flying turkeys

Things must truly be off in the blogging world when I allow an entire OCTOBER to roll by without some Ode to October. Nothing was wrong, I just traveled for work and other things quite a bit. But have no fear! November allowed me a reprieve yesterday. Well, insofar as being stuck inside all day at work while the fall sun beckoned me can be a reprieve. Anyway, after practically losing my sanity yesterday afternoon with 2 missed appointments (one real, one not my mistake) and 2 late afternoon meetings, I managed to escape to enjoy the final bits of sun. A friend threatened bodily harm if I didn't take my camera, so I dusted that off as well.

Into the sun I went, disguised as a park, to greet the other smiling fools. I believe everyone can recognize the New Sun Smile after a week of bone chilling rain. Anyway, the day was lovely. A senior in high school had the good luck to have her senior pictures appointment scheduled, packs of respectable looking high school students grazed on the sun, and would-be photographers roamed the trails. My own internal battle raged.... sun-staring fool or poor high-school photography class impostor. It's not entirely clear to me whether there could actually be a winner in that battle. No matter!

As I left the park I stopped at one last spot because the leaves (and I mean the actual individual leaves) were so deliciously fun: green, yellow, AND red. Standing there, soaking in the smell of decomposing leaves and dirt, I heard a noise that can only be described as a helicopter in slow motion.... something streaked across the path to my left. I saw enough to know that something large was flying. Something that didn't appear as if it should be able to fly. I don't know why I always flash to pterodactyls when considering critters that fly but seam like they have no business flying. The thing was big. And made lots of noise. While my brain tried to order the sound and the trajectory of the streak, another critter made the same noise and took the same path. What the H? Was that a TURKEY? Just as I assigned "turkey" to the bits of information swirling in my head, a third bird took off from just to my right and landed up in a tree some distance away, the branch bowing under the great weight. I unknowingly flushed a flock of wild turkeys.

Welcome to November, people.


Things that are Awesome. And Rad.

I recently had a friend lament that the original meaning of the word "awesome" was so, well, awesome that the current slang usage just wasn't up to snuff. Or not cool enough. Or not something enough. Anyway, got me to thinking about my current usage of the term "awesome" and other such phrases from my childhood. One word that never really left me, besides the awesome, is "rad" ..... yes, rad. Many people would be embarrassed by this. I am not. I've also been mentally compiling a list of awesome and rad things to share with y'all, with supporting evidence:

David Gray live in concert.
  • I have a good decade under my belt of love for Mr. Gray.
  • He unintentionally moves his head like a bobblehead when singing.
  • When excited and dancing on stage he looks like a muppet. Imagine Kermit the Frog leaving the stage after introducing an act.
  • Hello, he's rad. I'm not sure if you're aware or not, but he's a fantastic songwriter.
My parents text messaging me.
  • They send me pictures of the cat.
  • They tell me they're watching "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (the movie).
  • They use emoticons.
Left-over dessert for breakfast.
  • Pie and/or cake have a proven history with coffee, which is, after all, the breakfast of champions.
  • You're not all full from dinner and trying to enjoy delicious dessert.
  • What a way to start your day, right? Full of sweet wishes.
Seeing Beetlegirl Design stuff in a store in Seattle.
  • She's fantastically creative. I'd say ridiculously so.
  • She thinks them up and builds them.
  • The creations are ridiculously cute!
There are, of course, loads of other awesome things (in all senses of the word). But these oneses* have been on my mind of late.

Yes, I did that on purpose. It's quite obviously the plural of "ones"


epic epicness

A few weeks ago I filled in for a friend's softball team. Softball is fun enough, I suppose, but not necessarily something I seek out. Anyway, amid the boringness that is a softball league with no strikes or balls (for real), I saw the most epic epicness EVER.

Standing in center outfield, pondering my dinner, the grass, World Cup viewing schedules, waiting for the hitter to hit, I heard a din back and to my right. Focusing, the noise turned out to be crows. A lot of them. I looked in the direction of the noise and saw nothing but trees and houses placed neatly up the hill. Nothing, but oh! the hitter hit and it went over by first base with nothing for me to do but cheer and stand and contemplate grass and the movie Looking for Eric and shoes and .... I heard it again. The crows. They really were going batshit crazy.

