Monday, December 31, 2007

Speaking of blue...

My team lost their bowl game on that weird blue field today. It does not make me feel any better than teams with coaching transitions are 0-5 in their bowl games thus far.

It hasn't been a good day otherwise. I lost a necklace charm down the drain of the bathroom sink this evening. After much cursing, I asked PDM to take the trap out to get it back. The trap disintegrated when he tried to remove it. The pipe was old and corroded and thin, and just turned to dust. The only good thing was that he got my jewelry back. The bad thing is that I have to call a plumber on January 2 to come out and fix the sink, plus inspect the rest of the plumbing for more weak spots. Great. Just wonderful. Swell.

But that wasn't the only malfunction of the evening. Right after the game, I decided I wanted to hear the Georgia Tech radio broadcast, because I wanted to know some stuff like why they pulled the starting QB at halftime, and what happened to Choice, and why they did a lot of what they did. But the AM station that carries our games has a giant loss of signal strength at 5:30 and this was 5:45pm. So I went on the web and streamed the station live on PDM's Mac. It worked fine for about five minutes and then crashed his computer. We turned it off and went to the pub. When we got back and turned it back on, there was a major problem, and PDM has been working on it for two hours. I feel terrible, because I was the last person to use it before the Big Crash. It still isn't working and I feel awful, and PDM is mad at me.

There are other things that have made this not the best year. Goodbye 2007 and good riddance. I hope 2008 is better. And I hope y'all are having more fun than I am, because this is not fun at all. Sigh.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Believe in Blueland

I attended my first NHL hockey game last night. Tickets for the Thrashers vs. Bruins game were one of my gifts to PDM this Christmas. He loves hockey, but I had always been sort of lukewarm about going. I'd been to a couple of AHL games (the now defunct Worcester Icecats) when I lived in Massachusetts, and I like watching sports, but generally hockey hasn't been my thing. That's why I knew this gift would be a surprise. Especially when I wrapped the tickets and taped them to the inside cover of a box, put a lot of junk in it to rattle around, then wrapped the box.

I've gotta admit it was a lot of fun. Way better than watching a game on TV. It didn't take long to see my first hockey fight (less than two and a half minutes in), followed by a second fight before they had even announced the penalties for the first fight. That got the crowd fired up. Atlanta went on to play a great game, winning a 5-0 shutout.

This should have been my second Thrashers-Bruins game. PDM had tickets to a Thrashers game for us and four of his family members five years ago during one of my holiday visits. This was back when I still lived in Massachusetts and we were dating long distance. Unfortunately, we ate some bad Mexican food the day before and became violently ill overnight. It was my first time staying at the family home, and I made it memorable by puking all over the floor at three o'clock in the morning. To his credit, PDM helped me clean it up, even though he was also fighting a losing battle with nausea. The family had to go to the game without us, and we ended up with a pair of $60 bookmarks to go with our fever and chills. We joke about it now, but back then... not so funny.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Rude Awakening

I was startled awake at 4:20 this morning when my 13-year old cat, Zima, decided to empty her bladder on my pillow right next to my head. If she was trying to get my attention, she definitely succeeded. Her efforts are being rewarded with a trip to the vet this afternoon. I figure this is a result of three possible things: (a) she has a UTI, (b) she is unhappy about being picked on constantly by the other two cats, or (c) she is mad that I moved the litterbox downstairs and/or that I would not get up in the middle of the night and let her outside to pee.

Let me just say that I am not amused. Had to throw away my favorite feather pillow, start a load of laundry and take a shower in the wee hours of the morning, change the sheets, then go back to bed with sopping wet hair and try to get enough sleep to make it through another work day. Grumble, grumble, grumble…


Update 12/30/07 - She did have a urinary tract infection. After a few days on antibiotics, she seems to be feeling much better. And I haven't been peed on, which is always a plus.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry, Merry!


Merry Christmas, Sweet Solstice, Happy Hanukkah, or whatever it is you celebrate at this time of year. I wish you all the best.

Photo: long exposure of entryway tree with motion toward tree and some good luck.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Frenetic



We are hours away from the Winter Solstice, which should be a quiet and peaceful time of year, and Christmas - a time to relax and enjoy family and friends. But the week before Christmas is not much fun at all. Disrupted routines, crowds, traffic, and a bunch of last minute "must do" chores can make you tired and cranky.

This year has been worse than normal. Our plans have been up in the air due to the health of a family member, and I have been disorganized and late doing things. It is the 21st, and I still have stuff to buy for people. Including PDM. Oh sure, I bought his "big" present already, but I'd like to have a few fun items for stocking stuffers, and gifts from the cats.

Worse yet, my creativity has deserted me. I am uninspired. I can't think of what to get people. This usually results in getting them something lame at the last minute.

Here's to hoping it's a good Christmas anyway, and that we get everything done and have time to enjoy family and friends. Hopefully they will still be talking to me after receiving their incredibly banal gifts.


The photo is one I took using a slow shutter speed and creative camera angle at the "Fantasy in Lights" winter wonderland display at Callaway Gardens.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

"How to pimp a Camry?" and Other Stupid Queries

The search terms that bring strangers to Cosmic Cat are pretty tame compared to the ones some other bloggers share, but no less bizarre. As a public service of questionable value, I will share some of these queries along with some commentary. You know, to make it easy on the next people who land here looking for answers to life's quirky quandaries.

I hate to say it, but the most common search term that shows up on a very consistent basis is some variant of "pimp my Camry". Folks, I can make this real simple for you. You bought a Camry for cryin' out loud. They are comfortable cars. They are reliable and practical and affordable. They're kind of boring and that is why we buy them. They can't be pimped. Any attempt on your part to install curb feelers, fancy rims, or a homemade spoiler is just going to make your Camry look ridiculous.

"Cuban pork roast" - yes it is delicious, but if you are trying to find a recipe you'll have to look elsewhere.

"He's a lumberjack and he's OK" (and "lumberjack" and "guys chopping logs", etc.) - yes, he is. But I only admire them from a distance.

"Why do my bra straps fall down when I am walking?" - Probably because you bought that bra in the 90s. Get a new one that fits, and adjust the straps.

"saggy pants ban" - get a belt.

"Traveling through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, boy" - no it ain't, especially if your hyperdrive is on the fritz.

"Would aspirin hurt a cat?" - probably, if you throw it hard enough.

"Touchdown Jesus lolcat" - almost certainly would be amusing, but never appeared on this blog.

"Tore up and tore up good" - what happens if you eat too much chili.

"Super size fake boobs" - Is the "freak of nature" size really necessary?

"Cat, no visible testicles" - dude, your cat is either (a)female, or (b)neutered.

"Cats digging in my pants" - not recommended.

"Albino worm/leech" - what the blister will look like if you burn your finger on a hot coffee mug, or an invertebrate lacking pigment.

"Cat flux" - the number of cats flowing through a unit area per unit time?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Retread Christmas Catblogging


A rerun from 2006, but still funny. This is the reason why we didn't put up a tree this year. Moxy might be "over it", but Silvio would be even worse... Zima, ever a lady, is above the fray.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Seven

I've been tagged by Jeni to list seven things about me. Err, thanks, I think.

1. I procrastinate. A lot. In fact, half of the stuff I listed last December is still not done. I knocked out one of them just today (local cell phone number, a mere 3.5 years after moving). Another one (the window treatments for the not-so-new house) was completed just a few weeks ago. That is the way it works. Nothing happens for months (or years), and then all of a sudden I decide to "just do it" and have a spurt of productivity.

2. Back in 1984, during my first quarter in college, the only "A" I got was in Marching Band. Lets just say high school was way too easy for me and I had NO IDEA how to study, and not much inclination to do so because I was busy having fun. It got better as time went on.

