Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Super Bowl Spread
Here's what I've got so far...
- Nacho Cheese Doritos
- Ruffles Plain
- Santita's White Corn Tortilla Chips
- Pringles: Loaded Baked Potato and Chipotle/Limon
- Wheat Thins
- Pace Medium Picante Salsa
- Reser's Cheese & Bacon Dip
- Kraft Cheddar 'n' Bacon Spray Cheese
- Oberto Summer Sausage Beef Log
- I crack myself up
- Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Fig Newtons
- Swiss Miss Butterscotch Pudding Cups
So what am I missing? I'll have to restock the Diet Pepsi and bottled waters. I'm a bit low in the protein department. KFC wings? Big Hoagie? Planter's Honey Roast? Smokehouse Almonds?
Help me out. What're you planning for your Super Bowl Spread?
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Dentistry Without Novocaine, So That's What It's Like
Because I'm so darn manly.
Also, because it was to replace a post-root canal temporary filling, and the tooth had no nerves left to feel pain.
But I'm sticking with "I'm so darn manly."
Monday, January 29, 2007
Almost as Good as the Rainman
And while I've known you can enter an equation into a the search field at Google and it will return the solution, I've seldom remembered that fact before launching a calculator program separately.
Behold the joy of the Google search field in the upper-right hand corner of Firefox. Simply key in the math: 9*12.75, and before you even hit enter the answer appears in a drop down from the search field (=114.75). It's just that easy.
Impress your loved ones. Your friends. Yourself.
Getting People This Year?
My sister Julia, a CPA, pointed me in the direction of irs.gov and their FreeFile program. Turns out if your AGI (automated gyroscope inverter?) is under $52,000 there are places that will prepare and e-file your federal return at no charge to you.
Will they sell your personal info? They say they won't.
On the list of companies providing the service is H&R Block, an outfit that sounds vaguely familiar (most don't). So we're looking at them this time around. State filing costs, but it's less than what the other company is charging.
If you're interested in e-filing this year, give the list a look. Try the FreeFile Wizard (not actual warlock) to see which outfits are available based on your AGI (aqueous gluten incubator? albatross galoshes investment?) and a few other factors. The money you save might be your own.
(This is not an ad. I have no expectation of remuneration or a free T-shirt. Consult a Certified Public Accountant before accepting advice from people you don't know on the Internet. Remuneration and free T-shirts will gladly not be refused should they be offered.)
Submission #2: Gone
#1 went out a week ago and is (as far as I know) still under consideration.
This could become a habit.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
No More Slow Blogging Days
So, is this site going to turn into the equivalent of those cable networks that have ten minutes of ads between every five minutes of your favorite movie? Gosh, I hope so -- ka-ching!!! But that's unlikely since stuff of marginal interest happens here on a not infrequent basis. I'll try to save the ads for those times when nothing's going on. Or something's in the $5 DVD bin at WalMart that I can't live without and I've already given plasma for the month.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Remains of the (Snow) Day
Here's the difference two weeks can make:
Friday, January 26, 2007
- I'm terrified of the new $100 bills. Ben Franklin's big ol' noggin, the way his eyes follow you. It's uncanny. If you want to scare me half to death, send me a $100 bill in the mail. I can tell counterfeit, so don't be a jerk. Krugerands are also frightening. They make me think of Freddy Kruger, and horizontal stripes -- like on his bloodstained brown and red rugby shirt -- don't look good on me at all.
- I often daydream of being on Oprah, not to discuss my writing, but my line of hand-beaded luxury accessories (purses, neckties, chewing gum valises, etc.) Not that I actually do any hand-beading; I think mainly because I'm afraid I'm not ready for Oprah yet.
- I do not enjoy the aerial bucket rides at amusement parks. Not so much because of the precarious height and flimsy connection from bucket to cable and the way they swing threateningly in even the slightest breeze, but because I imagine that I'm being carried to a detention facility high in the Swiss alps as I've been framed for the murder of a loved one and also I don't speak French and will not be able to understand the guards who will beat me for not obeying rules I cannot possibly understand. But I blame my fear on heights, mostly.
- I pronounce the L in Salmon, even when not referring to the author, Rushdie.
- I am right-handed, but wear my wristwatch on my right hand. I blame this on my older, left-handed brother who refuses to wear his watch on the wrong hand and make things even. Should open war ever break out between our two families, this is why.