I looked again, the noise too much to ignore. Out of the trees burst a bald eagle, lazily flying about 150 feet off the ground. Holy Crap! One doesn't see a bald eagle flying that low in the city. Holy Crap! One doesn't see a MURDER OF CROWS chasing said eagle flying low in the city EVER. I didn't even bother to pretend to pay attention to the game. In fact, I distracted my fellow outfielders by pointing out the epic epicness unfolding above our heads. Those crows chased that eagle who knows where. It was the most metal thing I've seen in years. Those crows deserved to be on some album cover art.

Epic Epicness is a murder of crows chasing a bald eagle.


a celebration of sorts, I guess, and actual celebrations

Huzzah! It's my 500th post! Or so the Bogger Dashboard, in its infinite wisdom, tells me. I'm feeling, at the mo, like I don't deserve the 500th post celebration because my blog has been nothing but weak sauce lately. An explanation: I've been hunkered down for the past month in the morning and at lunch time watching soccer, all standard times of blogging for me. We're finally down to the final match this Sunday and I have my mornings back. Please don't view that as a complaint. It's an entertaining way to start your day, particularly when your friends show up at 6:45AM to watch the match with you. Luckily this event only rolls around every four years.

Also of note, the red head graduated, skated, defended, rodeo(ed), and visited the Yak (in that order) this month. So, between soccer and fun, I didn't sit in front of the computer much when not at work. I've got some things filed away in my brain, but for now I'll leave you with this lovely bathroom picture from last weekend. It reminded me of that fantastic fake commercial from SNL in the 90s, the "love toilet," except this was just the Women's restroom. So, I'm calling it the "Hers and Hers".

hers & hers toilet


Blues and Whites

Girls Soccer Team -- Blues and Whites (LOC)

English soccer team (LOC)

Alas, four years passed since we last had a proxy world war, where the tiniest nations have a chance to upset the world powerhouses. It's all very neat and clean with rules of law if not etiquette. Think what the world would be like if that's how wars were fought. Imagine, if you will, one of those charming announcers with British or Scottish accents they bring in to call soccer games in America to give them a particular gravitas* (unattainable by American announcers): Oh! There's a whistle on the American Colonial side. I have to tell you, he was just blatantly shooting the British player from the safety of the trees and I expect to see a... ah yes, here comes the referee to talk to him. As I was saying, I wouldn't be surprised with a red card for that little trick. And there it is! Red card for the Americans. They're going to really regret later on. They need every man on the field to even have a chance and that will certainly cost them a great deal. If that's how things went down, we'd all be British. Ah yes. So, the World Cup starts at the end of the week with the US taking the pitch in their first game on Saturday against England. Believe it or not, the Americans have a chance to move onto the next round at the top of their group. Don't call during the match please as I'll be too busy watching and fielding my Mom's phone calls about particular plays or calls. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.

As a small soccer fashion side-note, I stumbled across the Girl's Soccer image the other and found yet another reason to thank my lucky stars that I was born when I was. Who wants to wear some Victorian bordella boot type thingy to run around in? Though I must admit, the bloomers on the girls to the left would probably be comfortable after a match.

One final bit, the above images came from the Library of Congress Flickr site. Go there. Explore. It's fun.

* Invariably the Scottish announcers, though not so much the British, are the equivalent of good ol' boys. It's like saying NASCAR announcers have gravitas.


treadmill carpet bomb

I've been to many gyms in my life, from fancy to not-so-fancy. My objective and goals have changed over the years, but the lessons I learned early in life are still there: people don't clean their equipment thus you clean before and after, free weights inexplicably allow grunts and yells a la Monica Seles, and sometimes people just stink (a lot). The character of a particular gym, of course, depends upon it's denizens (the ones who don't clean, yell, and stink), but ultimately the people a gym attracts is tied to its equipment, classes, and locker rooms.

