Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bowling Crustaceans

*The first snowflakes of the season have been spotted. The chickadees and juncos have returned to the feeders. Hard frosts make the windshields sparkly white every night. Time to curl up under the blankets for the next four months. Wake me when it's spring.

*The hunt is on for a Honda Element. New or used, EX or LX, I don't know yet. But, I did test drive one, and I really liked it. The all around visibility is the best I've experienced in a long time, and with the way you can move the seats around, it would be a kick ass flea market vehicle. At first glance, there doesn't seem to be a large number of them out there for sale. Plus, most of them are not the cool orange color that I like (which only comes on the more expensive EX model, of course). But, I haven't even started to ask dealers for quotes and prices yet. Right at the moment, Honda isn't offering any great finance deals either. Not that 1.9% for 36 or 2.9% for 37+ is horrible, but it seems I missed the whole 0% boat. Have I mentioned that I really hate car shopping? I can't get the color I want in the LX model, but I have the stereo that I can pull from the Tribute so I can use the iPod. Now, if I get the EX in the color I want, it comes with an iPod compatible stereo. I really don't want to trade in that stereo, but I also don't really want another blah colored (silver, gray, or black) car. I'm going to have to go over what comes with the different trim packages and see what I can live without (the $1K 'dog friendly' package is one of the things I can do without). Then comes the fun of trying to figure out how to pay for it.

*Done with leaf removal for the year. There now sits a 10' long waist high drift of leaves in front of my house waiting for the city to come and vacuum it up. It's one of those piles of leaves that looks highly tempting to run and leap into. But, since I was the one who collected them, I know there a quite a few dog turds that got raked up with those leaves. And if anything would take the fun out of leaf diving, dog turds would be it. That's all of the leaves I intend to remove from the yard for the year. Not to say there aren't still more out there, but the rest of them are fertilizer as far as I'm concerned. May run the mower around and chop some of them up until the gas tank is empty, but other than that, lawn care is at an end until sometime next year.

*Two weeks left until the formal presentation of my Quest (with a tip of the fez to Ahu for making allowances). After dashing an email off to E59, at least I now know where the party is going to be. The live feed still seems to be in question, but I think I'll be nervous enough about repeating the whole presentation in front of the bulk of the Red Palms without knowing it's going out live to the east coast as well. Also interesting to note that if I was of a mind to, I could party for 3 straight weekends with FOM folks. Thinking I'll try 2 this year and work my way up from there.

*As much as I like swing music, it does seem to be something that's better in small blocks. It's the same thing I found with the Squirrel Nut Zippers-if you're not in the right mood for it, it can come across as kinda frantic. Adding that BBVD disc to my iPod was a good move though. Need to get caught up on all my backlogged podcasts too.

*Gorged yourself to maximum capacity and then some? Vision blurred from hours and hours of non-stop football? Nerves frazzled from the endless stream of half-crazy relatives roaming through your house? Everything you own smell vaguely of turkey? Sounds like you need an adult anti-holiday sanity break! Head on over to the Blue Moai Room Thanksgiving night for cocktails, conversations,
and decompression starting around 6:30.

*The court case I was supposed to go in for next week has been settled! Apparently the accused is taking a plea deal, so that's over and done with. About damn time. Now I need to figure out if I'm gonna bolt out of town for the night on Monday. Even a brief change of scenery sounds like something I could really go for. The current car situation could be an issue in that plan though. Sheri has already mentioned more than once that should be one of my 'in person' car searching days.

*Watched the end of Lost the other day. Wasn't quite what I was expecting. But then again, that could very well be a description of how I felt about the entire run of the show. I was glad that they didn't try and nail down every last detail about the show. Leaves lots of room for interesting discussions that way. Still, I found the last episode vaguely unsatisfactory. Half tempted to restart the series to see if I can make more sense out of it now, but 6 seasons worth of episodes is a lot of time to spend, and I'm way behind in my studio output as it is. Tropical Tails is coning up in short order, and I'm guessing there will be some FOM events that I'll need to contribute things to. Just need to get back into the winter swing of things. Getting all the crap cleared off my drafting table would be a good start.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Brick Is Dead...

*"Leaking head gasket". Not what you want to hear your mechanic say. Even worse than that is when they say it will take some time for them to work up an estimate of what the repair will cost you. This whole thing makes me quite unhappy. And slightly queasy. I don't want to shop for a new car. I don't want to be making a car payment. But, I don't want to write out a massive check to the mechanic. Talk about a lose/lose/lose situation. I need to find ouit what the projected lifespan of the engine would be if I just have them put it all back together. Now that I know about the problem, it makes it real hard for me to not disclose it if I want to trade the car in. And even if it does have <70K miles on it, I don't think the gasket issue would add anything to my trade-in value. But, if I keep driving it and the whole thing just explodes, that would really do bad things to my trade-in value. The really pissy part is that there is a TSB out on the gasket problem (it was a manufacturing issue), but since it's not safety related, the manufacturer isn't covering the repair. That sucks. And shopping for a car sucks. Even if you've got it narrowed down to a model or two. Blech. Just not sure what to do yet.