3. When I went back to Tech in 2004 to work on a second MS degree, I didn't get any final grades less than an "A". Older + wiser + genuinely interested + good work ethic = CURVEBUSTER!

4. I lived in Massachusetts for over twelve years, but never went to a Red Sox game. Meant to. Procrastinated... At least I got to see a Celtics game in the old Boston Garden.

5. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. Things didn't quite work out that way, but space travel isn't exactly the way I had imagined it either. The food and sanitary facilities are far superior in my current occupation.

6. I've been debt free (except mortgage) since 2003. Love it! My best advice is to not get into debt in the first place. It was hard to get out of. But doable. If you don't know how to do it, this book will show you the way.

7. I've been growing my hair out so that I can donate it to Locks of Love. I started well over a year ago, and my hair is about as long as it has ever been in my adult life. It will take another six months to a year before I have the minimum 10" ponytail that they ask for and still have enough hair left for me to not freak out.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Word of the year?

w00t!

Yes, the computer geek's expression of joy, spelled with two zeros. It's cute, but it isn't a word. "Facebook" took second place - as a verb, not a noun. Merriam-Webster is really slipping.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ho, Ho, HOT!

While the rest of the country is shivering through snow and ice storms, we in the southeast have been enjoying record high temperatures. It is hard to get into the Christmas spirit when it is hot enough to wear shorts and sandals! Christmas shopping is usually a cold and windy affair no matter where you live, but not for us this year. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. No, y'all can keep your icy roads and power outages. I'll take balmy 77 degree days and hazy sunshine any time. Ho, ho, hot! At least through Wednesday... after that, the party's over.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

CSI: CC

Crime Scene Investigation: Cosmic Cat edition.


We've noticed a lot of commotion coming from this spot in our house. Upon investigation, I found that the cats had broken into the new cat scratcher (it was under the furniture in the top right part of the photo - you can see the yellow tassels on it) and pulled out the enclosed bag of catnip, along with the label. The bag was ripped open and the catnip scattered all over the floor. No wonder there has been such a ruckus over there!


Silvio returns to the scene of the crime to get his catnip fix. Bad cat!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

An Evening at Eddie's Attic

Christmas came a little bit early this year! My friend Shelli got me a table for four, front and center, at the cozy Decatur music venue Eddie's Attic to see Kelly Joe Phelps last night. Phelps is a singer/songwriter/guitarist that I discovered when I started getting into blues and folk artists a few years back. He showed up on many, many recommendations lists, so I bought one CD. Then I bought all of his other ones. Shelli and I saw him perform a few times at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA. The first time was an especially memorable experience. A strong summer thunderstorm had passed through the area and left Northampton without power. The show went on anyway, as a purely acoustic performance, and with the stage and tables illuminated by candlelight. The audience obliged by being especially quiet and we all had a great time.

Here is a taste of what a KJP show is like:



If you like it, support the artist by buying some of his stuff. Or better yet - go to one of his shows. He's headed back up the east coast to New England this week.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Feeding Mikey


Silvio likes to put Mikey (the tattered toy mousie) in his food bowl. I'm not sure why he does it. Does he put him there because he thinks Mikey needs to eat, or does he put him there because he recognizes that mousies are food? Maybe he just likes to hang around with him. It is less charming when Silvio puts Mikey in the water dish and we have to clean up the mess.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

"Balanced" Coverage

Today's sports section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution contained:

- a very nice two page spread about the SEC championship game on page 3-4

- a four page spread about high school football playoffs

- a 1/4 page article about the changes VT made to their defense after getting trounced by LSU early in the season. That was the AJC's sole coverage of the ACC championship game.

- Zero coverage of all other conference championship games today.

My letter to the sports page editor will go out on Monday. Right now, I've gotta get back to the games! (Watching the ACC football game and listening to the Georgia Tech basketball game.)

Friday, November 30, 2007

#&@%ing alarm clock!

Don't you hate it when you hit the snooze button a few times, then you finally get up, and as soon as you are in the shower and are completely covered in water, you hear your alarm clock go off again because you didn't turn the it off after the last time you hit "snooze", so you have to listen to your alarm beeping during your entire shower?

Me, too.

If you have an alarm clock of the feline variety, you may appreciate this cartoon short.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Forwards and Backwards

Do you get a lot of email forwards? Do you like them? I generally don't forward much of what crosses my Inbox. To be honest, most of the forwards are things I have seen a dozen times over several years, and most are of dubious accuracy. It doesn't take more than a minute or two to check the facts, if there is any doubt. Sure, I'll make an exception and forward if I see something that I am sure someone will like, but those are narrowly targeted and rare. I enjoy friends forwarding choice finds that they know I will like or get a laugh out of (because they understand what I find funny or interesting). But a lot of what I get I delete without opening. If it is not thought-provoking, and VETTED (preferably with verifiable sources quoted), or at least funny as hell, I don't want to waste my time.

So if you know my email address and are reading this: Please do NOT send me anything non-personal that is NOT (a)hilarious or deeply twisted, or (b)interesting, scientific or thought-provoking (must be true, not hysterical or circumstantial), or (c)something that you KNOW FOR A FACT that I am truly interested in, or (d)pictures of friends or family (bonus if they are doing something embarassing or funny). In particular, I am completely disinterested in receiving anything of a political nature that is shrill, distorted, unscientific, unsupported by verifiable facts (and I WILL check), not supported by coherent arguments, or just plain mean.

/rant

Sorry... cranky tonight.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Rivalry Games

At least I enjoyed the first half.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving


'Tis the season for turkeys, naps, and football!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Off the Grid

I'm leaving today for the first of two short road trips this week. Not sure about internet access at the first place, so if you don't hear from me this week, it means they don't have it. I'm taking the notebook computer just in case...

If not, I'm also taking three books and about a month's worth of newspaper crossword puzzles I've saved up. I'm also planning to spend some time outside enjoying the fall scenery here in Georgia.

In other news, I'm in DAY 5 of a migraine. It switched sides today, so maybe it is almost finished torturing me. *sigh* Stress will find a way to get you every time.

I hope you all have a wonderful (and headache-free!) Thanksgiving holiday.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Out of the Woods

Big Daddy is on the mend. He had a scary weekend in ICU, and is still hospitalized, but he has been getting a little better every day. He should be able to transfer to a rehab facility soon and begin his long road to recovery and full use of his new-and-improved leg. Here is a BIG HUGE thank you to all of you who took the time to write encouraging comments. Your collective thoughts and wishes are appreciated!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Please hold...

Internet life, and most of real life is on hold at the moment. Big Daddy had his surgery on Thursday. Things didn't go as well as planned. He has been in ICU since Thursday night. Lots of my personal stuff is not getting done now. Just the stuff that PDM can take care of, which counts for a lot. I hope for things to get back to normal again soon.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A "Cross Quarter Day"

No, this isn't about "mad money". (Get it? *Ahem*) Today, November 7, is a cross quarter day -- exactly midway between the fall equinox and the winter solstice. So depending on whether your glass is half empty or half full, we are either "half way into fall" or "fall is half over". Take your pick.

And right on schedule, Atlanta is getting its first frost this week.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What a hassle...

In the spirit of Jim's Handy Visual Guides, I bring you this mini field guide to "hassels/hassles".


Hasselblad - a very fine camera, popular with photographers worldwide





David Hasselhoff - somewhat of a camera hog, inexplicably popular in Germany





Odd Hassel (yes that is his real name) - a Norwegian physical chemist, super duper popular with the 1969 Nobel Prize Committee





Plain, old-fashioned hassle - rush hour in Atlanta, popular with no one

Friday, November 02, 2007

Fat-Butted Friday Cat Blogging


A trick of perspective makes for an amusing photo. In reality, Moxy has normal proportions (including a rather skinny butt). She reminds me of a Kliban cat, especially in this picture.