- I have only one anecdote that deals with the prefix "pseudo." If you use said prefix conversationally, I will tell the anecdote to you. So you will be prepared to laugh at the appropriate moment, should I ever tell you the anecdote in person, I will tell it now so you will be ready.
When Dina and I lived in Sunnyvale, our rental condo had underground parking. None of that is germane to the anecdote, but it helps set the scene, which, again, is not at all relevant. Suffice it to say that I was waiting in the car -- our Plymouth Champ, if I recall correctly and irrelevantly -- listening to talk radio, probably KGO, doesn't really matter, and the caller was ranting about people who pretend they're smart. Whether the caller was a liberal complaining about conservatives putting on smartypants airs or vice versa isn't important so don't worry about it. What is important -- and the closest thing to a point this anecdote has -- is that this caller referred to such people as "suede-o intellectuals."I guarantee I will not tell the anecdote any better than that.
As far as I can tell, all my blogging buddies have already been hit by this meme. Rather than add to their shame by tagging them a second (or third, or fourth) time, I'll open up the tag to whoever has wanted to share six weird things about him- or herself and feels slighted that no one has tagged them yet. If you're playing along, leave a note in the comments so we can all come over and point and laugh and spill hot cocoa on your faux hardwood floors. Maybe I'll share my "pseudo" anecdote again.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
So I plugged in Mikesell. Unlike Durham, it isn't a breed of cattle, nor is it home to Duke University. The only definition is as a surname:
rare: 1 in 100000 families; popularity rank in the U.S.: #8547
How do you rate? (click the Durham or Mikesell link above, substitute your name in the URL, hit enter.)
Monday, January 22, 2007
Stay in and Vote
Infuze is currently preparing (or preparing to prepare) their second "Best of..." annual. They're looking for reader feedback on what to include.
VOTE for the poem and story of your choice. The poll options aren't linked to the selections, so let me draw your attention to a few of the short stories:
- Confessions of a Christian Mom by Linda Gilmore
- Pearl's Miracle by Dee Stewart
- The Print Version by J. Mark Bertrand
One vote per poll per person, or possibly IP address -- you can vote for a story and a poem.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
And I've a second piece going through revisions right now.
And a third I'm finishing some research on.
And then there's the novel. Ay-yi-yi, the novel.
Worst case, I'm getting a jump on this year's rejections.
Best case? When do they announce the Pulitzers?
Yeah right. I'll settle for anything to the best-side of center.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
If you're looking for Christian music at near-thrift store prices, check out some of the deals at Christian Discs' $3.99 (or less) sale. Some of my favorites:
- Sixpence None the Richer: self-titled
though I'm partial to their Divine Discontent
- Chasing Furies: With Abandon
- Lost Dogs: Best of
(pre-Gift Horse/not nearly enough from Green Room Serenade)
- The Choir: Flap Your Wings
- Echoing Green: Supernova
For when you're feeling Techno-y.
- Various Artists: Roaring Lambs
With everyone from Jars of Clay to Over the Rhine to Steve Taylor to Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Charlie Peacock. Good stuff, Maynard.
- Charlie Peacock: Strangelanguage
- Havalina: Space Love and Bullfighting
Quirky, but the organ on "You've Got Me Cryin" is worth $4 all on its own.
Can't vouch for, but wouldn't be surprised to find it excellent:
Phil Keaggy: Cinemascapes
In the event that Sandi Patti/y is more your style:
Artist of My Soul, All the Best, Find it on the Wings
See something I missed in the almost 300 CDs on sale? Give me an earful in the comments (and don't miss the other almost-300 CDs in the $6.99 Super Sale).
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Getting Allan Sherman
I didn't get all the musical references. Mexican Hat Dance, I did. Sir Greenbaum's Madrigal, yep. Harvey and Sheila, but of course. Years later I'd make the connection between The Bronx Bird Watcher and Gilbert & Sullivan's Mikado.
A few months back I picked up a Louis Armstrong CD. One of the tracks was St. James Infirmary, which includes the lyric
I went down to the St. James Infirmarywhich immediately recalled Sherman's spoof
Saw my baby there
Stretched out on a long white table
So sweet...so cold...so fair
I went down to Mt. Sinai Hospital
To see my old zaydie there
And I said, Thanks God for the Blue Cross
And I wish we had the Medicare
Then earlier this week I picked up the Jimmy Stewart version of Flight of the Phoenix. Along with Ernest "It's not a disaster film without me" Borgnine and George "Me, either" Kennedy, the movie includes a small role played by Barrie Chase. Oh, I thought to myself, I know her -- she's from that Allan Sherman song, Barry is the Baby's Name:
We'll call him Barry, Barry.