*Got to run out to F+F and pick up a leaf blower to replace the one of the folks that busted while I was using it. But, before I hand it over, I fully intend to test it out on my yard first. Get all those leaves out of the back yard and be done with it for the year. What a way to spend my day off. Wheeeee. I am SUCH a rock star.

*Supposed to go to court to be a witness Monday for a DUI case from 3 or 4 years ago. This is supposed to take up the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I think this will be at least the 4th time that I have gone over to Sycamore to participate in this case. But it's been rescheduled and postponed more times than I care to remember, and it's really starting to piss me off. I'd kinda like to head out of town on Monday, but I really can't do that if I have to be in court all day and then back again the next morning. To top it all off, I don't even remember the guy. Wouldn't know him if he walked up to me and poked me in the eye. So, if this nonsense ends up mucking up my week, I do think I shall be quite put out.

*Good to know that if nothing else can, Monty Python quotes can always be relied on to derail a forum thread.

*Who would have thought it would have taken me so long to find my freakin NIU diploma? And who would have thought of all the strange stuff that I would have found in the process of looking for that diploma? The tiny blue armadillo was a pretty strange find. I have no idea of the context under which it came into my possession. It's actually kinda cute, though. So, it found it's way into the studio with my other armadillos. The rose from 24 years ago I left where it was. Still not sure what the lesson I was supposed to learn from that situation was. All I know is that it's way too late for me to learn it.

*The Space Car doesn't have a jack for my iPod. WTF??


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Combo Fried Rice

*Hoping I can get away with raking the yard just one more time. The trees in the back yard have finally given up the majority of their leaves, so it's now just a matter of beating the weather and the pick-up deadline.

*Took Saturday night and went out to catch the show at Tiki Terrance with Bart and Steph. Got there a little earlier than usual, so the serveice was a bit better than what we have experienced previously. All in all, I think they only missed one of my drinks this time, which was pretty good for a table of four. The roasted pork was really good, and so was the mahi mahi. Even the kalamari was good, and lacked the after affects that Fred suffered the last time at the Chef.

*Poison and penguins made for a good Sunday evening, except for Sheri having a slight headache and me not counting on the potency of Chimay.

*A good thing to remember is that if you don't go looking, you'll never miss what it is you don't know that you're missing. Had I been thinking in those terms, we wouldn't have gone to the open house on Sunday, and wouldn't have found ourselves in discussions with M1 about the possibility of a new house. The really pissy part about it is that it seems to be a repeat situation of what we went through when we tried to buy the house that we currently live in.

*Finally got that gyro I had been craving for so long. Now I just need to quit burping it.

*Dropped my car off yesterday, and the mechanic called back this morning to say that the water pump was what was making the green puddles in my driveway. That was a goood thing because it didn't involve taking the whole front of the engine apart to get at it. But, the serpentine belt had seen better days, so they recommended changing that at the same time all the rest of it was apart. I said OK, go ahead and do it, and was even pleased when they said it would be done by the end of the day. So then, off to work I go. Then I get a call from Sheri who tells me that the mechanic has since called back and found that the leak was coming form further back than they thought it was, and they would indeed need to disassemble the whole front part of the engine. And, since they already had it apart that far, it would be a good idea to change the timing belt. So, I am no longer as happy as I was when I had left for work. But at least I know where my paycheck for this week is going.

*Almost a foot of snow in some parts of the Minneapolis area this weekend, and people will still ask us why it is we don't live there. There have been recent rumors of flurries being spotted in Rockford, so it appears it's only a short amount of time before we'll be getting our first dusting of the stuff. Can't you just sense how thrilled I am about that?

*I said it last time. There are things you should just leave alone. Some stones should remain unturned. Your memories may be incorrect and incomplete, but they are still usually better than the truth. But, since I've always had a bad habit of picking at things, I now know that there is yet one more aspect of my past where I was completely and totally out of my league without realizing it.

*Gonna kiss the land line goodbye. That's the simplest thing we can do to save a few bucks every month. Beyond that, I'll have to do some digging around to figure out where else we can tighten up the finances. I'm thinking I will end up on a beer budget of some sort. Domestic in cans, probably. Flea market season is over until next spring, so that shouldn't be a problem.


Thursday, November 11, 2010


*While there are parts of me that consider it wrong beyond belief, there are other parts of me that think it would be such an incredible time saver to drink beer while walking on the treadmill.

*I think we have seen the absolute last of the good weather for this year as of yesterday. This morning, a cold wind out of the northwest has swept drizzly cold rain into the area and made it quite unpleasant. Yuck.

