Thursday, April 30, 2009

Vacation Captain's Log: Holy Crap That's Joe Biden Edition

Smithsonian Natural History Museum: Forget Swine Flu. There's apparently a child pandemic in this country, and all of the cases were bused to the Natural History Museum today. Lots to see, but must be seen through a visible haze of noise.

Jenny: Egyptian Mao! A real kitty-cat mummy from Egypt!

Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian: yes, you may have crispy frog legs here.

Smithsonian Portrait Gallery: Feet hurt, but exhibits are Nationally Awesome. Look! It's Lincoln!

Dean: The Shepard Fairey is way more impressive in person. Maybe four feet by six feet, and very three-dimensional, with lots of use of found colors using collage papers.

And then The Old Ebbitts Grill for dinner: Good food and ZOMG BIDEN! Joe Biden ten yards away at the back bar! Surrounded by toadies! Whoa. This is really DC.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Vacation Captain's Log: Kitsch Alert

The weather cleared up this afternoon, so we did a little hiking then set out for one of Colorado Springs' premier tourist traps, Seven Falls. Nine dollars apiece to get in and one long waterfall, broken down into seven distinct portions for your viewing pleasure. We did take advantage of the stairs built into the steep canyon wall to see the top of the falls and some other stairs that offer a vantage point of the whole shebang. Pictures of those areas to follow, but the following are much more important:  our favorite gift shop kitsch items.

Although there were plenty of other worthy items, including a moose snow globe and some pajamas that said "Text Moose-aging" on them (as far as I know, there are no moose in this area), I chose a pair of pink fuzzy slippers in the shape of cowboy boots.

Drew choose a sort of fuzzy stuffed eagle, appropriate for classing up any hearth. 

If these alerts have caused anyone to need such items at a pharmacological intensity, we are willing to return tomorrow morning to Seven Falls (admission $9 per shopper) and purchase them from the (conveniently placed so that you must pass through it to get to the falls) Gift Shop. You have until tomorrow at eight a.m. Mountain Time to request your purchase. Price of the item will include admission.

Vacation Captain's Log: Day Three

It is always important to go to the zoo in the city you are visiting, especially when you hear that they let you feed the giraffes.

There's Jenny, Dean and the piglet, communing with a lovely lady with a healthy appetite.

Place cracker here:

The weather has not improved much, but that just keeps away those of a lesser constitution. We pretty much had the zoo to ourselves.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Vacation Captain's Log: Day Two

The following words were utilized on this day:

  • Pepper jack cheese omelette and iffy fruit cup;
  • Bella The Staring Cat;
  • Cornish Rex;
  • Egyptian Mao;
  • Hairy-chinned Cat Lady;
  • Bella The Constantly Startled Cat;
  • Mountain Lion Diets;
  • Dead Bears;
  • Colorado Mining Exchange;
  • Pie Hole;
  • 12 1/2 minute parking;
  • Tacos;
  • C-c-c-c-cold;
  • Firefighter's Memorial;
  • Coffee;
  • Dirty Hippies;
  • Wine;
  • Beer;
  • Delicious Salad and Pasta;
  • Bella The Demon;
  • Slumdog;
  • Poop!;
  • Mill'onaire!;
  • Doomed;
  • Bella The Screen Curtain;
  • Zombies;
  • Brownies;
  • Dancing Zombies;
  • Dead and Breakfast; and
  • Bed.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Vacation Captain's Log: Day One

Lounging in the Water Lily Room of the Crescent Lily Bed & Breakfast in Colorado Springs, NOT lighting candles, NOT smoking, NOT placing anything near the gas fireplace, NOT starting the tub jets before the water is at least two inches over them, and remembering to LOCK the door when we leave the building. I would relax but I'm afraid that's out of the question. What if I light a candle in my sleep? Do I smell smoke?

Okay, it's quite lovely. But watch your step.

The flight is best quickly forgotten. I think the airlines have moved the seats closer together again. Moo.

Dean and Jenny look healthy and happy. We stopped by both their places of work this afternoon before retiring to our Water Lily Room to catch a nap before some getting-together fun tonight.

Catch you later.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Craig Ferguson Does Fatboy Slim

Oh, oh, oh. Why is the best TV on after bedtime? Just so Comcast can make us pay extra for their DVR? That's what I thought.