I've been rather happy with the tiny low-rent gym I've been going to over the last 6 or 7 month. There are no classes, no fancy locker rooms, and the free weights mingles with the machines. You avoid much of the BS of fancier places, though you still see the guy still stuck in 1989 climbing out of his Camaro to lift weights and grunt (hair gloriously flowing down over his face) as well as some women who should really be going to the pizza place next door for a slice or two (and a new relationship with food and exercise). Anyway, I can move about doing as I please for the most part. Yesterday, however, reminded me of something I hadn't seen in awhile. The sweat carpet bomber, individuals who make profusely sweaty people seem like amateurs. Now, I'm not trying to say I don't sweat, but yesterday my only treadmill option was right next to a sweat carpet bomber. Dude had at least a 3 foot radius of sweat. I'm being conservative in my estimate. I'm usually not so squeamish about such things, but I was clearly in the path of destruction. I was mentally unprepared. Maybe those Cave Men running around NYC have the right idea after all. They would have just thrown a rather large stone at the carpet bomber.


creativity, I curse thee

Classes in the craft center are not something I've indulged in lately. The choice of the word "indulged" is a perfect example of the issue at hand. Let me explain, I am in a creative funk. A creative funk I am in. In a creative funk am I. See?

I have a theory as to the whys and hows. It's pretty simple, pretty straightforward. And utter bullshit, I'm sure. But it's mine. Perhaps I should start with my fear rather than my theory. My fear is that, quite simply, the normal 9 to 5 working-world I live in will make me dumb. The struggle to sound reasonably intelligent on a consistent basis is pretty small. This is not because the people I work with are idiots, quite the contrary generally speaking, but rather the work environment prizes brevity and (what can only be described as) arena rock fist-pumping. Keeping with the arena rock metaphor, the salesmen all purchased front row tickets, upper management sit a tasteful distance from the stage to keep an eye on which way the wind is blowing, and all entry-level people fill in the space behind. I'm lucky, my work group firmly plants itself in the back row, unwilling to drink the kool-aid.* So at least I have that going for me. What's the point, you ask, dear reader? The point is, this isn't my last gig where I struggled to keep up intellectually. The struggle is good. It makes us better. I'm not trying to posit that I'm smarter than everyone I work with, merely that everyone I used to work with on a daily basis were WAY smarter than me. Way. Circling back around to the fear bit, I fear I am now dumber than I was because I no longer have the daily struggle.

My theory is that intense, sustained intellectual concentration and resultant (ahem, required) production of papers to explain your Buddha-like sitting position act as balm to one's creative thoughts. At least it did for me. You tell a story, give it suspense, evidence (!!), tease out the meaning, and hopefully don't put the reader to sleep. The part I loved about writing academic papers was making them not sound terribly academic.** Perhaps it's just the intellectual exhaustion I miss. What I'm getting at is that I had a creative outlet within my work. No such outlet exists for me now so I must go in search of it elsewhere.

For a while, this blog served as a creative outlet. I've built a kick-ass butcher block table which is functional and quite beautiful. I learned bike maintenance and various other things. But alas, I find myself in another creative funk. Creativity, I curse thee.*** Have no fear, I know what I need to do. Creativity is not something to "indulge" or pander to. It is something to chase after. This is just a rather long explanation of why my blog sucks. And my thoughts over the past couple months.


* I am in a creative funk, I'm more than allowed to mix my metaphors.
** Perhaps this is a good indicator of why I ventured out into the working world rather than continuing in higher education.
*** Not really. You know what I mean anyway.


you are not going to heaven

Ummm, had an odd dream. Basically, in the course of an odd dream marathon that involved the combined summer and winter Olympics and me meeting Florence from Florence & the Machine, I ended up looking for something (not religious in nature) in a Morman Temple. Weaving through the stray, scratching dudes who were too pleased with themselves, I burst into the women's chapel on accident where services were being held. A woman walked up to me, put her hand on my head and said, "you are not going to heaven." I really paid her no mind though, because she said that through the giant rat puppet she had on her hand. And when I looked around, there were other giant rat puppet touting women basically keeping people in line all over the room and up and down the aisles.

Avoid people who only speak through rat puppets on their hands. That is the lesson of the day.


so much going on!