In other news, I finally watched Slither, starring the young Nathan Fillion. Loved it! (Yes, LL, he is a mere child born in 1971.) It was campy and fun. Later this weekend I will be attempting to fix the horrible damage I caused by stripping 40+ yr old wallpaper (oh joy, can't wait), and we may even try to get some other stuff done. I'm still enjoying the goodies from the SciFi Straight Dope Halloween card and candy exchange. Oh yeah - I will enjoy that extra hour of sleep this weekend, even as I mourn the loss of evening daylight hours. At least I can rest easy knowing that twilight comes very late in Atlanta (even on standard time) compared to the time it occurred in Massachusetts, where I lived for 12+ years. That was harder to get used to than the cold or snow. Sunset at 4:20? WTF?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

@#&%!

Worst game I've seen in years.

Thursday Night Lights

My beloved Yellow Jackets take on #11 Virginia Tech tonight in Atlanta under the glare of the Thursday night lights. If you stumble across ESPN while channel surfing tonight, you might catch a glimpse of me. OK, probably not, but I'll be there in my white and gold, hoping for the best. Georgia Tech's depth chart is riddled with injuries. I'm not optimistic about our chances... At least the tailgating will be fun.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy (Recycled) Halloween


Sure, I used this same collage last year. But I still like it. And didn't have time to make anything new. :-(

P.S. - Happy Birthday, Beth!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Home Improvement Hits and Misses


It was a mixed bag this weekend on the home front. PDM and I each had a home improvement project to work on. The front door replacement took PDM and our friend Tim longer than expected and was a little more involved than they had planned on (nothing in this house is a standard size), but it is basically done now and looks great. All that is left is to paint the interior trim and the job will be complete. The ugly old front door wasn't even exterior grade, so this is a big improvement. The glass lets in a lot of light and brightens up the foyer. It looks pretty from the street at night when the house is lit up. And purely by accident, we happened to buy it on the weekend that was a sales tax holiday for energy efficient home items. Since the door was a special order (non-standard size for our non-standard home), it was expensive, so the sales tax savings was significant. If it keeps our house a little warmer in the winter, so much the better.

My "supposedly simple" little two-weekend bathroom project went horribly off track. The first weekend I had planned to strip the wallpaper in the tiny half-bath, prepare the walls in the full bath next to it for painting, and remove the shower doors. Next weekend, I was going to paint both bathrooms and recaulk the tub. I am already way behind schedule.

When I removed the wallpaper, which appears to have been on the walls for the entire 42 years that the house has existed, a whole lot of wallboard came along for the ride. You are probably thinking that I suck at wallpaper stripping and must not know what I am doing. Let me assure you that this is the not the case. I've successfully removed wallpaper several times in the past and was able to do so without mangling the underlying surfaces. Now I know why the wall in the other bathroom looks so crappy and is going to need so much repair before we paint. I am guessing that some wallpaper was removed in there, with similar results, and the previous owners just painted over it anyway. We're not going to be satisfied with that kind of worksmanship. I asked PDM to help, so he tried mudding over some of the bad spots. We'll sand it smooth when it dries and then evaluate the results. If that doesn't work, we'll have to go to Plan B. Plan B involves replacing the damaged wallboards, so I hope we don't have to go that far.

PDM, who is cooking dinner for us right now (chicken burritos), wanted to make sure I let y'all know that I called him in to fix my mangled bathroom wall project. I told him that I was honest about how the two projects went down. But just in case you missed it, I will say it again. "PDM's project went great, looks great, and is 95% done and won't be a hassle to finish. My project turned out to be a horrible mess that will drag on for weeks, and I had to get him to fix the stuff I did wrong, and it is going to be a monumental hassle to finish, and probably won't look that good when it is done. And now he is making my dinner." And he is smiling.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Exhausted.

I'm not keeping up with reading your blogs or posting as often as I would like. It turns out that treating a family member, even palliatively, is very stressful. I'm not sleeping well, and feel all glassy-eyed and distracted when I am awake. I hope to get back to normal soon, although I am not confident enough to make promises about it. And aside from treating a family member, all four of our machines are due for annual testing and that is also taking up a lot of my time. Then on top of it all lies the slowly creeping crisis situation with Atlanta's water supply, leading to a further feeling of unease. Oh yeah, and our department is getting a new chairman in January. Who knows what changes that will bring? More unease and uncertainty. I wish I were one of those serene people who don't let things bother them. Unfortunately I am not that type. I am restless and tense. Not a patient person who can wait calmly to see how things turn out.

But this weekend, I have just the thing to help keep my mind off the turmoil: a home project! There are no Tech football games this Saturday or next, so I'll be stripping the yucky wallpaper off of the bathroom walls. The other bathroom needs to be scraped and sanded and have some drywall repair. We also have a new front door to pick up and install, and we want to take out the old glass shower doors. The next weekend after this one, I will paint the bathrooms and we will re-caulk the tub. Projects are good. They keep you busy and give you a sense of accomplishment, and make it a little easier to forget all the problems swirling around outside your door.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Disaster! Paratroopers! Crappy Video!

It's official: I live in a disaster area (and I feel fine). Actually we got a little bit of rain over the last 24 hours. Not enough to help the water table or lake levels, but we'll take whatever we can get.

In other disasters, Georgia Tech's star running back Tashard Choice was injured early in Saturday's game against Army. The latest word is that he needs surgery on his knee and will miss at least one game (the VT game, unfortunately). He is a tough player with a lot of heart, and I wish him a speedy and complete recovery.

Speaking of football, we had a treat before the game when four paratroopers from Fort Benning landed on Georgia Tech's Grant Field during the pregame show. It was a lot of fun to watch (and lasted much longer than a flyover). I used my tiny little camera's movie function for the very first time, and created my first tiny little movie. Unfortunately, I kind of suck as a videographer, especially since my camera's LCD screen is completely useless in bright sunlight. I couldn't tell what I was pointing it at (apparently, not what I was aiming for most of the time). I cropped the really awful part (believe it or not). So I present, without further adieu (or excuses), my very first crappy little video, ever:



I hope my shaky camera work didn't just make y'all sick. By the time the last guy landed, I sorta had the hang of it. Mostly.

I'm still eating my vegetables, just so ya know. I tried LL's fried zucchini, Magnetbabe's sauteed green beans, and Jim's roasted cauliflower over the weekend. Everything was delicious. I took tonight off because PDM made Mulligatawny soup. Mmmmmmm.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Water Wars

Who knew that the silly movie Tank Girl had it right? It isn't oil that future humans will fight over. It is water.

Nearly the entire state of Georgia is experiencing "severe hydrological drought". Lake Lanier, a man-made lake, is Atlanta's main water supply. Inflows are controlled by Mother Nature. Outflows are controlled by the Army Corps of Engineers. The same Corps that accidentally released 22 billion gallons of water in 2006, just as the drought was beginning, draining the lake two additional feet. Mistake notwithstanding, the Corps still controls the outflows, which are reported to be ten times larger than inflow. The outflows are mandated by federal law for downstream power plants and some sort of endangered mussel. State and federal sources say that there are about three month's worth of water stored in the lake, and if there is not a significant change in the weather, we will run out of water at that time. They are talking about lake levels that are so low they haven't been seen since the lake was originally filled.