Vacation Captain's Log: Day Minus Four

You may think it's a little early, but I am already willing the plane to stay up in the air for our flight on Saturday. Yes, shockingly, I also have a little fear issue with flying. But it doesn't stop me, because I also have a frontal cortex, so I can comprehend the concept of fixed-wing travel. Just have a little problem with the drop from that elevation. It can kill you, you know.

To Colorado Springs on Saturday to visit the Cutest Couple on the Planet, then to DC on the 29th to visit the new digs of the Second Cutest Couple on the Planet.

Think uplifting thoughts. And I'll try not to lose too much sleep trying to remember to pack the phone and MacBook chargers.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Not Worth It

And the flip side, now that The Damn Guvment went and took all yer dough on tax day, here are some ways to save:

  • First-run movies. After $40 of tickets and treats, something tall will sit directly in front of you and someone dickish will sit behind you and talk to his buddy about baseball. And if you can avoid the dick, you will get the old couple, one of which will narrate the story to the one who either can't hear or can't comprehend. Then, twenty minutes in, after drinking your $4 soda, you will have to go to the bathroom. You will hold it for 20 more minutes, but then realizing you have lost the plot because you are just trying new seat positions in a vain attempt to stop the urgency pain, you surrender and squeeze past a line of annoyed knees to use the restroom and come back to realize that you have missed a substantial part of the movie and you will have to Netflix it anyway.
  • Really expensive wines. Some cheap wines are awful. Some cheap wines are delish. Some expensive wines are awful. Some expensive wines are really good. But you're still out $30 grocery store money or $80 restaurant money. Find a good cheap wine.
  • Gym memberships. For 90% of us, we don't need or use the free weights or rubberized mats. Take a month's dues and buy a pair of running or walking shoes and a windbreaker, and go outside. Get yourself some dumbbells or home gym and use them once a month when you overeat, and you've got as much out of them as you did out of your old gym membership. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear you. Buy a bike. Whatevs.)
What am I forgetting, Fellow Patriots?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Your 70's Song of the Month

Wow. Dean, I swear, this is still a good song, even if it was made in 1975. Breathe it in.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Worth It

Now for some useless stuff:

Things that are worth paying more for:

  • Soft, fluffy toilet paper. Don't deny yourself by buying that cheap Costco stuff any longer. Paper companies have made great strides in producing toilet paper that makes you feel like you are wiping your po-po with a cloud. This means happiness six times a day, on average. WORTH IT.
  • Cap'n Yoby's halibut fish and chips in Longview, Washington. Just try it. No. Shut up, get in your plane, train or automobile, and go get some.
  • Premium dog food, but only if you want less diarrhea, skin conditions and kidney failures. You are what you eat, but you get lots of chances during the day to get it right. Your dog eats only one thing. If you can afford it, go for the one with less corn husks and melamine.
  • For my peeps: Bicycles. I would explain this one, but I would get it all wrong. (It's something like you need to get titanium gear splangers, but make sure your squigsten shifter is carbon. Or something.) All I know is, spend less than a grand and if it doesn't get a crack in the stwingle-nut derailleur while packed in the back of your car, your friends will laugh at you behind your back as soon as you take it out for its inaugural ride.
  • Costco Bakery multi-grain bread. You know the kind that comes two to a paper bakery bag? It's really good. Sliced sort of thickly and toasted with a soft-boiled egg in the morning? Perfect breakfast.
  • Pizza. Expensive restaurant pizza is way better than inexpensive restaurant pizza. Expensive take-out pizza is better than cheap take-out pizza. And cheap take-out pizza is way better than frozen pizza.
  • Chocolate. I shouldn't have to explain this.
What am I forgetting?

Rant of the Week: Getting Irrational

I was going to put the following thought away and instead make a cute list of things that are worth paying extra for (like soft puffy toilet paper), but it just spewed out onto my keyboard, so I guess you are going to get it now.

(Note that I am now typing around my cat again.  She seems to enjoy the action of the keyboard. Makes her purr.)

So I was listening to a podcast yesterday - maybe it was the Slate gabfest - in which they mentioned the new white house economic team, many of whom are "behavioral economists" who attempt to develop economic models based on how consumers have behaved in the past in reaction to certain economic situations, as opposed to the last batch of white house economists, those of the trickle-down school, who had built their models based on what they thought rational consumers should do given certain situations and opportunities.

The problem with these popular "rational choice" theories is that people are idiots and assholes.  They do not do what is best for them, and especially do not do what is in their long-term interest. The downfall of this theory is the downfall of the current economy. People acted like idiots and assholes, and the rational theory economists are still shaking their heads in disbelief.

