Friday, November 28, 2008

An ad you won't see in America

I expect you'll either find this beer ad really offensive or really funny. Or you might find it so over the top offensive that it's almost comical.

I'm not easily offended myself, so I have to say I found it just kind of lame. Probably will sell a lot of beer to guys though.

Whether you are offended or not by this beer ad, Alcohol Rehab Centers offer effective treatment for people with alcohol issues.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm a little groggy today having inadvertently spent half the morning sleeping. Usually the sun coming through the window or the kids hollering outside would have woken me up on a holiday but here the bedroom is dark and the neighborhood as quiet as a national forest in winter. My mind is still clinging to vague dreams that I can't quite remember but still feel haunting the far corners of my consicousness.

I'll be having dinner with the family so I'm thankful for that and I'm thankful for my new PJs. They are indeed cozy and warm. I'm thankful for this gig, to feel like I'm doing useful if only for a week. By the end of it I should be back in better shape again.

Hoo boy am I feeling muscles I forgot I had today. I didn't have time to change into my sneakers yesterday so walking a mile and a half in clogs has taken its toll. I'm practically hobbling. I'm thankful the weather is going to break and it's going to be warm today and tomorrow. It will help.

And of course, I'm thankful for you dear readers, who bear with me through my morose whining and inattention to this place and celebrate the good moments with me as well. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with good food, great company and your favorite football teams all win.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The wild life

I started my dogsitting gig today. Man did it take me forever to get ready this morning. Back when I used to travel a lot I had packing down to a science. I could be ready to go on an hour's notice. I guess I'm out of practice because it took about four and I was just going about a half hour drive from my house. Not to mention I ended up bringing tons more stuff than I do to travel around the world. Of course, this wasn't exactly like taking a trip to the tropics.

For one thing, it's been really cold here for a couple of weeks and I suddenly realized I needed to bring warm clothes to walk the dog so I had to dig out my hat and gloves and my long johns. I had to do laundry this morning too. I don't expect anyone to visit me here of course but the owner's brother may show up so I decided to run out and buy new pajamas last night. By the time I got back it was too cold and dark to trot over to the laundry room.

I scored some great PJs though so it was worth it. Soft fleecy top and pants with a cloud and stars print. Very funky and I think they're going to be really warm. Good thing because this place is on the chilly side. Nice house though and a great hood.

It's a closed development with a circle street and then dead end branches off the ends of the circle. Big lots and there's large tracts of undeveloped land that's all woods. I took the little guy for a walk this afternoon and saw lots of birds but the best part was towards the end. Just as we rounded the corner I saw a big deer peeking out of the woods. The pup didn't notice him at first and was rooting around in the dead leaves on the periphery so Papa deer and I just looked at each other for a long time.

He came out onto the pavement and for a moment I thought he might walk right up to us. But then the doggie finally noticed him and started running so the deer took off into the woods on the other side. A few seconds later the rest of the deer family bounded across after him. It was so cool, two grownups and three little ones. Nice start to the gig.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

For Whom the UPS truck stops

The UPS truck comes here just about every single day. I'm always hoping there will be a surprise package for me. There never is, but it is kind of fun to imagine there might be one. Kind of like scratching lottery tickets. You're pretty sure you won't win, but there's always a chance...

It's my Dad and "Mom" Helen's wedding anniversary today. If my math is right, I think it's been 38 years. You both mean the world to me and I hope you're having a wonderful celebration.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oh no!

I only have one pair of pajamas and I just tore a hole in the knee. Everybody knows you can't be a serious blogger unless you're in your pajamas. Worse yet one of my slippers just busted a seam and the sole is going to start flapping in the next few days.

Probably a blessing in disguise. I was just thinking this morning that I needed warmer lingerie anyway now that I'm keeping the house so much colder. I may knit some slippers if I can find my knitting needles. I have the urge to knit something and I have a really good pattern saved somewhere for felted elf slippers.

The pajamas will take some shopping though. I hate shopping this time of year. Maybe I can dig out my long johns until after Christmas. They'll be okay with my bathrobe and that's holding up just fine. Glad I saved them. [grahic via]

Friday, November 21, 2008

Instant addiction

You probably have seen this by now, but if you haven't and you value your free time, under no circumstances should you click this link to the live puppy cam. I took a quick peek myself and got out fast, before I could get hooked.

Happy Birthday to one of my favorite artists, Rene Magritte. I love the surrealists. [graphic credit]

Happy Birthday to one of my favorite artists, Rene Magritte.

Ready or not

I heard nothing about it last night so I was surprised to wake up this morning to -- yes -- some snow. Just a dusting, but enough to cover the cars and stick to the rooftops. It was pretty, the sparkly kind of white stuff and the trees were covered in glittering jewels of cold clinging water drops as the sun did its best to beat back the first signs of winter.

