Having grown up on a farm (and yet, because of the size of it, been spared the worst of the work), I found this post by a culinarily-inclined fellow blogger to be very interesting. It almost makes me want to get back to the land myself. Almost.


Weekend By Myself

I went camping this weekend near Nederland, CO. Though I went with friends, I ended up spending a lot of time by myself. On Saturday, they went to a music festival that I wasn't really interested in spending money to go to. I went hiking up Pawnee Pass trail, in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area. I had intended to go up Shoshoni Peak (12,996 elevation), but once I got up to the tree-line and the view shown here, it turned cold and windy and the rest of the trail was rocky and exposed. Considering that I need to take care of my knees and I had forgotten a windbreaker (though I had a sweater), I decided to turn around and go back at this point. Besides, I had done the most fun part (walking in the trees and next to lakes) and had nothing to prove, since I was by myself. Why not? I was glad I did, 'cause my feet were tired by the end. I did stop and dip my feet in a mountain waterfall. That was wonderful, sitting on a rock, eating an apple, and looking out at the gorgeous scenery.
Anyway, when I got back, I had a big headache from the sun (remedied with some ibuprofin and lots of water), read a book til I was bored stiff, went in search of a phone signal so I could talk to someone, came back unsuccessful, and started a fire to make dinner and keep me warm. Firemaking was super easy this time around. I had plenty of sticks for kindling, which was great, since I didn't have an axe to chop up the firewood. Dinner was nice -- grilled corn and a hobo dinner -- and then I returned to my book. The rest of my party came back well after dark, probably around 8 or 9.
I had wanted to spend some time by myself, but I should be careful what I wished for. I got way more than I expected and realized that I'm not quite the loner I was before The Squeeze.
On Sunday I hung out with my friends until they packed up and left, then went to a German American restaurant in Nederland (Aileen, you and Brian should check it out, though they didn't have spaetzel like the place in... was it Glenwood Springs?). As soon as I got phone signal, I called a friend (The Ex-Squeeze, actually) to see if he was free to do something together. He ended up not coming down from the mountains himself until late. So, I spent more time by myself, doing household chores and watching movies at the same time. It wasn't so bad though, since I had many more activities to choose from and the cats to sit on me and purr.


Invest in Insurance Companies

An acquaintance of mine was describing flooding that some of his relatives are experiencing in the Midwest. He mentioned they didn't have flood insurance, which made me think -- with all this crazy weather from global warming, insurance is going to the be the biggest issue of the coming decade. I know health insurance is hitting a crisis point, what with all aging the baby boomers, but I'm thinking home/flood/fire insurance is next. That'll increase the gap between the haves (have insurance) and the have-nots (can't afford insurance).

Great. Lovely world we're looking at.

It's looking like a good time to start investing in insurance and crisis management companies.


Writing as Spectator Sport

In the comments section for an article about reading aloud, someone linked to this transcript of a very funny Monty Python sketch doing a radio announcement of a writing event.
I love Monty Python.


Review: Becoming Jane

I saw Becoming Jane this morning with my sister. It was a very pleasant movie and I think I'll actually buy a copy. In June, I posted about my cautious anticipation of this movie. Occasionally, reactions were a bit too modern, but they did try very hard to emphasize the financial predicaments of the main characters. The story was sensitively done (I knew it was a tragedy all along) and included delightful allusions to Austen stories. The best thing, however, were the characters. There were few (if any) "bad" guys, much in keeping with Austen's own works, and even minor characters had some interesting moments that made them into more nuanced people than one would expect. AND those nuances weren't completely explained -- a rare event. The main actors did a very good job, but I wanted to know more about the secondary characters.
I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys Jane Austen, but don't expect historical fact.


Skinning the Building

Putting a skin ON the building, that is.
I just realized you guys haven't seen a picture of the project in a long while (since May, in fact). Here are a couple really good ones. This first one shows that we are starting to put the metal and glass exterior on the building. The metal panels are mostly brought in, already on framing, in two story modules. The photo below shows one being lifted into the air by the crane. The concrete structure is not complete yet. We poured the 19th level today. 13 more to go!