Rusty Fungus Bling

*Got one good run-through of yardwork done on Tuesday. Raked, mowed, cut down seasonal plants, and took a whole carload of stuff to the dumpsite. And after all that, I still had the backyard to do, and only a couple of hours of daylight left to do it in. What managed to save the day was when I caught Gray coming home from school and he asked me if I needed him to rake or mow. Having already spent most of the day working on the front yard, I was only too happy to hand off the back to him. So, all in all, the yard looks halfway decent, and it only cost me $20. Still need to tend to the windows, but I might do that this weekend, as long as I have a big-ass bottle of Windex.

*Rule to live by: If they like the box that the gift came in as much as they like the gift itself, that's a double bonus. But, if they like the box better, you're screwed.

*Bart and Steph are going to join us Saturday night as we make what could be our last pilgrimage out to Tiki Terrace on Saturday night. If the service then is no better than it is on the Ohana nights, we may have to scratch this place off our list.

*Could it be that I'm finally getting over this stupid cold? About damn time...

*I'm toying around with the notion of haivng a big mid-winter party. Or late winter. Six months from the end of October would be April. Guess I could make it a combo late winter/birthday thing. Not a whole lot going on at that time of year, so people might be in the mood for a good party.Maybe it could be called the Mid-March Moai Madness Mixer, Meeting, and Mash-up Melee. Or not.

*Sad to hear of yet another friend losing a pet. Condolences to the Pirate Queen.

*Never a good thing when you see a fresh wet spot under your car. Those usually end up costing many many hundreds of dollars. Not to mention that bike season is rapidly coming to a close, so the idea of being without a vehicle really sucks.

*The outdoor studio has been officially disbanded for the year. Still got some things out in the garage that need to be rearranged, but the carving table is in it's winter home, and all the 25's have joined it.The snowshovels have been brought down from the wall, and the snowblower is on it's way for a pre-season tune-up. And I still hate the fact that I need those things at all. But, more importantly, she can now get her car in out of the weather. And I got it done before the stated deadline.

*A quick run to CJ's netted me a cool, one-of-a-kind tiki cookie jar and a nice Hawaiian shirt. I should probably make it a point to check for things there more often.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ceramic Coconut Contacts

*Another entry into the category of 'Songs I Will Never, Ever, Ever, Ever Like' = "The Rose".

*Missed my chance to spend some time with Bluegirl while I was on vacation, and now she's headed back south. Hopefully I can catch up with her the next time she's relatively close to the stateline.

*There are a lot of questions that, on the surface, seem pretty damn simple. Then, when you start thinking about it, the problem ends up being whether or not you really want to know the answer to that question. It's really quite the genie in a bottle, that answer. Whether it's good or bad, once you hear it, you can't unhear it. And there have been several of those questions that I have pursued answers to only to discover, ultimately, that I really didn't want the answers. But the edges of those answers can sometimes be so sparkly and tantalizing that it's really hard to resist digging just a little bit more. Still, the lessons learned at the reunion should remind me that the way I recall things is hardly the most accurate or complete record of what actaully happened. And there were things that were just plain wrong. But there's always that hope that somehow, some element of that memory, some splinter of that feeling, some chunk of that fantasy could still be alive and well. But if I ask the question, do I really want to know the answer? That, my friends, is a really fucking hard thing to wrestle with. Especially when the computer leads you straight to one of those tantalizing, sparkly edges.

*I am letting Netflix take up way too much of my time. Really, how many bad 80's movies do you need to watch before you've had enough? But, I could have a Netflix subscription for several years before I'd reach the cost of what a new TV would run me. So, the dead TV just sits in the living room, and we watch things on the computer.

*"Sanctuary"- A TV show that's a cross between The X-Files and Noah's ark. Not at all impressive.

*"Dead Like Me"- Already seen them all, but still enjoying watching them. Doesn't hurt at all that Ellen Muth is quite the looker. I just think it's a shame that shows like this and Pushing Daisies get cut from the networks while things like Real Housewives and Jersey Shore go on to live disgustingly long lives.

*"Arrested Development"- Another show that while I've already seen them all, stands up really well to being watched, and enjoyed, all over again.

*"RED"- A movie we saw recently that had a really neat (but predictable) story, and a promising cast, but couldn't figure out what it wanted to be. So it wasn't really quite an action movie, wasn't really quite a buddy flick, and wasn't really quite a statement about the usefulness of seniors in our society. Too bad. Probably could have been a really good version of any one of those.

*"Hereafter"- I was intrigued by the notion of Clint Eastwood tackling a subject matter that was beyond his usual range of material. But, after seeing the movie, all I can really say is that I don't get it.

*For the second day in a row, the bone casting that I've been cleaning up has drawn blood. Yesterday, it was my right thumb, today it was my left thumb. I'm thinking that I should put that piece away for a while and work on something else.