Okay, not really. And with that confident statement, I present a list!
  1. My knees and ankles survived my alumni game. And we won! Amazing things do happen.
  2. This weekend we cobbled enough sunshine together to give me a slight sun burn. Bear in mind the amount of sun it takes for me to burn if you really want to know how consistently "sunny" it was.
  3. I love coffee. I know this is nothing new, but it pretty much always deserves an entry.
  4. The word "synergy" featured heavily in a training I was involved in last Friday. I threw up a little in my mouth every time they said it. Actually, that training deserves a post of its own.
  5. Kickball starts tomorrow people. Theoretically it will not rain. Keep your fingers crossed.
  6. As a non-thieving music fan, I endorse Amazon.com for all digital music desires. They give you the mp3 and have smokin' deals on tons of stuff.
  7. Last night I ate momos until I had to undo the top button of my pants. For real. It was like Thanksgiving, but with delicious Tibetan dumplings. Also tried butter tea. Apparently it is traditionally made with Yak butter, so I don't know what butter portion of the butter tea I consumed. But believe you me, it tasted exactly like drinking hot butter. You could have dipped bread or dunked some crab in there and been fine. Wikipedia tells me this beverage is great for living at high elevations AND chapped lips. So there ya go.
One purchase you should consider is The Bird & The Bee, Interpreting the Masters, Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall & John Oates


"I pretty sure my cat's been reading my diary."

I might have almost peed my pants last night watching Glee when Brittany uttered the phrase, "I'm pretty sure my cat's been reading my diary." If I had a cat or kept a diary for that matter, I'm pretty sure it would look something like this:

Dear Diary,

This week has been crazy busy with experimental cooking which turned out better than one might expect. But things are good for me right now! I bowled a 136 on Monday night even though a power outage at the bowling alley totally broke my concentration. If I'm honest, it was all luck, not skill. Oh. And the hot pink size 8 ball. The hot pink definitely helps. La. I'm nervous for the alumni game on Saturday and hope I don't hurt myself. The last time I played (2 years ago) the oldest alumni was 28. I'm beyond that now, so hopefully I'm not the oldest. Eek! Wish me luck! (Is it weird to ask my diary for help? Or write side-bar comments like the parentheses block out the diary?)


Important side note: sending good vibes down to the SC for Re-B, KFR, and their new Baby X!


some london and prague

London: walking along along the south bank of the Thames on our way to the Tate Modern:

St. Paul's in the distance

Prague Old Town Square: Easter Market at Night
Church of St. Nicholas

The Sis!
S along the Vltava

I've got loads more pictures to put up. Germany hasn't even made an appearance yet. But I've been fighting the end of a cold picked up in Munich before my friend's wedding and last night I had a dream with creepy Ben Linus from Lost in it. Weird. I'll have more to report later.


leavin' on a jet plane

The time has come for my Next Grand Adventure (NGA) with the sis. The parental unit just arrived to take us to the airport for NGA and I'm already plotting out my sleeping strategy to minimize jet lag once in London. Woot! So be well my friends. Some thoughts for travels in general:
  • flex and stretch legs when sitting for long amounts of time
  • water water water
  • mentally prepare yourself for bad coffee depending upon destination (I don't hold out much hope for London)
  • stay with people you know if at all possible
  • always pack less than you think you'll need
  • smiles are good, but people (Brits) think Americans are disingenuous anyway, so whatev
  • Orroit Innit?


travel plans and such

BCC Blackboard: trip art
Things of passing interest to pretty much three people:
  • Thinking on KFR's salt predicament makes my heart hurt.
  • I'm starting to giggle like a school girl when I think about my trip (see above photo).
  • I'm not in crazy packing mode for my trip yet, which is actually astounding.
  • I still love Florence + the Machine.
  • If I had a dream of meeting someone on the streets on London, it would be David Gray.
  • If I could steal voices like Ursela from Disney's The Little Mermaid, it would be Annie Lennox's voice.
  • Coffee in the morning is delicious.
  • I no longer judge people who buy decaf coffee. They're doin' what they've got to do to continue to enjoy that delicious elixir of life. I must be maturing.
  • For anyone, like me, who has to use Instant Messenger consistently, I offer unicorns. I'd also like to give a shout-out to "the #1 unicorn and rainbow service worldwide, making websites sparkle around the world."


holy galactica awesomeness

If you ever enjoyed watching Battlestar Galactica, watch this. Now.


the sound of your disappearing career

If you ever want to know what the sound of a disappearing career is, it could (quite literally) be a toilet flush. And I'm not saying that simply because I've been watching Ally McBeal.