That'll be the baby's name.
We thought of Lance or Josh,
But, oh, my gosh,
They're not the same.
But if it's Barry, Barry,
That's a name with style and grace.
And if he's not a he,
It still could be
Like in Barrie Chase.
Granted, I have no idea (at the moment) what tune the song is based on, but at least the last line make sense now.
There's a lot more on the records I still don't get. They say everything comes back into fashion, eventually. Maybe next time the 50s and 60s swing by again, I'll figure out a little more.
Poor Phil, though. He's gonna have to figure out Allan Sherman and "Weird" Al when he's older...
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
End of the 6.33 Day Weekend
The 10-day shows a warming trend through the next week, with lows above freezing showing up on Friday. Come August I'll be wishing I'd bottled some of this chill ... which makes sense, since now I'm wishing I had a picnic basket of summer sun. <sigh>
Labels: first grade
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Icy and Dicey
What there was, was ice. Lots and lots. Miles and miles. Of ice.
The first ten miles took about half an hour. That included the hill at Low Pass, which had several cars off to the side, spinning their wheels on the western face. I was all alone on the north side (the road takes a 90-degree turn at the top), which was just fine by me: didn't need anyone to see me fishtailing at the bottom of the hill (the 90-degree turn that heads the road back east).
The next half hour was spent traveling the rest of the way to Junction City (15-ish miles). A few more cars nosed off the road, a little more testing of the limits of Subaru's All-Wheel Drive system, a lot more conversating with God.
Wound up a half hour late to the dentist, which wound up being a half hour earlier than he could see me.
Fifteen-minutes-in-the-chair later I was back on the road. Which took me as far as the Barnes & Noble a mile away. For about an hour, a large coffee, and a two-degree bump in the weather.
The road back home was slushy. Slower going than usual, but no real hazards.
By comparison, the mail/bank run this afternoon was dull. Blissfully, blissfully dull.
[6:45p -- just saw this via Drudge: home video of an Icy Street in Portland. Would have been too freaked to drive this morning if I'd seen that before heading out. Which wouldn't have necessarily been a bad thing...]
Monday, January 15, 2007
Note to Eva Longoria
Photo credit: AP's coverage of the 2007 Golden Globes
Sunday, January 14, 2007
The Advantage of Low Expectations
It's not a great movie, but it has some fun moments. The singing slugs, for instance. Most things with Whitey the sewer rat. Everything with the frog mime. The rest? Pretty much, meh.
Still, not a waste of a buck-fifty. Phil had a blast and that's worth at least the three we paid to get in.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
About ten years ago I joined MyPoints, one of those we-send-you-emails, you-read-them/respond-and-earn-points outfits. Since then I've earned more than $200 in Barnes & Noble gift certificates. Could've earned more -- not that a $25 gift card per year isn't a nice pick-me-up -- if I actually took advantage of any of the "offers." And then there was the year or so they went quiet, retooling the program or what, I don't know.
What I do know is that lately the emails have been coming more consistently. 5-20 points a day (you get 5 points for each email you respond to, whether you take advantage of the offer or not). With a little over 3,000 points you can get a $25 B&N gift card (many other deals available, I just like that one). You can get a $10 card at the same points/cash ratio if you like the "more rewards, more often" feeling.
Full Disclosure: They're doing a membership drive right now. If I refer you (hence the post's title) you get 125 points to start, I get a 200
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Joys of Fatherhood
It was nice, lying there, him holding my hand, me listening to him breathe. <sigh>
Then he yawned and stretched and hit me in the face.
Labels: Good Times
Our First Snowman
I noticed a couple things while we were out playing. First, Phil's getting better at dodging snowballs. Second, when snowballs would sail past him (ooooh, so close!) they'd roll when they landed and pick up more snow. Now I thought that kind of thing only happened in cartoons and corny movies. But, no, apparently a rolling snowball will (under certain conditions; I've tried it before without success, hence my thinking it was a myth) get bigger and bigger until it engulfs Mr. Magoo or you turn it into a snowman.
Which is what Phil and I did for the first time ever.
- Phil's and the Snowman: 1, 2 Photo quality is a bit low as I had to use the auxiliary back-up camera.