It's all gone now, save for the residual tiny ice crystals kept alive in the swirling gusts of arctic wind that kicked up since. They won't last long. [graphic]

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The sun is my lightbox

I'm in my annual state of Seasonal Affective Disorder. I don't do well when there's so much dark. Since I don't have a light box anymore and can't afford one, I try to sit out on the deck in the mornings and grab the rays before the sun moves out of range. It's a small window of time.

In the summer I get sun until about 11:00, when I don't need it. In the winter, when I do, it's gone by 9:00am. Still it helps even though it's been freezing here the last couple of days. It looks like it's going to stay unseasonably cold too. But it's hard to complain too much. Thirty degrees here, even with the wind chill factor isn't nearly as cold as thirty degrees up north with that arctic air blasting. Same arctic air, but it seems to lose it's freezing power by the time it gets all the way down here.

It may be my micro-climate is especially good here for some reason. I saw on the news that the big city to the south had snow flurries yesterday. There was nary a flake out here in the country. I was glad. I kind like snow this time of year but I'm not at all ready for it just yet.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cloudy, windy and warm

Crazy day here in the south. The winds aloft must be howling. The low clouds are moving so fast that it almost makes me seasick to watch them. The wind on the ground is pretty stiff too but it's a warm wind. Warm enough to have the windows open. That always make me feel better.

I wanted to get some short video this morning when the trailing edge of the thick clouds started rolling in. It was so beautiful. The top layer was bright blue sky with really white cumulus clouds standing still. The second layer was slightly less bright cumulus puffs moving right along. And then there was the low layer of wispy grey just ripping by at top speed, clawing at the treetops.

Unfortunately by the time I got the camera out, the low cloud cover had already closed in and it wasn't so interesting anymore. Maybe next time.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Well someone finally hired me for something. I got a gig yesterday to house/dog sit for six days at the end of the month. Nice neighborhood about 20 minutes from here. It's even more remote than this place but it's closer to the big city and the dog is really sweet. He's a 13 year old Jack Russell, the short kind so he's really tiny. We bonded instantly.

The couple are very nice people. It occurred to me on the way home I didn't even get their last name but they were thrilled to find me. They picked me out of 100 people who called. Hired me on a handshake on the spot. They don't even care about checking my references. That's the reaction I'm used to getting when I try to find work.

So it's not much of a job but it was good for my self-esteem and it's a start. Who knows, maybe it will turn into a business. The last time I started with one gig like this and half the neighborhood ending up wanting to hire me. I got so many offers I had to turn some down. One lives in hope...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

On the bright side

I don't know how many miles it is, but it's about a 35 minute drive to my dentist. Luckily my car is fuel efficient and it doesn't cost too much in gas to get there and gas is much cheaper in the big city. I paid $2.19 and the going rate around here is about $2.39. Usually it's a bigger difference, as much as 30 or 40 cents.

But what really pays for the trip is the day old bread store. They carry the same high fiber bread I was paying almost four bucks a loaf for at the grocery store really cheap. Last time I hit on the daily special and got 2 loaves of nearly fresh bread for a dollar. The deal wasn't so good yesterday but still I scored a couple of loaves, which was all I could fit in the freezer anyway, for $1.39. What I save in sandwich costs pays for the gas and then some. So there's that.

Waiting for the sun

Well, I'm in my annual meltdown over the time change. I've been falling asleep before 9:00, waking up at 3:00am, tossing and turning for hour or two and then waking up at 7:00am cranky and groggy. It feels like a long way to the solstice.

Meanwhile, I'm still getting the dental work done. I'm freaking out about going into debt for it but I'll never get any job without better teeth so I'm just trusting the universe to carry me through somehow at this point. At least I was able to score a new credit card with a 0% APR for a year to carry the balance. That helps.

It doesn't help that I've been set back a couple of times on the timeline. I got the crown done yesterday that will anchor the partial but for reasons too complicated to explain I ended up with the temporary cap for so long it irritated my gum so now I have to wait another two weeks before they can take the impression or else the plate won't fit.

It's always something. I just hope something really good is waiting at the end of this dark tunnel. I suppose if nothing else it will be good to be able to chew again. Not that I've been eating steaks or anything anyway but I figure it will improve my digestion and I'll be able to eat crunchy vegetables again. That will be an improvement.

Otherwise, I'm trying to look on the bright side. As I always said, nothing bad lasts forever and I'll really appreciate the change when my luck finally turns.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Somehow I've never been comfortable saying Happy Veteran's Day because it's really a sad occassion. But for all the veterans who died in our wars and their families who mourn their loss, thank you for your sacrifice. And for all those who lived through their tours and those currently on active duty, thank you for your service to our country.