At certain points in the year, particularly around quarter-end or fiscal year-end, I attend enough meetings to drive any rational person (ie: me) insane. I passed the 5 hour mark for meetings on Tuesday and realized I had 3 more hours to go. Meaning, 3 more hours to go insane. When does one eat lunch? Go to the bathroom? Get any work done? These questions and others created such a din in my head I got a migraine. Bygones. Yes, that was a Fishism. Anyway, you see my point. You get tired. Off your game. Do irrational things. Do dumb things.

Yesterday was just such a(n) (idiotically dumb) day for some poor schmuck. Let me break down the scene of the crime, a Big Time meeting: scheduled for 2 hours, over a hundred people, many people attending by calling in on a conference line, lots of background noise because people can't figure out how to mute their phone. To add to the chaos, everyone not attending in person dialed in on the "moderator" line rather than the "attendee" line. What this means is the odd automated voice* that said, "all lines are on mute" lied. The voice lied. Repeating that phrase over and over again. So, as the meeting was getting under way with our VP going over points (yada yada yada) everyone heard the unmistakable sound of a flushing toilet ring out and echo over every telephone line to every corner of every conference room where employees crowed around the phone as if it was the only source of heat around.

A toilet flush. Silence. Laughter.

I'm not gonna lie, I harbor the fear of my mute button not working. But if I have to pee during the middle of a meeting where I don't have to talk, you better believe I'm leaving the phone in my office. I don't know what happened to the guy.** Methinks the shame of the VP saying he wish he had handi-wipes and antibacterial hand gel to give out was probably enough punishment. And my guess is that the lesson of toilet flush, silence, laughter will be a long lasting one. Perhaps at another company.

* oddly enough, the automated voice on US based calls are male ("please press the pounds sign") whilst British based calls are female ("please press the hash mark")
** I'm assuming this person was a dude. Bygones.


old man candy

I've recently experienced a candy renaissance of sorts. Suddenly the long-neglected candy aisle holds more interest than some variation on peanut butter (Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Peanut Butter M & Ms, Peanut Butter Twix, etc.). I'm rediscovering old classics and developing new candy theories. To foster your own candy renaissance in your area of the country (these things are highly regional, after all) here is my recommendation: follow an old man down the candy aisle. Go straight for whatever that old man picks up, no matter how much it may ruin his dentures.

While Worthers and other such hard candies (I prefer butterscotch discs) are an excellent starting point, just jump right in. A personal favorite of my is the Chick-O-Stick. It's like the inside of a Butterfinger without the bad chocolate around it. Moreover, the Chick-O-Stick is lovingly rolled in toasted coconut. It creates a magical flavor combination that kicks a Butterfinger's ass any day of the week.

Next up, I'm eating crow. Not the literal kind, of course. But I've poo-pooed Big Hunks recently because all I remember is weird nougat and a candy which requires strategies for consumption. Not my idea of fun as a wee one. I disparaged the Big Hunk in front of a life-long Big Hunk lover. Last week a Big Hunk made it's way into my hands as a result. Tastes change, I know this. I'm opinionated, not obstinate. I tried the weird nougat that requires strategies for consumption. The result? Brilliant. Absolutely delightful. A salty sweet (with peanuts!) concoction of such dense proportions one must fully commit to the candy. There is certainly no ability to speak when indulging.

Next old man candy adventure: Abba-Zabba

In summation: old man candy is where it's at. Shadow an old man down the candy aisle. Do it.


my boy builds coffins, I make chili that will put you in one

I'm just gonna say it. The chili I make is awesome. It's thick, meaterific, perfectly seasoned deliciousness. I bring this up because it's super bowl weekend and the super bowl is nothing but an excuse to eat food that is not good for you while drinking beer. Chili will most definitely make an appearance at this year's festivities. I suppose people actually watch the game. I mostly watch in fits and starts, but if it's good I'm a bit more inclined to pay attention. One thing that I won't have, because I think it's in the back of Matt-O's old car, is my old Nerf Turbo. Now that, friends, is a good time. Playing catch in the street and moving aside for cars to go through, just like you did when you were 11 years old.

One other thing that's awesome: Florence + the Machine. The fabulous MQH passed along the recommendation and I'm eternally thankful. The song below is called "My Boy Builds Coffins".... listen. Do it.