The entire northern portion of the state is in a Level 4 drought, which calls for severe water use restrictions. (Georgia has a water plan in place that restricts water use even in plentiful times.) The state is considering even tougher measures. There is going to be a huge economic impact. There is no question that restrictions will go even deeper, especially for businesses. No other major metropolitan area, including frikkin' Las Vegas, has ever had to impose these type of measures. Meanwhile, Alabama has no water use restrictions whatsoever, and the Corps keeps sending billions of gallons downstream to them and to Florida. Normally I am sympathetic to environmental causes and endangered species concerns, but we cannot continue to supplement the natural flow by a factor of ten (and yes, the Corps in their infinite wisdom just RAISED this amount as inflows continue to decline). This is very scary stuff here. We are not talking about having green lawns. No, we are talking about being able to take showers, drink, and flush our toilets.

For our part, PDM and I are trying to conserve. Shorter showers, less rinsing of dishes, and more conscientious water use. I save gray water when I can to take outside and pour over shrubs and trees. I keep a pitcher by the sink for such purposes, and a bucket in the bathroom for shower water. But all of this crap makes me seriously think about having a well dug on my property. Not going to do that yet. But if the rain deficit continues, we may have no other choice. It is only a matter of time before further rationing sets in, and they attempt to restrict indoor water usage.

Monday, October 15, 2007

One Down... More To Go

Hmmm. It seems that picking out a Top 100 music list involves more work than I thought. It will take another day or two for me to come up with one. In the meantime, I am happy to report that I have purchased various and sundry vegetables with the intent of cooking up some of your recommendations. I decided to go roughly in order. So tonight I sauteed some baby spinach with garlic, salt and pepper (thanks, thewritegirl!). Even though PDM does not normally like cooked greens, he said he liked it, and I did too. I think next time I will use less oil and salt, and maybe a tad less garlic. But this one's a keeper! Next up: LL's fried zucchini. I also bought some asparagus (y'all had several ideas for this veggie) and a few sweet potatoes that I intend to roast.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Contemplation


I'm still thinking about my next post, which will be a response to Dave's Top 100 post. Unless I change my mind. I am a female, and reserve the prerogative to change my mind at any time, for any reason.

Some other things I am thinking about, in no particular order:

*Big Daddy
*Work, especially the changes associated with the new guy starting on Monday
*Specific things I need to get done at work by the end of the month at work, regardless of the personnel change
*Big Daddy
*New projects around the house (three in particular, coming up soon)
*What to cook for supper on Monday
*Why can't my cats get along?
*Big Daddy
*How to conserve water (north Georgia is in "exceptional drought" right now, and it is very scary)
*How can I keep my plants from dying?
*Buying some new shoes (what can I say... sometimes I am that shallow)
*Ending some heavy procrastination on several fronts
*Big Daddy
*Plans for next weekend and how to fit it all in
*My sister
*Big Daddy
*Music (see above)
*Holiday schedules and plans
*Why does my back hurt all the dang time?
*Work
*Big Daddy
*Why am I not sleepy at 11:21pm on Sunday night?
*Big Daddy

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Side Dishes That Don't Suck?

Help me out here (especially you vegetarians).

I've probably mentioned before what a great chef PDM is. He is into "cooking science", or knowing how the chemistry and physics of cooking works. His studies in that area enables him to "wing it" with fabulously successful results. I'm a mere mortal in the kitchen, but still manage to crank out a decent meal or two. Main courses in the Cosmic Cat household are succulent, creative feasts that sometimes border on art. There is but one glaring deficiency: vegetable side dishes.

Yes, I am sick to death of boring, banal sides like steamed broccoli or frozen corn. For all the effort put into the main course, there is a sad lack of attention and creativity when it comes to making side dishes. Once in a while one of us finds a decent recipe that isn't all that much trouble and makes some vegetable magic. When it happens, we "ooh" and "ahh" and think "that wasn't such a big deal to prepare". But our repertoire of those dishes is quite limited.

So I am asking for your help. Share recipes, ideas, sources of inspiration, cookbooks, etcetera. I am not looking for vegetarian main dish recipes. I'm looking for ideas for vegetable side dishes worthy of sitting side by side with PDM's meat masterpieces. Got any suggestions?

Monday, October 08, 2007

"SEO Theory" Is Just A Theory

But so is gravity, knucklehead. So listen up! Tiff was spreading bloggerly, linky love last week and some of it came my way. This meme is way to read some very fine posts and promote a few of your own. Below, you will find a list of blogs with three of their very best posts (or at least the three they most want to promote). To participate, simply copy the existing list and add your own blog and three stellar posts to the end. Tag a few people and you're done! You might pick up a few new readers or get hooked on one of the other blogs on the list. If nothing else, you'll increase your Technorati rank and authority and help your blog's self esteem.

Oh yeah, and "SEO" stands for search engine optimization, just in case you were wondering and too lazy to look it up.

Instructions from the originator:

"This seo meme was conceived and designed by Bobby at Revellian .com. This is a new fun seo meme ride for us all. This is based on the seo theory that links to posts inside your blog are more important than links to your home page. I have selected three posts I want to promote along with my site’s name. You will do the same thing.

Let’s keep it simple and spread our good work around to both share and build some ratings! Make sure you pick three posts that you feel are your best. You could also select 3 posts you simply want to promote. Your site name is listed with your 3 selected posts beneath.

Once you have your post up: Add the sites and post links of the folks you tagged onto your post. Try to add the site and post links to anyone involved to maximize the effectiveness. Tag a minimum of 5 people.

Try your best not to double tag people so it will spread better! Please actually read the posts from everyone so you can see some really good work from our beloved blogging friends! Make your title a little different from mine to avoid repetitive titles."

Instructions from Tiff:

"Links to posts inside your blog are more important than links to your home page. The players of the seo meme select three posts they want to promote, and adds their name and chosen posts to a list of links in their "taggers" post, then posting the whole list inside their blog. A minimum of 5 people are tagged by each new player. The new players are encouraged to read posts from everyone so that the work of fellow bloggers can be discovered and enjoyed."

The list of primo posts:


Revellian dot com - SEO Keywords For Beginners, Content: The Kings Illegitimate Stepchild, Tales of Blogger-X Illusion

Mariuca - Wishing On A Falling Star - Love In Disarray, In Love With A Dream, The Good Client

Mariuca’s Perfume Gallery - Perfume Shopping Spree, Defining Beauty, In Full Splendour

Speedcat Hollydale Page - Rocket Boy in Hawaii - DC9, Speedcat’s Death Ride into Terror!, The Boy Inside All Men

Terri Terri Quite Contrary - Just How Immature Are We?, Finding a Voice, So Much More to See than the Game

Mahala- Uncle Huberts Custom Cows, Pray for the Child at Big Lots, The Legend of Saushie's Crotch

Tiff - How am I like Ron Weasley, A Social Experiment, Absolutely Boring Entry 101


Cosmic Cat - Just An Ordinary Thursday Night..., Not Gone With The Wind. Just Gone., The "Weekly Thoughtful Reminder" And Other Hazards Of Working


Now for the fun part: Who do I tag? Well, I think everyone on my links list deserves recognition and awareness. I will name a few, but anyone who wants to do this meme should do it, invite or not. I will leave my fifth and upwards tags open to all who wish to participate. The other four tags are magnetbabe, dr. sardonicus, beth, and dave. Among other things, I am damn curious to see which three posts y'all pick to share with the world! One more thing.. Once all is said and done, add your post at Bobby’s site by leaving a comment at Revellian’s Best Posts SEO Meme.

Edited: I will be adding links that my tagged bloggers post so as to maximize all of the linky benefits! Just added magnetbabe's contribution.

Here are the Fantastic Posts from the friends I tagged, so check 'em out!


Field Lines - Even MIT Girls Get the Blues, Bye Bye, Friend, Bad Hair Day


Pole Hill Sanitarium: 756, Stocking Stuffer, Why It Matters

dave: Tryptophan and Thanksgiving Walls and History The More Things Change

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda...