Now to wait for Mr. Magoo to wander by...
Thinking it'd be neat to make a pocket-sized "book," I made a template in InDesign and imported one of my Flashing in the Gutters stories to try it out. As an experiment it's not too shabby. There are some margin issues that require trimming with scissors after you print -- about a half inch at the bottom for me, your mileage may vary -- but it was a good learning experience.
Here's a PDF of my favorite of the three stories I contributed to FitG: Schrödinger’s Gat. (Click the "folding guide" button on the PocketMod page for instructions on how to create the booklet.)
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Poetry Contest Followthrough
Jane Lebak is no stranger to the readers of DKA. Her short story, Even a Stone, placed second in their fiction contest, and Damage is among the more moving tales I've read. So it's no surprise that her poem, When Angels Fledge, did well among tough competition.
Congrats, Jane! (and I loved your piece in the latest Door)
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Virtual Road Rage
Several weeks ago I discovered the game Gridlock (via digg, I believe). Same principle: get the designated block off the screen, moving the other blocks either up/down or left/right. I got through the first dozen or so levels quickly. Level 27 stumped me for days and days. Level 28 appears a poser, too.
If your commute's giving you nothing to complain about, give the game a try. If you're reading this on your web-enabled phone bumper-to-bumper on the 405, get off on Crenshaw and take a breather -- drive out to the coast, listen to the surf awhile -- before subjecting yourself to more frustration.
Labels: Flash Games
Saturday, January 06, 2007
And if I cinch my brown leather belt corset-tight I can add another notch. It might provoke an intestinal revolt, though, so I'm going to hold off a little longer.
Labels: Weight Loss
Friday, January 05, 2007
CFBA Friday: Tangerine
Let me direct you to a few CFBA members who are running special posts this week:
- Kelly Klepfer has a review and interview (two separate posts) at her blog, Scrambled Dregs.
- Val Comer has a two-parter (1, 2) at In My Little World.
- Just the basics can be found at plenty of CFBA sites, like Mich Pendergrass' Just a Minute and David Meigs's Curmudgeon's Rant (warning: it's not ranty at all).
Be sure to peruse the other CFBA blogs -- Kelly's and Val's posts I found clicking randomly at the list -- and stop by Marilynn's blog, too: Rhythms of Grace.
Look for a couple more of these summaries over the next weeks. I'll have an interview (fingers crossed) and review for Robert Liparulo and his latest, Germ, at the end of the month.
Hello, Little Wanderers
Welcome all. It's nice to have some traffic here, whatever the source. (We're back up to double digits in first-time and repeat visitors; things were awfully sketchy during the holidays).
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Welcome Tri-County News Readers
Anyhoo, welcome TCN readers. Glad you stopped by. Links to other things I've written can be found by clicking the Published Works link in the left-hand menu. Enjoy!
*reprint of the August '06 WLN article.
New Year, New Notches
The imprinting on the back of the belt says "size 44." Fortunately it's been years since I've needed that much leather. And as nice as it is to convert it to a size 38, I've got another notch or two (or four) to add before I retire it permanently.
I'll get better-fitting belts in the meantime, but since I already got rid of the 44" waist pants in a "never again" moment, the belt will serve as a reminder of how far I've come.
Labels: Weight Loss
Back to School
Phil had a great time over the break (see earlier posts (1, 2) for his Christmas experience). With Aunt Julia here he caught a couple movies (Night at the Museum, Open Season), got his first Build-a-Bear friend (a monkey), burned through Christmas gift cards (things from Toys R Us that he's "always wanted" even though they only came out last year), and stayed up way too late, way too often.
Still, he's been excited about school starting again. And, frankly, we have been, too. It's a win-win for everybody.
Monday, January 01, 2007
2006 Books Read
The 2006 List
2007's target? A novel a week would be nice, but who knows? 12 nonfiction books would be nice. I've counted the short stories in my Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor and the Dorothy L. Sayers omnibus, Lord Peter, and the total is 52. So above and beyond whatever else I read, my goal is to finish both those books. If I finish early I've got the Complete Father Brown stories by Chesterton (50) and Ray Bradbury's Twice 22 (44) to keep me busy. And then there's the dozen or so novels in my "to be read" pile, not to mention a few more short story collections and nonfiction books.
In other book news, I picked up this from the discount table at Waldenbooks today: (M.C. Escher) Masterpieces in 3-D. Stereoscopic Escher prints: cool beans.