to the dance (and I'll be out of town for next month's). I didn't go because Ellen wanted to hang out and I don't get to see her that much. (I told you there would be rationalizing.)

I'll stop rambling now.

p.s. at least one word in my post tags (all of them) begins with each letter of the alphabet.

17 April 2008

Dance Revolution

Any of y'all want to go to a ball Saturday?

I'm a member of the Tuscaloosa Ballroom Dance Club, by virtue of having taken their introductory dance course last summer, but I've never gone to one of the balls or dances. I didn't even get to go to the "graduation dance" at the end of the classes. Every month I look at the newsletter and think "I could go, it'd be fun." and then "But I don't know anyone. And what if no one talks to me or dances with me? That'd be awful."

Sunday, at the plant sale, I ran into my AP Biology teacher, Mrs. Meyers and she's in the club, too (we took the intro course at the same time). She encouraged me to go Saturday. She even invited me to join her and some friends before the dance at Applebee's for dinner and drinks. (Yep, that's about the best of dining out in Tuscaloosa. Well, almost.) Mrs. M said that last month there were more men than women at the dance and she danced ever number. That's unheard of. (the # men> # women part)

My Saturday is shaping up such that I don't think I'd make it to dinner before hand but I'm seriously considering going to the dance. IF I can figure out what to wear. This month is the "Black and White Ball" so semi-formal and all black and white. I have at least one pair of cocktail pants, maybe two, I could wear but I'm at a loss for a top.

Not again!

One of my favorite poems is "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock".* One of my favorites despite having studied it in English Comp 2, American Lit (because Eliot was born in the US), and World Lit (because Eliot spent his later years in England and even gave up American citizenship to become a British subject). So even after hearing it picked apart and analyzed several times, I still like it.

Poetry analysis was my least favorite part of literature classes. I just like what I like and hate picking a poem apart until there's nothing left, no meaning. I particularly hated it in high school, college wasn't as bad.** None of my college professors made us pick a poem apart line by line like my 11th grade teacher did.

Another poet I studied in multiple classes (high school, brit lit, and world lit) was William Blake. His stuff's pretty good, too.

*There IS a wiki for everything.
**We were never expected to discuss other possibilities for the what the mushrooms symbolized in college. One kid did suggest communism. Maybe she was writing in support of the Truman Doctrine but based on our slight knowledge of Sylvia Plath what, other than depression, were we, snot nosed 16/17 yr. olds, going to think?

Why didn't you tell me?

It's National Poetry Month. I could've spent the last 17 days subjecting you to my bad poetry.

I like attempting haiku because it is both difficult and easy to say something in such a short piece. You have to cut the idea/feeling/moment down to bare bones necessity. I've never approved of calling any very short poem a 'haiku', as is sometimes done because it is so hard to say anything in English in 17 syllables. (Isn't that kind of the point?) Then I read that actually Japanese haiku have 17 sounds (or moras for you linguists) – that just crazy ass short.

For example:
Fearfully longing
For the bright springtime
My wintry heart.

Has 17 syllables (5/7/5) but 31 sounds (9/13/9). If I'm counting right, to say approximately the same thing in 17 sounds you get this:

Bright Spring
My heart

But, at least to me, it's harder (because we don't do it much) to count sounds and much MUCH harder to actually say anything that way. I'll stick to syllables.

16 April 2008


Sunday before riding, because he is often a bit high spirited when first saddled, I longed Patches. Sometimes instead of making a nice circle he tries to run straight and jerks the line. One of those times I must have pulled something because my back is killing me. Monday I was a little stiff and I thought maybe I slept funny or instead of cramps I would just have a sore back (sorry, I know, TMI). Yesterday it was worse, but I used a couple of hot damp washcloths* on it and it felt a little better before bed. I think it may be worst today. Yesterday it only hurt when I moved (like stood up, sat down, or bent over), today it hurts just to sit here.

I brushed Q-tip last night. She doesn't groom herself much and is shedding like she wants to be bald. I brushed her for a good 45 minutes, filled the little brush with white hair, then ran my hand down her back to watch a couple of little clumps of cat hair float off. I changed shirts after I tossed her back out there was so much hair on me. She didn't mind too much my brushing her hair backwards (sometimes helps loosen up more hair). A couple times I just moved the brush back a forth a little bit and she rubbed her jaw on it, just where she likes to be scratched. One advantage to her lax grooming is there isn't much cat saliva on her fur so she doesn't make me itch as much as her sister. Irish can be a bit obsessive about grooming.

That's where I am this lovely Wednesday. Not much going on. It's still freezing in my office. It's warmer outside so I can go outside and warm up in a bit.

*Finding my heating pad would have required much bending, stooping, and crawling, none of which is going to happen when I actually need to use the heating pad. It was on the floor beside my bed before I moved it, but didn't look like it was in that corner yesterday. Not that I got down on the floor to really look. When I find it I will be putting it in a more accessible place.

14 April 2008

Cats with Engineers.

This is soooooo funny.


3 = The guy with all the cats? Does having 3 cats make weird chick with all the cats? Does having a dog mitigate this?

My cats' yodeling skills: Q-tip wouldn't be a good cat yodeler; she hardly has a meow. She says 'meh' a lot. I bet Irish could join the cat opera. Stubby's not to talkative.