Migraine Update

I recently read a personally affirming article on the NYTimes regarding migraines and my particular approach to living with them over the past 3 months or so. One thing, however, that gave me pause was this particular line: "Researchers are learning that pain and the medications used to treat pain can potentially change the biology of the brain." Brilliant! But things are going well at the moment, so I'm not going to dwell on the issue. Just keep on keepin' on. Don't rock the boat, so to speak. And this is why... ahem: "[Migraine] Sufferers inherit a hypersensitivity to physical and emotional events — like stress, noise, certain foods and even bad weather."

You can check at least 3 of those things for me. I'm not sure about the noise bit for me personally, but I probably just haven't put two and two together.

I'm doing well at the moment. HUZZAH!


huzzah! travel!

A couple of announcements.

First, a trip down to Cali is in the works for sometime in the last two weeks of February. Just need to confirm dates then we can plan a Hug Attack. This particular work trip promises to be full of productive crap as well. Which is always nice.

Second, I secured dates/tickets/places to stay for my Next Grand Adventure (NGA). NGA shall also feature my sister, which is a total bonus. Destinations include London, Munich/Salzburg, and Stuttgart for my friend's wedding. Hells to the Yes.

All in all, I'm feeling rather lordly at the moment. Don't worry, I'll try not to let it go to my head. But for now, I'm excited.

That is all.


toy: red shirt & skinny jeans

toy: red shirt & skinny jeans


cheese & peanut butter

The last two weeks for me could be summed up rather easily: supermarket laziness. The store is not someplace I wish to be. Menus for the week are not something I want to spend my time on. Choosing between the tiny cart or the basket is not a decision I feel compelled to address at this particular point in time.

This, of course, has consequences. I ran out of bread 2 days ago. The main contents of my refrigerator are condiments and stray beer. Perhaps I could call those singles feral beer? People know not to approach them. They keep to themselves, hide in the corners, and tend to inexplicably multiply. There are exceptions to the no-shopping feeling. These exceptions are quite narrow in scope: coffee & half-n-half. That's the long and short of it.

All this open real estate in my fridge and pathetic scavenger hunt for something marginally nutritious for dinner last night (I wanted to read and watch movies and sit on my couch and not do anything) led me to a very important culinary question. How could I combine two things I love, two things that survive the feral beer colony, into one delicious food? How can cheese and peanut butter come together for the greater good? I didn't get very far with that question as I turned my attention to other "important" matters. But the thought I had when I woke up this morning was Apples. Apples are the answer. Apples bridge the gap. I'd go to the store to test out my theory today, but I think I'm busy.


Be a Caveman, Give Blood

I feel as if I'm letting an opportunity pass me by. I could be a caveman. Err, a cavewoman. Let me explain. There are a handful of enterprising young people in New York City who fancy themselves neo-cavemen. For health reasons. Because, you know, a life expectancy of 30 years is pretty good.

The rules: eat lots of meat; don't eat agriculture supported foods (such as bread); fruits and veggies are fine (though there is some debate as to the place of nightshades in the caveman diet). Oh, and fasting is always good. You never know where the next giant ground sloth will come from. The delightful article all this caveman knowledge comes from further explained, "These urban cavemen also choose exercise routines focused on sprinting and jumping, to replicate how a prehistoric person might have fled from a mastodon." Bonus! Exercise would be more fun as well. It could involve "scooting around the underbrush on all fours," rock jumping, and throwing rocks. I'm just going to throw sprinting and clambering up trees in there because that seems like a reasonable thing for cavemen to excel at. One final small detail to include (with the meat, running without shoes, and fasting) is to give blood early and often. Cavemen got hurt. They lost blood. Then they had to go wrastle a giant bear.

This is all to say that I could have been a caveman. If I'd only planned accordingly. I gave blood yesterday. If only I stocked my fridge with all variety of meat. I mean, I don't have woolly mammoths to contend with and it wouldn't be very nice to pick fights with bums in the park, either. And foolishly I went to see a movie rather than scooting around the underbrush. Perhaps next time.


still here.

I'm still here. I've got nothing terribly clever to say at the moment, so I'll leave you with some pictures I took this weekend. There will be more explanation at a later point.