Update: I'm late in adding this but since I haven't blogged all week anyway, this would seem to be the most appropriate place to point you to Survivor Corps, an organization that provides services to returning military service people. I googled them and there doesn't appear to be any complaints on the internets about them and a charity rating group gives them a 64% efficiency rating, which amounts to four stars. So any rich people reading this who need to off some money at the end of the year for tax purposes, might want to consider donating some to them. From what I can see they appear to do good work and certainly our soldiers deserve the help.

The autumn leaves...

The leaves went fast here this year. This is only shot I got before the rains came and took them all down. What's left is rust and dinghy yellow. But they were pretty for a week or two.

Meanwhile, for your viewing pleasure, here's a beautiful photo essay of Central Slovakia and Marcellina always has some gorgeous shots of Austria. If you've never been to her blog, scroll down through her archives.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

To my right wing friends

I was really upset by that ugly email exchange that happened a couple of weeks ago over the election. Not so much because we disagreed so strongly but because I've come to care about you all over the years and I was afraid it would ruin the warmth and good will we've built up outside of our political differences. Your anger scared me and hurt me a little bit too. I can't tell you how cheering it was to finally take a peek today and see at least some of you still stop by to check up on me.

I try to stay away from politics on this blog and keep it as refuge from that ugly world I blogged myself into somehow but I want to clear the air so I'm going to say this. I voted for Obama for a three main reasons. First, he is young and I think the next president is going to need the energy and the fresh outlook of youth. Second, because he had the least amount of time inside the DC Village and I figure he would owe the least chits to the power brokers. And third and most importantly, I thought he was the smartest one. I didn't give him a snowball's chance in hell when he first declared and yet he built his own political machine from scratch. A machine that rolled over the Clinton machine which is very strong and as we see now, rolled over the GOP machine which is even stronger. Over time he impressed me with his calm and collected and thoughtful approach to campaigning and I honestly thought, given the choices, that he was our best hope to repair the damage of the Bush years.

All that being said, and as happy as I am to have Obama as our new president, I feel just terrible knowing what those of you who supported McCain, or just hated Obama, must be feeling. Let me reprint what I posted at DetNews on the morning after:

Although I'm still a little giddy with relief, the euphoria is rapidly wearing off and I find my natural empathy is kicking in. I remember well what it felt like at this time four years ago. The overwhelming sense of doom that settled over my spirit as I contemplated what the loss of that election would mean for the next four years. I suspect you're feeling that way today and I honestly feel for you.

I don't know what kind of President Obama is going to be. I don't think anyone can predict what a man will do with the power of this office until he steps into it. But I promise you, it won't be as bad as you may think. I believe he will be a good leader, possibly a great one. Perhaps the greatest leader we've known in our lifetime. I wouldn't have worked so hard to elect him if I didn't believe that.

And I will predict this. I think he will be much more of a moderate than you now believe is possible. I fully expect that I will find more to criticize about his administration in the long run than you will. But for today, just know that even though I didn't support your candidate, I take no joy in your disappointment and hope that we can find some common ground in the days to come.

Mum's the word

I know I've neglected this blog for the millionth time in the last couple of years. I'm okay really. Just tired. Between the election, the time change and my continuing inability to find a freaking job I've been a little down and didn't want to inflict on you dear readers. But the sunlight will grow again, the election from hell is over at last and I figure the odds by now must be growing that someone, somewhere is going to want to hire me, so I'm looking forward to better days ahead.

Speaking of the time change, this will impress those of you who know me well. I changed every one of my clocks immediately on the first morning. Not sure why but I just was feeling more resigned than rebellious about it this year. Oddly, it made it a tiny bit easier to adjust. I guess it was the acceptance of the inevitable thing.

Meanwhile, on a much cheerier note, it's time for the annual Smith College Mum Show. As usual, they have a live webcam of the main entrance room for the voyeurs, like me, who like to tourist watch. They also have a page that has has some nice photos of past shows and I managed to find one Flickr gallery with a few nice shots of this year's show.

I know people think of mums as kind of a pedestrian flower but they put a lot of work into this show training the flowers to cascade and whatever and it is worth seeing if you live in the Happy Valley. I really miss that greenhouse myself.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Those incredible men in their flying machines

I'm told this is faked, but it's really well done and if it was real.... well, that would have been some amazing flying.

UPDATE: Thanks to Sam in the comment section, here's a real video of one wing flying that is just awesome. I would have been shitting my pants and ejecting. How they have the nerve to keep trying to fly the aircraft is beyond me.