In other news, Nettie and I rode Patches yesterday. We brushed about 10 pounds of winter fur off of him, leaving only another 20-30 pounds for next weekend, the next weekend, and the next weekend...until it seems we must have brushed him completely bald, except he still has a lovely white and tan coat. (Don't ya just love shedding season?) Because of all the curring this required, my arms are as sore as my legs.

We went to the Arboretum's Spring plant sale before riding. I bought too many plants, that I can't plant until later this week due to our late cold snap. While in the yard I pulled a few Spiny Sowthistles and stepped in an ant bed. The hydrocortisone I slathered on this morning doesn't seem to have helped. My foot itches like a son of a bitch. (I'm not exactly sure how much an SOB itches but it must be a lot.) If it weren't so cool today I'd've worn the same shoes I was wearing yesterday because they didn't get me under the strap, so I think the shoes wouldn't have rubbed the bites. I succumbed to the pleasure of scratching in the middle of the night - ahhhhhh, ummmm, right there, ohhh that's the spot, oh yeah, ummm - then stuck my foot out from under the covers in hopes that the cold air would numb it. (Sorry, but Honu-Girl is on jury duty and Sarah's gone to Atlanta, so I don't have anyone to complain to.)

*Thanks SOMC.

08 April 2008

Most Brillant Thought of the Day

We don't need our heating/air conditioning repaired, we can use our frigid offices to make the State money. There's an entire empty office and at least a quarter of mine, as well as bits and pieces of other's offices, that we could rent out for cold storage. Rm 112 can go from a virtual meat locker to an actual meat locker!

A: Because rolling in dead stuff is the BEST.

Q: Why Honey got a bath yesterday.

We found a dead fish in the pond yesterday evening. Honey's good at fetching dead things; she never drops them. But instead of eating it she rolled on it.

Because smelling like dead fish is great!

If you're a dog, if you're human it is gross. I think Honey thought I was mad at her, she was reluctant to get in bed, like she thought she wasn't welcome. I kept telling her she smelled pretty.

Note to Brandy at Winn Dixie on Sunday: 1) The fro-hawk is does nothing for you. 2) Practice before coming to work with new nails; yours were not the longest I've seen on cashiers but you seemed to have the most problems with them. 3) I appreciate your knowledge of how to deal with TR's partial food stamps payment; you have no idea how many of your coworkers screw that up.

07 April 2008

Let's Get Chemistrying!

Friday before last Nettie brought over their Dirt Devil because my vacuum cleaner doesn't do my stairs very well anymore. And she brought over her chemistry set and microscope kit (Christmas gifts). I was in the middle of cleaning so I managed to mostly put off both. We did look at some pond water under the microscope, as well as several of the prepared slides that she has. She also caught a toad (Mr. Toady!) that we had to identify (Southern Toad). I told her to come back Saturday morning and we'd do some more. Saturday morning we saw toads mating (gross), collected toad eggs (cool) and made litmus solution (a.k.a. Experiment 1). The litmus solution, unfortunately, needs to sit overnight before being decanted into the little dropper bottle. So we didn't get to do any real experiments.

Thursday I invited Nettie over to check on her toad tadpoles. Then she announced that she needed to know what tadpoles ate since she was now their "mommy". According to wikipedia tadpoles are herbivores, so they should do fine with all the algae in the jar with them. Then we did the first set of experiments with the chemistry set. We turned litmus solution red, then back to blue. Then we tried the 4th experiment which is suppose to be a "wow your friends and family" one where you pour blue litmus solution into a test tube with Ammonium Sulfate in it and it turns red immediately. (The cartoon in the book shows a red solution with just a little blue right where the litmus is poured in.) It didn't work. We may not have had enough (NH4)2SO4 in the test tube. I looked over the next experiment and decided we needed to wash the test tubes, etc. Then Nettie spilled a beaker with litmus solution in it on the chair, her shoe, and the floor. That seemed like a good time to quit for the evening.

Anyway, she had fun. Well, right up until I was saying, somewhat loudly, "No it will not hurt you but it might stain the floor. Mop it up!"* (Will it stain me? Will it stain the chair?) Sodium carbonate is listed as an irritant in the book, this had her all worried because apparently she didn't listen the first time, when we started the experiments, when I said it might, in large amounts, make her itch.

I have a couple of complaints about how the book is set up, but mostly because it's not what I'm used. We'll have fun with it.

I don't know if it's her age or what but she has the slowest spill reaction of anyone I know. Doesn't matter what it is, she just stares at the water (or milk or soda or...) spreading across the table (spilling on to the floor, herself, wherever) while the adults around her say things like "where's your napkin?" and "Use your napkin to keep it from going off the table."

03 April 2008

Zoroastrian Mecca

That is one hell of an eternal flame.

Apparently there was a massive cavern collapse while drilling for gas and the geologist decided that rather than have a huge gas seep (sneaky deadly) they'd light the thing and make a huge fire (obviously deadly). 35 YEARS AGO.

Think of the MCFs of gas that have been wasted. I don't know if different drilling techniques or better knowledge of the subsurface could have prevented it or if it could be put out and the gas captured, but, wow, what a waste gas. Except for the cool pictures.:)