It seems to me that the pitfalls of those economic models have eerie parallels to conservative social and political models based on the same irrational idea that humans are rational beings.

It would sure be great if the U.S. were filled to the brim with wholesome citizens who have all been brought up in two-parent, church-going families with good jobs and employer-provided health care and healthy snacks. A land where insanity, cyclic abuse, addictive drugs, and chronic sickness do not exist, where genial Andy Griffith-types catch all the crooks, and a justice system full of Perry Masons puts away the bad guys who are then sent to a prison system that bottles up evil like Liquid Ajax (Cleans like a white tornado!).

In a country such as this, who would need all those "social programs" designed to fix the broken and prop up the unsteady? Who would need to monitor benevolent volcanoes, all who have long since slipped into a skier-induced slumber, never to spew sulfurous death again? Who would need to find a place for the elderly who lose their home as a result of illness or fraud? Besides, all the grannies would have loving families to take them in, right? And families living on the street? No such thing! In this country, they all have good jobs and nice houses, and magically delicious breakfast cereal.

In a country such as this, there would be no need for preschool programs for kids of poor, neglectful parents because there would be no such neglectful parents. Neglectful parents! Why, the thought is completely irrational!

Unfortunately, in addition to being cheerful, kind, thoughtful, brilliant, and industrious, Americans are complicated, wounded, stupid, lustful, sick and selfish.  And you have to come to the conclusion that you can't create a perfect world by pretending that the world is already perfect. 

It's important to educate children so they can get a job and learn the basics of being a responsible adult. It's important to give everyone the resources to fix their bodies when they are broken, and to fix their brains when they are broken, too. And it's important to provide a place for abused children to feel safe and learn to break that cycle of abuse. Or those broken, abused, and addicted people will end up on the street. Or in those prisons. And those prisons will turn into cesspools, spilling their eviled-up parolees back onto the street. 

And those broken people will be unqualified for any job. Other than politics.

Thus ends my political rant for this quarter. And it wasn't even a very good one.


Sunday, April 05, 2009

What You Would Have Wanted to Ask About My Sunday Activities

Q:  Did you really dig out a 25-year-old rhododendron today?

A: Yes. Yes, I did.

Q:  How long did it take you?

A:  I'm not sure. Between the hours of 12:30 and 5:30, I dug out a dead eucalyptus, dug out the rhododendron, and replanted it where the eucalyptus was.

Q:  What did it take?

A:  A rake, a pick axe, a shovel, a water bottle, an iPod, and some gloves.

Q:  Did you swing the pick axe?

A:  I swang the pick axe. (Swang is the feminine past tense of the verb swing. It's different from the male past tense because it looks much, much different.

Q:  Wouldn't it have been easier to ask Drew to do it?

A:  It would have been easier, faster, and would have been completed next September after a summer of nagging.  And the plants that I had already purchased to replace the rhodie would have been long dead.

Q:  Shouldn't he have at least given you a hand?

A:  If he were here, he would have ambled out when he heard all the commotion and finished the job in ten minutes or so, but he is out of town this weekend, and once back in town, will have to go right to work. By the time he and I have time off together again, those plants would have been goners. (They are not potted - they came in a plastic bag filled with a little peat moss. They needed to get in the ground.)

Q:  Did your face turn that red color that it used to turn when you were first took up running?

A:  Yes.

Q:  What color is that?

A:  I would say a blend of hot pink and purple. Hot purple.

Q:  What were the neighbors across the street doing while you worked?

A:  They assembled weave poles for their Sheltie puppy, who they must have put in agility training to deal with its ridiculous amount of nervous energy (of which I could have warned them, having met a few Shelties).

Q:  Once you worked around the old rhodie with a pick axe and the shovel, did it just come right up?

A:  No, it did not.  It did not move when I initially tried to move it.

Q:  What did you do?

A:  I took a break, and then I worked harder.

Q:  How big was the rhodie?

A:  Since we had trimmed it down last fall, it wasn't more than three or four feet tall, but the main trunk was probably a foot in diameter.  It was too heavy for me to pick up, but once I had freed it from the ground, I filled the hole underneath it to raise it up to ground level and then rolled it into a wheelbarrow.

Q:  Did you roar once you got it into the wheelbarrow?

A:  Yes. Yes, I roared. 

Q:  Was that moment awesome in your eyes?

A:  It was awesome.  It was awesome to all who witnessed.