Category Archives: Just life

spring doing stuff

So despite the awful awful heat:

graph of temperature
(the blue and brown lines are in the attic; the green, red, and purple lines are more realistic) I’ve been more or less wanting to build things, improve things, etc.

Last weekend, I weeded a corner of the lawn; we’ve been talking about putting in container gardens in the front yard, with pea gravel all around them so that we could grow what we wanted (veggies!) and not have to worry about maintaining a lawn or dealing with a dirt patch.

Of course, me being me, I want to put sprinklers in the ground first. So I’ve got to dig trenches for the irrigation pipes. But of course, it being TOO HOT lately, I haven’t done any of this. There’s a half-dug trench from when I freaked out about a leak a couple of months ago, but that’s about it.

Then, of course, I’ve found a project in the “Family Handyman” project annual that seems like fun. It shows how to use a small pond liner (small as in 2-3 feet in diameter), a small pond pump, a few ceramic dishes, hardware cloth and rocks to make a decent looking fountain. (Normally I’m more of a “Fine Homebuilding” person, but this issue looked interesting enough to pick up.) So now I need to think about how best to get electrical out there as well.

I can’t let a small project be simple, you see — it has to be elaborate, complicated, and fun. Whatever the project ends up being, I’ll post something about it.

news junkie, I must be

So I think I’m a news junkie. I have a regular repertoire of web sites that I check every morning and night for news and information; some are on the linkroll at right. I try to suck up every story and read the more interesting ones. Not sure if I like staying informed, or what.

I actually think it may have started during an earthquake in the mid-90s; it happened at some ungodly hour in the morning (why do the bigger ones always seem to happen at, say, 4AM, and not 2PM?). Earthquakes freaked me out for a while growing up; I was within about 20 miles of the epicenter of the 1989 Loma Prieta (6.9Richter) quake when it happened, and that shook me up a bit. This one, though, was only a 5.0 or so. But I got up and couldn’t sleep, so I started listening to the radio. This was back when certain AM stations would spend an hour after a quake taking listener calls after a bigger one from people who’d say if they felt it or not.

The next night, it became more of a habit, and for a while I started listening to news radio at night. Then it turned into News TV (I used to be a great fan of World News Now, the slightly kooky 2AM-4AM newscast on ABC). I finally grew out of that in college as I realized I actually needed sleep to function. But off and on with the advent of easy web access, I’ve been sort of a web site news junkie.

Anyway, in order to fizzle out this whole story — being a news junkie, I’m also an avid fan of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, the kooky NPR news quiz show. I listen every week when I can. We even went to a live show when they were touring. So every now and then, I’ll come across a story that I just *know* is going to be on Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.

I came across such a story today.

And don’t remember where I found it or what it was about.

So, to make up for this letdown, please watch this crazy, super-must-be-drug-induced ad for coffee:

I just got harris’ed

So for the first time in my life, I got Harris Poll’ed. They asked the standard political stuff — who’s doing a good job, who I might vote for in the 2008 presidential race, then moved on to find out how I felt about the oil and natural gas industry.

If I were to analyze it, it seemed decent enough, except there were some statements that I was asked if I agree or disagree with — something about the statistics of ethanol-burning cars on the road — where I would have liked to check the numbers. But there was no “I don’t know” option, so I just went with it.

It was interesting, at least. Not to say that my life is so unexciting that being called by a pollster is the zenith of my weekend; several other general entertainment things happened that I had fun with. But at least it’s unique.

Plus, for all the times I’ve said “that poll must be bogus, those respondents don’t know what they’re talking about” — I can now proudly count myself among those who don’t know what they’re talking about.

This person who doesn’t know what he’s talking about is also avoiding studying for his japanese final. Just to get that out there. Admitting it is the first step, you know.

I miss Mr. Rogers

One of the last links for the day from The Consumerist (a fun read if you revel in good & bad tales of companies and customer service) was a YouTube video of Mr. Rogers saving CPB/PBS.

I grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, so I’m not sure if it’s because of that, but every time I see video of Mr. Rogers either doing his show or otherwise (in the above clip, or on an episode of This American Life, I have to marvel. If any other person spoke with slow, deliberate tones of Mr. Rogers, I’d assume they were patronizing me. But with Mr. Rogers, you just get this feeling of caring, that he’s just a genuinely nice guy. I’ve seen comments comparing him to Gandhi, and that sounds about right.

I dunno, it’s hard to explain. Reading some of the “for parents” stuff on the Mr. Rogers web site, it looks like his philosophy was a simple, treat everyone (including kids) with respect; everyone deserves to be listened to and dealt with as a human being.

I do wish there were more Mr. Rogers’, and fewer O’Reillys and Hannitys and DeLays. The world might be a nicer place.

tired day

Not much for today. Got up at 5, went to work, had meetings most of the day, came home, made grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner, went to Japanese class where I did OK but not that great, and watched the last half of the season finale of Boston Legal (Denny Crane!).

I processed all the pix for the PS2 rackmount how-to; I’ll post that tomorrow at some point. I hope.

yay for pingbacks

So I do a dutiful job of my Japanese homework, in both Romaji and Hiragana (granted the day before it’s due, but hey, I’m busy). Despite doing a final vacuum before the SO’s mom arrives tomorrow, walking the dogs to pick up the small one from practice, having dinner, and bathing one of the dogs (the amount of brown water that went down the drain was very impressive).