*Been a bad couple of months for people loosing their pets to illness and old age. Makes me appreciate my stinky group of idiots.

*Have a small piece currently on the drafting table that's all ready for color. Rather than going with the usual palette, I'm going with purples on this one, just to be different. We'll see how it turns out. Proabaly do a spray mount on board and then drop the whole thing into an inexpensive frame. Might be a little less likely to end up in the pile of stuff under the couch if I do that.

*Is poetry more about rythym or rhyme? Beats me. At what point does poetry become song? Is there a difference between a song and a rap? Beats me x 2. It does seem to take a mindset that I'm not quite in at the moment, though. Or maybe I am in that mindset, but just haven't hit upon the right subject matter.

*Happy belated birthday to Eve! And thanks for the interesting take on what a vampire looks like.

*Good to hear that Kittyluv is getting back on track, and hopefully we'll be able to get together sometime soon.

*Got to see one of the new iPod Nanos close up today. Damn thing isn't even 2 inches square and might be all of 1/2 inch thick. Just way too damn small for someone with hands like mine. I have the Nano with the touch wheel, which isn't large by any stretch of the imagination, and this one is way smaller than that. Makes me think I may need to try and dig up one of the 'big' old iPods. At least that's something that would be easy for me to hang on to. I do like the nice screen on mine, even if it isn't touch sensitive. But (I never thought I'd say this), 8 gigs of storage for music just isn't enough for me. 16 sounds nice, but if I can't get that in a configuration that works for me, I may just have to hang on to what I have for a while longer.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Appaloosa Donuts

*Just as soon as you start to wonder if your carving knife needs sharpening, that's when you lay your thumb open with it. Even then it's hard to say whether or not it needs to be sharpened, really.

*The streaming content of Netflix is highly addictive, and cheaper than purchasing tons and tons of DVDs. It just seems that new and advanced ways to waste time manage to find me.

*As of Monday, I struck the gong and declared my Quest complete. I was quite pleased to have done so a full 10 days before it was actually due, even though I can't take full credit for that. I was even more fortunate that my Sponsor was passing through the area on Thursday and was able to stop by and check out the finished product. I have managed to swap a day of work with someone in order to be able to attend the big Red Palms holiday gathering so it can be presented to a larger audience. After that it all rests in the cloven hooves of the Goat as to what my fate in the FOM will be.

*Big city crime has reared it's ugly head once again in DeKalb.

*I always buy too many limes. What it is that I think I'm going to do with them, I have no idea, but I usually do have a ton of them around.

*Had to dig around in my car to make sure that I had a scraper so I could clear off my windows after work tonight. That's something I really didn't miss doing over the past week or so. Scraping, that is. Not that I have some great affection for digging around in my car, but given a choice, that would be the activity I would choose. The digging, that is.

*I had a to-do list of things I wanted to get done while I was on vacation. I lost it. Have absolutely no idea where it went. Makes me wonder if 'loose this list' was on the list somewhere. Not that I can't figure out what needs to be done eventually, but vacation's over as of today, so it's time to make a new list, I guess. I know I need to do all the screens and windows. And check the gutters. I'm pretty sure the dogs were supposed to have a bath a month or so ago. Wheeeee. I think the mysterious disappearance of the list is starting to make some sense.

*The number of for sale, empty, and foreclosed houses in the subdivision around us continues to increase.

*The H'ween gathering was a blast. The process of getting things ready before and then taking things apart after is something I can live without, though. If I could just manage to have the party part without the rest, that would be fine with me. But, it was great that Steve managed to make it up for this one, even if he had to jet out fairly early the next day. Not a single one of the Easties managed to make the trek over, which did nothing to change my opinion of them. Also had quite a few other no shows, but we managed to keep ourselves pretty damn well entertained. Still can't really explain why there was glitter all over the place the next day. The empty cans and bottles? Those were a lot easier to explain.

*Even though the trees in back have only lost about 1/4 of their leaves, I don't think I can put off raking for too much longer. Unless I just plan on prying the leaves up in big frozen slabs.

*Even though I was offered a freshly cut down maple tree, I just don't have the room to store more stock wood. That means I've been gathering raw materials for too long and not doing enough in the area of production. It's also fairly obvious if you take a peek in my garage and see how much crap I have piled up in there. Not that now is a good time to be looking in my garage, since my current effort is focused on getting things cleaned up so Sheri can get her car in for the winter. Thus far, it just looks like a landfill exploded in there, and not much else. I am not greatly encouraged by this turn of events. And I haven't even begun to try and move anything to the indoor studio yet. Maybe setting yet another massive pile of stuff out for the garbage man would be a good way to start.

*Why in the world would I even be thinking about buying new game software when I have so many games that I already own that I've never finished?