Friday, July 27, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Tyson is home, and we have been working like mad to get things done around the house: flooring in the computer room, resolving some tech issues, coordinating various repairs to the van and motorcycle, replacing sucky furniture, and getting ready for Nick to come out in two weeks (!). There's also the matter of school-planning hanging over both our heads, as well as getting last-minute vacations squeezed in somewhere.
All said and done, I have had a lot less time to sit and stare at the computer screen this week.
Which should, in theory, give me more to blog about, but unless you want to hear about how much easier it was to pry the relatively newer tack strip from the floor in the computer room than it was the old crumbly stuff from the bedrooms, it's pretty mundane.
In case you were wondering, though, here is a brief overview of the week so far:
- ordered 7 cases of laminate flooring to be picked up in San Diego next week
- walked dogs every morning
- got up at about 7 every day
- got halfway through the first season of Heroes
- ordered a 50-foot S video cable
- bought a 3-piece recliner sectional from Ashley
- tried out Sleep Number beds
- brought order to thousands of coiled-up cables in computer room
- made quiche, chicken-fried steak, and beef Stroganoff
- paid bills
- went to the gym
- kept on top of kitchen cleaning
- did some laundry
See? None of that is very conducive to interesting blogging, even if it is one of my most productive weeks in some time. It's like some kind of Buddhist koan--how is it that a productive outer life begets a dull inner one, and vice-versa?
I'll leave you to think on that one.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
After more than 9 hours of reading, I have to admit that I'm a bit disappointed. I don't feel like the novel was consistent with the previous installments, and I don't think I like some of the character development that went on.
And that last chapter, well, it was obviously written by her toddler.
Yes, I am satisfied, as always, when such a story arc finally comes to rest. And I don't really agree with much of the criticism I've seen: "too dark," "too many people die," "foul language" (It says damn, like, four times. These have got to be the most polite 17-year-olds on earth.), "sex" (oh, puh-leez), "the devil's work," etc. But I do think there was a certain element of craftsmanship that was lacking.
Of course, I may just be grumpy from almost 10 hours of lying on my couch.
Friday, July 20, 2007
I wonder if they'll find his head up there?
All joking aside, what I really wonder is whether Cheney will give up his duty as acting president at the end of that time. Or if he'll declare war on Iran as soon as he signs the paperwork.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Today I cleaned the living room, organized the various audio and video components, moved some furniture, and bought a nice lamp that actually matches things (not that your purple-and-red lava lamp wasn't neat, honey, it just didn't go), and now I am still bored. What I really want is a magic wand to move the computer desk, tear up the carpet, pry up the tack strip, use the angle grinder to get rid of the floor nails, vacuum up all the dirt, and teleport the 6 boxes of laminate flooring I need here from San Diego. (They could have done it in that Harry Potter movie I saw last week.) Then I could spend tomorrow playing with my table saw and putting down floors, which is actually pretty fun. Then I wouldn't be so bored.
Ugh. It is a good time I think for a nap.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
In a cheap ploy to drum up even more hype about the upcoming movie, you can now make a yellow cartoon version of yourself, just in case you're one of those people who doesn't photograph well.
If you make one you like, but don't have a website to put it on, just mail it to me and I can put it up here.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Over at Blue Pyramid, there are several quizzes to take that yield the weirdest, least accurate results I have ever seen, and I have taken my share of what-animal-would-you-be quizzes.
I'm New Mexico. What the fuck? It's obvious that I'm way more Montana than New Mexico. I'm probably more Utah, even.
You're New Mexico!
A fan of spelunking and cliff-dwelling, you're the adventurous,
enchanting type. It seems like you can never avoid the sun, but that's what built your
house in the first place so you'll manage. You probably speak Spanish, and maybe even a
long-lost language in addition. And after much careful consideration, you now sometimes
agree that drive-through liquor stores are not the safest idea. Even though people think
of you as yellow, your favorite question is "red or green?"
Take the State Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
While I am flattered by being likened to a tiger, it barely counts, since it's for all the wrong reasons.
You're a Tiger!
You've really earned your stripes. People like to sing about your
eyes, which some find to be thrilling. You're rather fond of Detroit, as well as
half the universities and high schools all across America. When people want to calm
you down a bit, they use the word "easy". Overall, you're grrrrreat!
Take the Animal Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
This just plain doesn't make any sense at all. If I were a goat?!
Every time you get a headache, you reach for some aspirin, only to
realize that someone destroyed it. That's just how things are going for you right
now... it's hard to eat, hard to sleep, hard to not have a headache. You try to
relax, but people always jump on you about something that doesn't make sense. If
you were a goat, you'd be a Nubian.
Take the Country Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid
This is obviously total crap. I can tell you without even taking a quiz that I would be a fantasy novel: long-winded, fanciful, and a little too nerdy to be seen with in many public places. But definitely more enjoyable the smarter and dorkier you are.