Georgia Tech just broke my heart. Again.

Just like the Virginia game. Come back from waaaayyyyy behind and then lose the game at the very end. Stupid, stupid, stupid mistakes. That holding penalty just cost us the game. Fuck.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Be Careful What You Wish For

Sooooo, the new work schedule really happened. None of the physicists have to cover multiple locations, and I am based at the main clinic full time. And so far, I have been slammed with work. I was the second one in today (out of four clinical physicists) and the last one to leave. There was no blog browsing leisure time, oh no. No checking of headlines or RSS feeds. I barely had time to glance at my email. I forced a break for lunch. I have a feeling it is going to be like that a lot of days. The main location is the best place for me professionally. I have a lot to learn and experience in this field before I take the remainder of my board exams. Main campus has the most toys and is usually first with the new technologies. Plus there are just more senior physicists from which to gain knowledge.

The feel of the place is different, with the personnel reassignments. It will take a while to settle out into a new normal. Plus we have a new hire coming soon, further changing the dynamic. I'm not entirely satisfied with the task assignments (I believe I am more capable than they seem to think I am, and that is frustrating - feeling left out of some of the more challenging duties, or being passed over for someone who already has a lot of the cooler stuff as their "territory"). Not sure how I will handle this if it continues. Direct confrontation is not my thing. I might be able to work my way into things by taking initiative and working directly with physicians on some researchy stuff. Gotta think about it some more, and finding the time for the extra work might be tough. I don't think I am imagining things, because someone else who has worked at this location had nearly identical complaints. There has to be a solution; I just have to find it.

Meanwhile, if I am reading or commenting on your blogs less frequently, please understand why.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Changes

Fall is a time of changes. Weatherwise, the changes in Atlanta are subtle this time of year. There is not a hint of color in the trees, nor will there be frost for a long time. But it is noticeably cooler at night, more comfortable (yet still warm) during the day, and best of all - it is far less humid most of the time. We can finally turn off our air conditioners and rely on fresh air from the windows. Still summery, but with that indefinable "something" in the air that hints of things to come.

Some things don't change, unfortunately. Georgia's extreme drought conditions are projected to worsen over the next few months. The long-term forecast calls for a warmer and drier winter than normal, extending our rain deficit into next year. Usually we can count on a wet fall and winter to help refill reservoirs, lakes and streams. Not this year. The persistence of sunny days has led to a change in outdoor water use restrictions. The tight restrictions have been replaced with a total outdoor watering ban for the entire northern third of the state. I'll miss the gardening I would have done - autumn is a great time to plant new perennials - but the region needs to conserve water for drinking and power generation. We are also obligated by law to release a certain amount of water downstream, and this far exceeds the reduced inflow to the lakes. Our water sources are at historically low levels. Lake Lanier is likely to reach a low not seen since it was first filled.

Yesterday was no exception to the fair fall weather pattern. Sunny skies and a warm, but not hot, afternoon made for excellent football weather. I had low expectations for this game. Change was in the air at sold-out Bobby Dodd Stadium, where Georgia Tech was able to engineer a reversal of fortune over their previous two games. The victory over formerly undefeated Clemson was a much-needed confidence builder for us. Our passing game still needs work, but special teams and the defense were spot on! Running back Choice was back to his normal performance, gaining 145 yards in spite of his injured hamstring. The team pulled together to overcome a bad start in our conference this year and to avenge last year's loss to Clemson. Close games are exciting, but difficult to watch when you care about the outcome. The fans of both teams were rocking the house during the entire game. We were finally able to relax with some cold fried chicken and beer at an impromptu post-game celebratory tailgate party. An added bonus was the hassle free exit from campus, long after most of the crowd had dispersed.

There is more change afoot in the sporting world: TBS will no longer broadcast Braves games nationwide. "America's Team" has been canceled due to declining ratings and a changing TV landscape. We will still be able to see them on TV here in Atlanta and in much of the southeast, but for the first time since 1977, the Braves will no longer be a big part of nationwide baseball programming. I can't help but feel sad about this. During my 12+ years living in New England, being able to turn on the TV and find a Braves game helped me feel less homesick. Even when I was too busy to watch, I would sometimes leave the game on just to hear the familiar voices from back home. The Braves on TBS made me feel more at home and less alone.

And speaking of television, the changeover from summer programming to fall programming is in full swing. Monk, Psych, and Rescue Me are on seasonal hiatus. Eureka and Doctor Who end this coming week. Heroes arrived again last week, along with newcomers Chuck and Journeyman. Looks like Monday is our new "couch potato night". This week brings the return of Dexter, and new show "Pushing Daisies" looks interesting.

And last but certainly not least, there are big changes in the works at my job. It has been handled rather strangely. We have a new physics schedule starting on Monday, and all of us know what it is from the grapevine, but I have yet to see any official notice/memo/email regarding the change. They usually have a short meeting to announce big changes, but not this time. I am going back to the schedule I like most (100% at the main location, so no more switching back and forth). Because this is what I wanted, I was afraid to get my hopes up about it until getting the official word. But official or not, apparently it is a go. I can't help but cynically feel that it will change again in the future, and I will once again get an assignment I don't care for. All I can do to fight that is to work my butt off at the main location and try to become indispensable. The rest of it is out of my control.

Edited to add: Speaking of changes, I have cleaned up my links list and added some people that I have been reading for some time now. They are in no particular order, so please don't anyone get your feelings hurt. Some day I will shuffle them into alphabetical order or whatnot. Don't hold your breath. I've been meaning to spiff up the graphics for nearly a year now, and the blog is still black and plain.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Son of Return of CatBlogging


It's time to get things back on a normal track. And Fridays are perfect for CatBlogging! No matter how many times I tell Zima not to drink my water, the minute my back is turned, this is what she does.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The War

I'm a little behind on posts, but I definitely wanted to get to this one. PDM and I started watching the new Ken Burns documentary The War on Sunday night. The series focuses on four American towns and how they experienced WWII. Early on in Part I, the narrator says something to the effect that this war touched every family in America. My first thought was something like "Wow. That's quite a statement." And then the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was probably true.

My family certainly changed as a result of the war. Big Daddy's brother Johnny was killed. (Big Daddy is my grandfather on my mother's side.) From family lore, Uncle Johnny was reputed to be funnier than Big Daddy and his other brother Warren put together, and that is really saying something! Uncle Johnny looks so kind and handsome and down-to-earth in the photo of him in uniform. I wish I could have met him. My Dad's father came back a changed man, which eventually led to his divorce from my grandmother and estrangement from Dad, who never forgave him for deserting his family. He returned from the war with some very bad habits. An alcoholic, he died alone, of cirrhosis of the liver. I never met the man, even though he lived nearby when I was growing up. Such a waste, and so much sadness all around. Other family members served as well. I have vintage photos and mementos from my Uncle Robert's time in Europe, including a photo of Bob Hope performing for the troops.

It really does seem like no one could have lived through that time and come out unscathed. Surely everyone would have had a family member or friend who was dramatically changed by that war. It was such a defining moment for our country and the world. Events so enormous as to be nearly beyond comprehension, while at the same time, the effects were so intensely personal.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Cancer Sucks

Big Daddy's prostate cancer has metastasized. Big Daddy is my grandfather. We celebrated his 90th birthday last month. He had prostate cancer many years ago, fought it, and beat it. It returned to his prostate last year, and now it has spread to his bones.

Once cancer spreads beyond the site of origin, it cannot be "cured". But in many cases it can be "managed" as a chronic illness. Bone mets are not fatal, but they are painful, and increase the risk of a fracture. Please keep Big Daddy in your thoughts and prayers as he fights this cancer once again.