After I finish homework, I note that the still slightly damp dog is still shedding, even though I bathed her. So, in a flash of brilliance, I decide to use the air filter we have in the living room as a shed collection device.

It works decently well; a bit escapes in the updraft of the exhaust, but standing the dog in front of the filter and rubbing her vigorously does seem to do a good job of trapping the bulk of her hair detritus. Of course she’s not exactly thrilled about the idea; attention is good, but this big humming machine sounds a little too much like the vacuum cleaner for her comfort. (This is the dog whose favorite outdoor pasttime is chasing the hose when I’m watering the few plants we have, and trying to bite the stream of water. The fiftieth or sixtieth time you’d think she’d figure out you can’t bite it.)

I tried to do the same with the other dog, but she was having even less of the air filter than the first dog. A bit of her fuzz did get sucked into the air filter, but not nearly as much as the just-bathed dog.

Anyway, the original reason for me posting is because Mr. Destructoid himself commented on one of my E3 posts! I think it’s because WordPress pingbacks each URL that gets mentioned in a post.

Not that it really means anything; it gives me a teensy tiny bit of fame and ego boost and not much else. But still, it’s fun to be noticed. Plus I get a w00t point. I’m not really sure what that means. But I have one!

Anyway; I have to make katakana flashcards for the next 10, set up another E3 pix post, then get up at 4:45 AM tomorrow. Yuck, but such is life.

my first food porn

I have a last round of E3 pix to put up, but first — it’s My First Food Porn!

Picture of berry yogurt with creme brulee'd brown sugar in ramekin

I got the idea from this article at SlashFood for a mother’s day breakfast in bed blueberry yogurt brulee. I had gotten a culinary torch several months back and hadn’t even filled it yet; I never really got up the energy to make the custard and such for a true creme brulee.

Since today was shopping day, and my SO doesn’t really like brulees, I decided to get the items for it and make it myself. With frozen berries instead of fresh (we did just buy a new fridge).

The recipe didn’t turn out quite as expected (see Out of House and Home in a bit for details), but I got to use the torch for the first time, and it was a decent dessert.

We also cleaned up the house in prep for my SO’s mom visiting. The backyard is decent and somewhat useable again (our dogs like digging, and the dirt gets EVERYWHERE); and my SO did an impeccable job in the kitchen and bathroom; I vacuumed everywhere and tried to get things as tidy as possible. Not perfect, but better.

Now, I have to get going on my Japanese homework…in a bit.


Ungabunga. I like that word. I think I learned it from the Flintstones.

Today I went to work, watched the Sony E3 press conference event via Gamespot (in which there was a person who spoke Japanese through a translator, and I understood most of what he said without needing the translator! yay!), came home, drove around running errands, purchased birthday things for my S.O. with help from her offspring, and came home to do Japanese homework. Oh the excitement, I can barely contain myself.

Tomorrow I go to work, watch the Microsoft and Nintendo E3 press conference events, drive around running more errands, go to Japanese class, and come home.

I will leave you with a picture of the dragon skull we just re-hung (after needing to take it down to allow the new & old refrigerators to pass by). It sits on a wall against a lovely background of picture frame and asbestos popcorn ceiling treatment, wearing festive christmas bells on its horns. You know, for festive purposes.

Dragon skull, from the front

Natural gas can be your friend!

A few months ago, I cleaned out our front hall closet. It had collected some picnic supplies, outdoor chairs and mats, as well as cleaning supplies, and some coats that hadn’t been worn in years.

Since the floor of the closet had a sort of half mishmash of cement with old adhesive on it and some really ugly vinyl tiles, and since I had some leftover sample bamboo flooring planks from iFloor, I decided it would be a good idea to cut enough bamboo to fit and make a nice, clean looking floor for the closet.

To make a long story short, the bamboo part works fine, until I get to the point where I nail in the baseboard above the flooring. The nail in a particular corner seems to not want to go in; so I try a bit harder, and finally it goes in.

About 3 seconds after this happens (the “oh shit” moment), I realize that the natural gas fired water heater is on the other side of this wall, and that the nail just about vertically aligns with the natural gas line feeding the water heater. So I quickly run around to the other side, and while I don’t hear any hissing, I do smell gas. Only a tiny bit, mind you, but a bit of gas nevertheless. Enough to make me worry, at least.

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shallow water table panic

In which I panic about finding water underground.

So we have a dog that we watch for a few hours at a time every now and then when its (out of town) owner visits and has to go take care of an errand locally. This dog happens to not have learned its doggy manners very well; he wants to play very much, but however he asks for it, he ends up annoying the heck out of every dog we’ve ever tried to introduce him to. No idea why; the dog doesn’t seem malicious, just incapable of saying the right thing.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, we were watching this dog in the front yard. We had him on a 10 foot leash thing attached to the front porch; our dogs were just inside the screen door watching his every move and occasionally barking and whining. (Which is also usual but strange — whenever they meet they can’t stand this dog, but they always want to get to where he is and see him.)

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