You're The Guns of August!
by Barbara Tuchman
Though you're interested in war, what you really want to know is what
causes war. You're out to expose imperialism, militarism, and nationalism for what they
really are. Nevertheless, you're always living in the past and have a hard time dealing
with what's going on today. You're also far more focused on Europe than anywhere else in
the world. A fitting motto for you might be "Guns do kill, but so can
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
I have to admit, I've never really tried to imagine what it would be like to be a podcast. I could maybe get on board with my own cult, though.
You're Anime Pulse!
While you run in a pretty fast crowd, everyone agrees that you
are more animated than those around you. Everything about you indicates the
patterns of a cult, but you prefer to focus on the loyalty and popularity that
a cult indicates, rather than the scary stuff. You really like sunrises. While
it seems little is in your way, you are prone to concentrating on a
I can't even begin to explain this one:
You're Davidson College!
You love your mama, Jesus, and America too. But rather than
finding yourself in free-fall, you've been on the rise lately, as people
have flocked to see you. Of all the wars that have been fought, you felt
the Revolutionary War was most justified. Cherish is a word you use to
describe all the feelings you have deep inside. If you were a book, it
would be Charlotte's Web.
Take the University Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
You know, I should totally be writing these things. I could do so much better. I understand that they are all completely made-up, but seriously...if I were a goat? I'm a tiger, so I like Detroit? Ugh. If somebody wanted to, say, write me some code and send me the template, I would totally make up some quizzes for you. They would be way better than this stuff.
Friday, July 13, 2007
I left for California at about 8:30, just as the sun was going down, and made it all the way to the White Mountains without stopping, where I slept by the turnoff for Schulman Grove. Check out the view of the Sierras from up here!
I got into Bishop, got a mocha from Looney Bean (which I promptly splashed onto my white sweatpants), and headed up the road a ways to Rock Creek Lake and the Little Lakes Valley.
This is the third time I've done this hike, and it is still just about the prettiest place I have ever been. I actually hiked the whole way to Chickenfoot Lake, about 3/4 mile farther than Long Lake, seen here, where I had never been before.
I got back into Bishop and returned to the Looney Bean, where I chatted with Tyson for a while before taking the kayak up to Lake Sabrina.
The weather was clear, and the lake was so pretty. The last time we were here, the dam had just been rebuilt, and the water was still very low, but now it was full and gorgeous--even prettier than South Lake. Unfortunately, my camera was acting cranky, and I was unable to take pictures that day.
I slept in the car at the pack station about a mile from the trailhead to Paiute Pass, fully intending to make the 5.5-mile trek in the morning, but totally punked out. It was just too cold to crawl out from under my blanket until about 9:30! Imagine that! Too cold to get out of bed! It was delicious.
On Monday, instead of hiking the pass, I was feeling lazy, and I couldn't really settle on anything to do. I went up to Mammoth and drove around in the mountains, thinking about reading a book by one of the lakes, but (this is mildly embarrassing) I couldn't find them. I'd remembered driving right by about 6 little lakes the last time I was out this direction, but didn't have any real luck just stumbling across them, and I didn't feel like the concentrated effort finding out how to get there would take.
Instead, I ate a fresh churro from Schat's and found a coffee shop with wi-fi and chatted with Tyson for a while. Then I drove aimlessly back to Bishop, got myself a motel room, and lived like a hedonist for the rest of the afternoon, taking a hot shower and watching Lifetime in the air-conditioning. For dinner, I ate at this place called the Petite Pantry where I had the best chile verde and apricot pie ever.
On Tuesday, I went back up to Sabrina, where I actually got some pics; there was a front coming in and it was overcast. There are some really nice beaches around the lake, and if it had been warmer out, the water would have been perfect for swimming.
Finally, I started back towards home, but this time I drove the 20 extra miles down to the Schulman Grove and the Bristlecone Forest. There, a 4.3-mile hike takes you down the ridge and into a valley where there are trees that were old when the Roman Empire was young. Methusulah, the oldest, is more than 4300 years old. Pieces of dead wood more than 8600 years old have been found there. (Interestingly enough, it is this 8600-year tree record that helped scientists make necessary adjustments to carbon-14 dating, allowing them to be much more accurate. In case you were wondering.)
One day, I will get a giant tattoo of a bristlecone pine covering my whole back, that's how much I like these trees. So you can get an inkling of my intense disappointment, anger, and frustration when my camera stubbornly decided it wasn't taking pictures anymore. I came very close to chucking the damn thing off the side of the mountain until I remembered I'd just have to go and get it if I wanted to take it back.