Cancer took my father's life in 1993 when he was just 57. Cancer has affected other family members and friends. I work in Radiation Oncology and deal with it every day. Knowing more about it makes it no less upsetting when it happens to one of your own. So many sad stories cross my desk in the medical charts I work on. Babies and little kids with tumors (so brave, many of them), palliative treatments for men and women younger than I am, seeing the same folks return again and again as the cancer migrates through their bodies, seeing the worried faces of spouses, watching someone deteriorate each day, or just seeing how distressingly large a tumor is on a CT scan.

No doubt about it. Cancer just sucks.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Please Stand By...

There is some family stuff going on right now. I may or may not feel like posting anything while we all adjust to the news.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Wiped Out

You probably think the post title refers to the whuppin' my beloved Yellow Jackets received last night, but you would be wrong. It refers to me. I'm exhausted. We left the house yesterday at noon, and got home at 1:30am. I'm getting too old for this.

Woke up late, halfheartedly tried to do some yardwork to take advantage of the cooler temps, but I just didn't feel like it. It wasn't hard to convince PDM to stop pulling weeds and go to Waffle House for some grub.

We were at the game. It was a long night at The Flats. TV timeouts and a metric crapload of penalties (some rather dubious) stretched the game well into four hours. I stayed until the bitter end. BC looked very good. Tech... didn't. It was a long ride home.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Another Trip to Memeville, USA

I stole this from Kat. The idea is to answer the pre-colon words/phrases using one word.

Yourself: full
Your partner: sleeping
Your hair: long
Your mother: loved
Your father: missed
Your favorite item: cats
Your dream last night: forgotten
Your favorite drink: wine
Your dream car: Prius
Dream home: comfy
The room you are in: kitchen
Your fear: mistake
What you are great at: learning
Where you want to be in 10 years: home
Who you hung out with last night: PDM
You're not: trendy
One of your wish list items: Photoshop
The last thing you did: changed
You are wearing: PJs
Your favorite weather: fair
Your favorite book: tattered
Last thing you ate: vindaloo
Your life: mundane
Your mood: hopeful
Your best friend: PDM
What are you thinking about right now: plans
Your car: Camry
What are you doing at the moment: blogging
Relationship status: happy
What is on your t.v: nothing
When is the last time you laughed: tonight

Monday, September 10, 2007

My "One Things"

I'm finally participating in Beth's "One Thing" meme. This was a difficult assignment, because I generally have a hard time picking only one of anything. So I've done the best I can. Read it with the caveat that if I were to write this list again in a day or a week, or even an hour, some of the answers would be different.


1. If you could recommend only one book for others to read, what would it be and why?

Watership Down by Richard Adams. It is a wonderful book. If you’ve read it, then you know what I mean. If you haven’t, it sounds almost silly – a book about a bunch of rabbits – but it is a compelling adventure that will keep you turning pages. There is plenty of excellent science fiction that I could recommend, but that doesn't float everyone's boat (plus I'd have to pick just one). I think anyone could enjoy Watership Down.

2. What is your one favorite song? Why?

Oh jeez. I like all kinds of music and what I most want to hear at any given time is mood-dependent. There is no way I could pick ONE favorite. But what I can do is pick one song that I don’t get tired of and that never fails to improve my mood: "Jessica" by the Allman Brothers Band. No words, just happy music (so technically, it isn't a "song" since it cannot be sung). Makes me want to do a Snoopy dance. It doesn't hurt that it is one of PDM's favorite songs, so it makes me think of him.

3. What is the one thing that is the biggest time saver in your life?

My dishwasher, because it actually cleans dirty dishes, which means that there is no need to wash (or even rinse) them before loading. Messy, sloppy, dried on, caked on, baked on… all of it comes off in the wash. Love that!

4. What is one gadget you couldn't live without and why?

My notebook computer with wireless internet. I love having portable, battery-powered access to all of the information available on the internet, plus all the cool stuff on my computer. Neat!

5. If you could recommend one film for others to see, what would it be and why?

Serenity. Because it was a great movie, and did not get enough attention (or attendance) when it came out. It got rave reviews for the most part, and also good audience reviews. Good plot, lots of action and suspense, some morality and ideas to think about, happiness, sadness, and a satisfying end. What more do you want in a film?

6. What is the one cure or preventative measure you believe in and for what ailment?

You can nearly always prevent a hangover if you drink copious amounts of water before going to bed. A pre-emptive aspirin doesn't hurt either, but it won't help without the water. Rehydration is the key.

7. What is the best advice you've ever received and from whom?

"Don't get married until you are at least 30." Mom. I was 29 the first time, and apparently that wasn't old enough not to make a mistake.

8. If you could introduce the entire world to just one band/musical artist, who would it be and why?

Kelly Joe Phelps. He is a fantastic blues musician and songwriter and deserves to be much more widely known. I discovered his music by chance, through one of those end of year "best of..." lists on Amazon when I was exploring blues artists. I bought Shine Eyed Mister Zen on the strength of the reviews it had. His slide guitar playing and honey/gravel voice hooked me. Loved that CD, and then went to see him live at the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA. What a great experience! That was enough to induce me to buy the rest of his stuff and to keep an eye out for new releases and any performances in my area.

9. If you could convince others you meet or know of one thing, what would it be?

Don't get into credit card debt. Ever. Be very careful about borrowing money in general. Getting out from under credit card debt was one of the best things I ever did. The only debt I have now is my fixed rate, 15 year mortgage. Develop some patience. You don't need to have everything right away. Save first, then buy.

10. What do you believe is one of the greatest ways of wasting money and how do you combat it?

Recreational shopping. I just don't do it. We shop when we need something. It is OK to shop for something you want as well, if you keep it within reason and stick to your list. But shopping "just to look" is bound to make you want more stuff, or make an impulse buy, and before you know it you are spending real money. It is a lot easier to not spend money if you stay out of the stores!


If you like the meme and want to do it on your blog, consider yourself tagged.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Limenitis Arthemis


I was lucky enough to be charmed by this little guy for about an hour on Tuesday evening. It was crawling around the birdfeeder slowly opening and closing its wings when I got home from work. It was so perfect, I think it had probably recently emerged from its cocoon. There was a second one flitting around in my flower beds. After taking a few dozen photos, I went inside to fetch my field guide, because I always want to know what it is that I have observed. This is a brushfoot butterfly, limenitis arthemis, commonly known as a "red-spotted purple". This species mimics the coloration of the poisonous pipevine swallowtail butterfly as a protection against predators. I love the latin names for flora and fauna, thus the fancy-pants post title.

I am fascinated by the ordinary world of the suburban back yard. You don't need an exotic location for a photography safari. All you need is some patience and a good eye for finding the wonder in your surroundings, wherever you happen to be. There is a ton of life around you, and interesting discoveries to be made, whether you are in an exotic locale or in your own yard.

And who says mother nature doesn't have a sense of humor? This photo makes me smile:

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Stardust is Magic

It was a beautiful late summer day yesterday, but we've had so many of those lately we decided to spend this one sitting in a dark movie theater. When you can't remember exactly what you saw last, you are way overdue for going to the movies again. I think maybe it was Spiderman 3, or possibly Waitress...

This time we were choosing between the latest Bourne movie or Stardust. I pushed for Stardust in spite of the negative reviews it garnered. I was in the mood for a good fantasy. It turned out to be an excellent choice. We both loved it! It was a good story, with lots of pretty visuals, adventure, magic, romance, and plenty of humor mixed in throughout. If you have been on the fence about seeing it (possibly put off by the lukewarm reviews* as we were), you can hop down on the "gonna go see it" side now.

*It currently has a 74% (fresh) rating on the Tomatometer, but it has a 90% user rating. Our newspaper gave it a "C". We give it an "A", and plan to buy the DVD when it comes out.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Georgia Tech 33, Notre Dame 3


Happy, happy, joy, joy!

Unexpected, but oh so nice. Win or lose, I really thought this game would be close. I'm happy to have been wrong about that.

Edited to add: This was the worst opening day loss for the Irish, well, ever. And I added the photo of the newspaper, because I am damn proud of my Yellow Jackets. Yahoo! Go Tech!

THWG!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Mr. Silvio and Georgia Tech Football


He's so darned cute, but growing up fast. But if he continues to chew on power cords he isn't going to grow up at all. Stupid kitty. :-(

It is the end of August and for my beloved Yellow Jackets, football season begins tomorrow. It is an away game - at Notre Dame, right there under the "touchdown Jesus" or what have you. It's a big game. We'll see what happens. Tailgating will have to wait one more week, but that's OK. For now we'll get some pulled pork, brunswick stew, cole slaw and beer and watch the action on our "big ass TV" in the comfort of our air conditioned den.

Have a happy holiday weekend everyone. Be safe.

Oh, and since it is college football season: THWG!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

An Arachnophobiac's Nightmare

A massive spider web has been found in a Texas park. The freakishly large web densely covers the foliage along a 200-yard section of trail.

"Spider experts say the web may have been constructed by social cobweb spiders, which work together…"

Could be. Or maybe it’s Shelob. Creepy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

lolcats

It didn't occur to me that some people wouldn't recognize the "art form" I used in the last post until I found out that PDM had no clue what I was riffing on (or ripping off). I am usually the last to hear about stuff like that. But just in case you live under a rock or just don't run into these weird internet trends, it was a "lolcat". Maybe not the best example, but hey - it was my first. If you like this sort of thing "u can has mor funnyz kats" here. They are strangely addictive. You cannot resist lolcats.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bored Today...


Can you tell?

Hope you enjoyed your "cat scan".

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Shredding the Past

I haven't been able to see the surface of our desk at home in quite some time. Neither of us uses that computer (or desk) very often - usually just me, entering our financial data once a week or so. It is an older PC desktop computer. Both of us have newer computers that we use every day. When I do use the computer to access Quicken, I usually just add the paperwork to the pile when I am finished, to be filed later. Well, it is a lot later, and a lot of stuff hasn't been filed. And the files we had have been overstuffed. This weekend, I snapped and finally decided to do something about it.

Several hours later, I had a bunch of piles: file, recycle, or shred. I also went into my "archives", where I had financial statements dating back to 1995, all neatly arranged and sorted into folders by year. Real estate records should be retained forever. I also keep tax records forever. But billing statements for utilities and credit cards, and vehicle records for cars I no longer own... I don't need to keep all that crap forever.

It felt pretty good to feed all of that stuff to the shredder. Not quite cathartic, but the "schtuff" I was dealing with is pretty old and I was pretty much over it years ago. I was particularly happy to rid myself of certain years that should have been good, but weren't. Buh-bye, 1995 and 1996. So long, 1997 - 1998. See ya, 1999 - 2000. And 2001. You're outta here!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Feline Friends

I haven't done Friday Catblogging in a while. I also haven't posted much about Silvio, and he is freaking adorable. And it is slow at work today, so here they are...

Silvio and Moxy have become friends. Sort of. They tussle a lot, but also curl up together for catnaps.

Sparring over the new cardboard scratcher (freshly dosed with catnip):


Snuggled up together for the very first time:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

You can't legislate good taste.

It figures. As soon as I let myself off the hook for not posting, I find something to post about.

I saw in today's newspaper that Atlanta wants to ban "saggy pants"! Apparently, this is an "epidemic" that is of "major concern". Wow. I hope I don't catch it. I'd look terrible in saggy pants, and I have no idea how kids get them to stay on when worn so low on the hips.

It seems that some Atlanta City Council members are tired of seeing young men wearing those incredibly baggy pants worn low on the hips so as to show off their boxer shorts. The council is equally upset with women who wear low rise pants that expose their thong underwear. They are fed up and they aren't gonna take it anymore. The new law, if enacted, would ban any visible underwear seen in public, including a stray bra strap. (Oops. I'm guilty of inadvertant bra strap display on occasion.)

This proposed change in the law is a stupid idea for a lot of reasons. I don't like this particular fashion trend, but this is a free country and laws should stick to limiting behaviors that endanger the public. It is bound to be seen as racist (although the thong thing seems universally popular among young women regardless of race). It won't stand up in court, and will waste a lot of money and resources when it is inevitably challenged. All the time and attention paid to this "issue" would be better spent solving real problems. Instead of worrying about what kids are wearing, why don't we worry about how well they are being educated, how healthy they are, and whether or not they are staying out of trouble?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

feeling fragmented


Dave pointed out in the comments on my last post that I am overdue for another post. I have a few ideas tumbling around in my brain, but have not had time to sort them out to my satisfaction. Call it writer's block, or whatever. I haven't been feeling all that well and it has been busy at work. Napping after work has been more of a priority than blog stuff. And we are having yet another heat wave. It reached 100F again today. Damn. Hardly the perfect weather to clear your mind or make you feel energetic.

When the time is right, I will be back with a new post. Hopefully it won't be long! Until then, enjoy this abstract "self portrait" from my vacation. If you like my photos, there are many more here at my Flickr photostream.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Weedy and Seedy

That was my herb garden this afternoon after a summer of near total neglect. Since it was merely in the mid-90s today instead of 100F, I decided to spend some time outside tending to my plants. Other than some quick harvesting here and there to make dinner, I haven't done a thing to the herb garden (or any of my other gardens) since June. When I went out to inspect the bed, I found overgrown untidy plants, with weeds running rampant, herbs all shaggy and gone to seed, brown or dead foliage, leggy and flopped over stems, and lots of spider webs and yard debris. What a mess!

It's fixed now, and looking a lot better. I should have taken before and after photos, but I'd almost be too embarrassed to post the "before" shot. As a reward for the hot, hard work, I harvested three big bunches of mint, thyme and oregano that are in perfect shape for drying.

I had some company while I labored: Moxy, on one of her first forays into the outside world (Zima was out there, too). Now that she is a year old and has had all of her "outside" vaccinations, we are letting Moxy join Zima as a part-time outdoor cat. We'll let her out while we are home to keep an eye on her. So far she is cautious and is not used to the heat, but seems to love getting to explore and experience new things.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Just an ordinary Thursday night...

... but sometimes the ordinary can be very, very satisfying.

This thought occurred to me as I was sipping wine and listening to a local duo sing "Into the Mystic". I was sitting next to the man I love. Our friend Boomer was tending bar. We talked to the owner for a few minutes; he is also friend of ours. We had full bellies after a good meal. I had the lobster ravioli. PDM had his old standby - fish and chips with beer. Laughing and talking easily, we were watching the Braves game on a big screen TV while listening to the live music. The place was full, but not crowded. The musicians, Mike and Barry, have a long-standing regular gig at this place on Thursdays. They play the kind of old rock and roll that is always welcome and never goes out of style, and enjoy an easy back and forth with the crowd during their performances. They're regular guys in jeans and tee shirts, just like most of the patrons. And as we listened to them play, that's when it hit me out of the blue: it doesn't get much better than this. Nothing fancy, just good.

At the end of the evening, something on the check made us smile. Boomer had been running our bar tab as "PDM+WIFY".

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Forget Barry. Check Out Bobby!

After setting a new record for number of career ejections on Tuesday, Bobby Cox continues to ‘improve’ his record. He was tossed from a game for the 133rd time last night. He received a standing ovation from the crowd as he left the field, the fans chanting “Bob-by!”