After the hike, I drove home. It was unexciting, except for a quick stop in Beatty for peanut-butter-cookie ice cream and dried mango slices.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Ah, kids. Payback for all the stuff you put your parents through.
Okay, it's not like I didn't have internet access regularly during my trip. Ask Tyson; we've been IMing every day. But that new camera I bought is getting more contrary by the day. On Sunday, it decided it was going to keep all the pictures for itself, and not share any with my computer. Monday, it decided to consume batteries at the rate of 4 per day, and still have the nerve to display "battery low", and with an aggravatingly passive-aggressive-sounding beep, shut down. Then yesterday, in the very presence of the oldest f*cking trees on the planet, it decided it didn't take pictures anymore, either, and started shutting down every time I pressed the button to get a shot.
Most everything else went fine, and as soon as I liberate my pics from the memory card, I will tell you all about them. But we're talking about Tyson Luck today.
So I got home last night just after dark, only to find an orange door tag from the water company. I'll get to the details of that later, but there were a few other unpleasant discoveries when I arrived home: my dog had had a bout of explosive diarrhea inside the house, and whatever was in the trash can stank to high heaven (turns out it was bunny litter and raw chicken--eew!)
I thought briefly about going to the gym to take a shower, but it frankly seemed like too much effort, and the one time I tried taking a shower there, it was shockingly cold. They have those faucets that you have to turn from off to cold to hot, and there's nowhere to step out of the way of the water while it warms up. And also, I didn't feel like being naked and dirty in a public place, and then having to go home and sleep on dirty sheets that I couldn't wash until the water got turned back on anyway.
I went to bed, and about 3:00, the Diarrhea Dog started whining, just a little, about every 8 minutes, until I let him out. Fifteen minutes later, one of the cats cornered a mouse in the bathroom and was yowling at me to come check him out. As I walked into the hallway, he chased the mouse right over my bare foot and into the bedroom. We tried to catch him, but the cat couldn't understand that he and I needed to be on opposite sides of the crack in the door, so the mouse got away.
At 4:30, about the time I was good and asleep again, the dogs wanted in. Insistently. As though there was some dog-monster chasing them. When I went to let them in, though, they were all wagging tails and dumb "let's go play" smiles.
At 4:50, I had to chase my gray cat all over the house because she wouldn't stop clawing at the side of my bed. Shortly after that, the Mouse-Chaser decided to groom my hair and claw all over my sunburned shoulders. (Not very sunburned! Don't worry!)
I finally, finally was getting some good sleep when the alarm went off at 7:25, reminding me to call the water people first thing, so hopefully they would turn my water back on first. The door tag last night said a $75 check had been returned, but when I checked my bank balance online, there hadn't been a time where I had less than than in my account, so I had no idea why the check had bounced. When I called this morning, all the information they could give me was that it was returned because the account it was written on had been closed.
Shit, I thought, and ran through a mental inventory of all the other checks that might possibly be out there somewhere, chiefly the rent check that our landlord (and Tyson's boss!) keeps in his wallet for weeks, then cashes on a whim.
I tried calling the bank, but kept getting a busy signal. Then I realized that if it was anybody's fault, it was the bank's, and I'd better just pay and have my water turned back on. There was a $25 returned check fee, plus a $20 service reinstatement fee, and the woman on the phone was all like, "if you can't afford it today, I can put the twenty-dollar charge on your next bill" in this sweet, patronizing voice. Ugh, I wanted to scream, but instead was almost in tears from the overpowering sense of victimization I felt, and managed to hold my voice steady while I read off my account number to her.
I finally got through to someone at the bank, but, as she could only access my account history for the last 10 transactions, she was no help at all. She took down the information, and my phone number, and said someone would call me back. What I really hope is that, when they call, I can muster up the spine to tell them they need to pay the $45 it cost me to have my water turned back on, rather than my normal pattern of just saying "thank you," as though, by bouncing my check they had done me a favor.
Anyway, all this is compounded by the fact that I am sticky with dirt and leftover sweat, I have no clean clothes or sheets, a poop-smeared dog kennel, but no water in the hose to clean it with, which means scrubbing later today, no more bonus toilet flushes, even though my stomach is starting to gurgle, and a houseful of pets who are snoozing peacefully, saving their energy for another bout of restlessness early tomorrow morning.
I wonder how long it would take to pack up my car again and get out of town?
Friday, July 06, 2007
When I got into my car yesterday at about 5 in the evening, my car said it was 122 degrees. I thought it was exaggerating until I drove by the bank down the street. Nope. It was 122 degrees outside. (Even though the "official" temperature topped out at 116.)