His outstanding performance and continued determination will insure that his record will not soon be broken. As an added bonus, I am quite certain that no ‘performance enhancing substances’ were ever used by Cox in pursuit of his place in the record books.

Oh yeah… old what’s-his-face hit another homer. :rolleyes: His team still lost. Heh.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

more photos than you can shake a stick at...

It took me five days, but I have uploaded a metric crapload of photographs from our San Diego vacation to my Flickr page. They are also neatly categorized into sets according to subject (mainly where they were taken), if you would like to narrow it down. There are pictures of flowers, trees, nature trails, coastlines, roadways, aquariums, buildings, and aircraft. California is a beautiful place -- very photogenic.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

They tell me summer's over...

heat wave indicator

I don't believe it.

The picture shows the thermometer reading in my car on Saturday evening. Granted, my car was parked in the sun at the time. Once I hit the road it cooled down to a mere 101F.

Even though it is still summer on the calender, and we are in the dog days of August having the second heat wave in as many weeks, for most of the kids around here summer is over. They went back to school this week. It happens absurdly early these days. It wasn't like this when I was a kid, which doesn't seem like so long ago - at least not to me. I feel a little sorry for today's kids. School doesn't end until near the end of June and then they get hauled back in right smack in the middle of August. Do they care? Do they know what they're missing? Or is summer break just one long spell of playing video games broken up by occasional trips to soccer camp or whatnot?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Good Times, Good Timing

We had a great time in San Diego for our vacation. As an added bonus, it looks like we missed the worst of the heat wave, although we're catching the tail end of it. The weather on the coast of southern California was damned near perfect every day - highs in the 70s and lows in the 60s, with a nice, cool ocean breeze. Coming back to Atlanta was like stepping off the plane into an oven. It is currently 87F at 12:45 am for cryin' out loud. That feels pretty hot after a week of SoCal beach weather. I broke a sweat just going to the mailbox and back. Whew.

The cats are pretty wound up. We're playing with them like crazy, trying to wear them out. It is OK because we're still on west coast time. Even after traveling all day, a delayed flight, an absolutely horrid subway ride back to our side of town, and wine and a plate of "loaded fries" at the pub, I am not sleepy yet. And neither are the cats.

I'll catch up with everybody in the next few days.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Garden Envy

I have vacation-induced garden envy. Everywhere you look (I'm in the San Diego area), there are lush landscapes with a profusion of flowers and unusual foliage plants. The gardeners here make it seem easy, and perhaps for them it is. In spite of the arid climate, they have the advantage of having constant mild temperatures and an unlimited growing season.

It is inspiring. Maybe when I get home I can at least try a little harder to work with what is already in my gardens. That would be a good start. It is a hobby that I miss.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I Still Hate Packing

At least it's for a fun trip this time.

Tomorrow evening PDM and I are flying to southern California for some much needed R&R. We're renting a convertible and driving up the coast to the beach towns north of San Diego. We'll spend two nights in Encinitas visiting my sister and her family, then the next five in Rancho Santa Fe.

And no matter what they might think, the cats are staying home.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Tie one on

Some days you just know that's going to happen and you plan for it. I bought a bottle of wine on the way home and opened it at 6:30. I will most likely consume the entire thing tonight. PDM won't be much help because he is busy working on the six pack I brought him. We both had irritating days. I also have PMS. I don't know what excuse PDM has for being irritated. Maybe he's just feeding off me. It is the end of the semester, which is always a busy time for him. Plus he keeps catching people violating the Honor Code, and many of his students are unhappy with their grades.

My day:

*Morning traffic sucked because of stupid people.
*Got to work only five minutes late. Started boring, routine work.
*Lunchtime finally arrived, but I got an email with urgent work needed for the alternate location, so I postpone lunch. *grrrr*
*More email from the alternate location - something has gone wrong and I try to help them figure out what is the deal. (There is someone assigned there today, but this person is apparently out to lunch or something. Literally.) *damn*
*I finally figure out the problems and get started on lunch at nearly 1pm. After about three bites, my boss comes and says there is a new procedure I need to see. I cover up all the food and go to the machine. *sigh*
*I return 40 minutes later and start eating again. A few minutes later, there is something else I need to see. *sigh*
*I finally finish lunch at 2:15. Work on routine stuff again, until around 3pm.
*I was going to do some patient QA at the machine, but the therapists have already turned it off, in spite of my having scheduled the QA in an obvious way. *sigh*
*I decide the QA can wait until Friday when I am back there again. It is a pain to start up the machine when it has been turned off. I start doing some other routine stuff that most physicists won't touch. *sigh*
*At the end of the day I work on my expense report for last week's trip. This organization is very particular about how you turn in receipts (compared to everywhere else I have worked). I finally get it done in the (hopefully) correct persnickety manner, but the person I need to give it to is gone for the day. I guess I'll turn it in on Friday, my next day there. Good thing I don't need the money right away... *sigh*
*It is time to go now, but I see there is one other thing due, and no other physicist seems to want to pick it up, so I do it. *sigh*
*Traffic is a bitch on the way home. *whatever*
*I stop at the grocery store for supper, beer and wine. People are idiots in the parking lot. I get my stuff and there is an old person in line in front of me who slowly writes a personal check, along with a guy who is buying about a hundred things. *sigh* I get out and people are walking all over the place as slow as they can go. It takes me forever to get out of the damn parking lot. *sigh*
*I fight traffic the rest of the way home, and catch every red light. *whatever*

So that bottle of wine is going down pretty good right about now. I'll probably wake up with a big damn headache and I don't care. I'll just lay that medicine out ahead of time. Sometimes you've gotta say "WTF".

Later: It is now 11:30pm and the wine is long gone. I've already taken a pre-emptory aspirin and am headed for bed. The day did not get much better. PDM didn't realize what I had planned for supper and left out the peppers and onions. *damn* So we'll just have to use them tomorrow night instead. *whatever*

Over-and-out.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Zima's Better

CatBlogging: Special Edition



Q: How do you know when your cat is getting over being sick?

A: When she takes an interest in her "feline opium den" (otherwise known as the catnip patch) again.

Zima had been ill for several weeks, but after two rounds of antibiotics, twice daily antihistamines, several vet visits, and messy eardrops, she is finally feeling more like herself. No more sneezing, no more raspy meow, and no more slinking around hiding under the furniture. I am so relieved!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

He's a lumberjack and he's OK...


The physics meeting last week included a "night out" event, that was held at Nicollet Island Park just over the Mississippi. They had food and a beer tent, a roving Dixieland band, a dance band in a highly air-conditioned building, and something called a "Lumberjack Show". I had never seen one, but speculated that it involved men, plaid shirts, axes, and saws. Turns out that was a pretty good guess.


The show was loads of fun. They divided the crowd into two camps, one for each competing lumberjack. We were encouraged to cheer for our guy and jeer the other one. The host, or whatever you call him in lumberjack terms, explained each event and its significance in old fashioned logging. There was an axe throw, speed carving, power sawing, speed climbing, springboard chopping, log rolling, and more. All three guys made lots of corny jokes and puns, and generally made things fun for everyone. Although the show itself was very entertaining, it was almost as entertaining to watch all the physicists in the crowd so far out of their element. Especially the nerdier ones.


I'll come clean and admit that part of what I enjoyed about the show was the scenery. And I'm not talking about the river. Before the log roll, the females in the audience convinced one of the lumberjacks to remove his shirt. These guys had some very well-developed upper bodies. My pictures definitely do not do these men justice. They had the natural kind of athletic build that comes from physical activity, not steroidally-out-of-proportion weight-lifter type musculature. It was quite nice to look at. Ahem. So the ladies in particular seemed to enjoy the show.