Which makes me indescribably happy to be leaving tomorrow for the southern Sierra. I'm putting the kayak on top, throwing a mattress in the back, and getting the heck out of Dodge. My plans are to do three or four hikes, ranging in length from 4 to 11 miles, and checking out the world's oldest tree, some glacial lakes, and the view from the top of the Sierra range. I will also be visiting the home of the Best Mochas Ever (Looney Bean in Bishop), and going on the prowl for marmots and pikas before warming trends in the West reduce and gradually eliminate their habitats. (Not just because they are cute and fun to watch.)
Anyways, I do promise to be careful, and in a way I am, by letting all of you know where I will be before I go. If I don't check in here before, say, the fifteenth, tell the search-and-rescue people I'm somewhere on the east slope of the Sierras. That should help some.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Example: Yesterday I wanted to go kayaking at Nelson's Landing, about 40 miles south of here, sort of on the way to Laughlin. It felt too hot to even think about leaving the house until about 7 p.m., when I finally grabbed my keys and ran out the door. I made it as far as the dry lake bed on the 95 before I realized the sun had already slipped behind the mountains and there was no way I was going to make it to the water in time.
Today I learned my lesson on that point, at least. I left a little after 5, and everything was looking OK. Until I hit the turnoff to Nelson and realized my fuel light had come on.
Whatever, I thought, as I forged on ahead. I should be fine. I can almost drive across town and back with the fuel light on (one of the benefits of a nearly-30-mile commute is feeling comfortable with the needle below the bottom of the gauge!), and I was feeling heady and a little reckless and didn't want to turn back a second day in a row.
I drove all the way down, and the beach was the most crowded I have ever seen it. I managed to find a parking spot more than a quarter-mile from the water, but I just couldn't get up the desire to take the boat down and hump it all the way through all the gravel, just to paddle around in the middle of some family's barbecue. Seriously, people practically stand in ankle-deep water and grill burgers and shit there. It's actually not very pleasant or relaxing at all.
Besides, I couldn't quite relax because, in the back of my mind, I knew I didn't have enough gas to get back home.
I made it to the town of Nelson, where approximately 7 people live, and there was not a gas station or anything, naturally, so I pulled up next to a guy in a truck and did my best cute-pink-haired-girl-with-car-problem routine. The guy, whose name was Roland, his dad, Ron, and his uncle, Mark, dug through a shed, a garage, and the entire property, and came up with about a quart of diesel. They sent me down to the mine down the road to see if they had any gas, but no one was there.
When I got back up to town, they tried to siphon gas from a truck, had no luck, then tried siphoning it off the carburetor. I had no idea you could even do that, and apparently it didn't really work all that well, because about the time they got enough to slosh around in the bottom of the gas can, the truck's battery went dead.
At about this time, a man, a woman, and their son pulled up with a busted tire, also looking for help. Not having a spare, there was really nothing to do for them but call a tow company to come get them.
Finally, Mark called someone he knew down the street and found about 3 gallons of gas to put in my car. We sat around on the porch for about 5 more minutes, watching the little cottontails under the manzanitas, sharing breakdown stories, then I left. All the cash I had on me was a single, lonely dollar bill, so they made me promise to "pay it forward" and maybe come out for a visit next time.
Then I went to my friend Bill's house and blew up dry ice bombs to celebrate.
So, anybody who needs a favor, it's my turn.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Click here. He'll explain everything so I don't have to. Choose the number of words you want (I did all 100, and it took about 40 minutes). Then, if you like, you can post your results on your own blog. Don't forget to come in here first to let us know how you did.
My own results are here, but do yours first because there are definitions on the chart, and you're not allowed to cheat!
Monday, July 02, 2007
Sunday, July 01, 2007
- I ate sushi.
It was of especial delight because a) I didn't have to share my Sue roll (tuna, shiitake, cucumber, and avocado--yum!), and b) there is probably no sushi in Versoix, so Tyson can be jealous of my doings, for once.
- I talked to strangers in a public place.
People who know me (and my antisocial proclivities) will know that, for me, this is cool. I talked to the sushi guy (he says "Hi," Tyson), and to the guy at the bar next to me. This was, in fact, way better than Tuesday night, in which I got all dressed up to meet a friend at an actual bar, and did not talk to people or have a good time.
- I got a new book, and read it.
It's called Into the Wild, and there's actually a movie coming out about it.
- I visited my old Starbucks.
Where everything is different. It's been remodeled, it's staffed by tattoo-showing people (that was not OK when I worked there; I always had to wear a watch), and they closed at 10. (I spent four years of Friday and Saturday nights there making frappuccinos until midnight.)
- I read Dinosaur Comics.
I am working my way through the archives. Today I got to May 2005.
- I replaced broken parts on my roof rack.
Soundly, and all by myself. That is the second car-thing I have fixed on my own this past week, and it was cool.
Tomorrow I am practicing my kayak tie-down skills by taking a sunset/moonlight paddle at Willow Beach. I will probably also do dishes, and vacuum.