Small Changes

I updated the template for my blog. Blogger had a handy-dandy new way of personalizing your blog, but they had a very limited selection of layouts. I just looked today and they have the same template I had before, so I went ahead and changed it. I may be fiddling with it a little bit along the way, but this is pretty much how I like it. The only thing I'd like better would be to be able to change the top graphic. Hmmm. We'll see. The best addition here is the "labels" list on the side, allowing the reader to browse according to category, rather than chronologically.

Later: Well, I put in a new graphic, and experimented with making a whole header myself (including font), but the quality control was a little tough. I'm not entirely sold.


More Rockin'

I've now pretty much hit all the new experiences I needed to in order to feel fully confident on the motorcycle. Yesterday I drove up on my motorcycle to my sister and her husband's to help them move. I ultimately drove about 20 miles up to where they're moving to. On the the way up, I drove on some major streets, but not interstate highways. I got up to 65 or so and also had to start on a hill. (I did stall once, but I think that's 'cause I was a little amped to show I could do it. I restarted and was able to go on the second try.) I ended up coming back via the interstate (I-25 for those in the area). I had hurt my knee while helping with the move, but it didn't bother me while I was riding (or stopping for gas, for that matter). I flew (it certainly feels like that without the encapsulating car) along at approximately 70 to 75 mph in traffic with no trouble. Hence the winged Sorceress (from He-man) pictured above.
Fear not. Just because I'm doing so well doesn't mean I won't continue to drive safely or without precautions.
But I AM having fun! Squee!
Next, driving to work.

The next day: Drove to work. No problems! Yipee!

TV Review: Burn Notice & Nigella Feasts

I've just discovered a couple of interesting new (or new to me, at least!) shows that I thought I'd talk about.

First is Burn Notice. It's an adventure show about a spy, Mike, who's gotten the spy equivalent of a pink slip. Each episode (I've watched 3 so far) has two story lines: the main multi-episode story arc of "who asked for Mike's burn notice?" and a single episode story usually about Mike helping someone out in order to make money. He's helped out by his ex-girlfriend (a kick butt bounty-hunter, gun-runner sort of gal) and his ex-spy friend (played excellently well by Bruce Campbell), who provides a great foil by being funny but of slightly questionable morals. It's set in Miami (so they can get in lots of shots of girls in bikinis) and the other main characters are Mike's mother and brother. Anyway, it's a cleverly written and well done show. I recommend it. It's on USA, which is home to another show I enjoy, Monk.

Second is Nigella Feasts, a cooking show on The Food Network. I just watched her episode about chocolate. I don't know what I like better about her: the fact that she has a delicious English accent or that she obviously enjoys the food she makes. I haven't tried the recipies yet, but Nigella's show is a treat in itself.


I Rock

I just spent a hour or so mastering the art of starting my motorcycle on a hill. To my delight, I've found that I CAN do it. I figured out a procedure (check that I'm in first, engage the back wheel brake and release the front wheel brake, add a little throttle, slowly engage the clutch) that works 95% of the time. I even did it with an audience and with the motorcycle in an awkward position. AND I looked for the steepest hills in my neighborhood to practice on. I'm sure I'll improve as I practice (my throttle control is still a little jerky), but I can do it! YAY!



This is what I would look like if I were a character on the Simpsons. There's a clever "Simpsonizing" program at www.simpsonizeme.com. You upload a headshot of yourself and it analyzes your features to give you a starting point. From there, you can adjust features, such as hair style/color, eyes, nose, mouth, facial hair, and accessories like clothing and hats.
This explains a puzzling occurence a few days ago. I looked at my brother's myspace page and saw his picture of himself was a Simpsons character that looked remarkably like him! (Now it's a South Park version of him.) You can understand my confusion when I didn't know you could make yourself into a character.
And now I'm a character. Yes, I know I always was a "character" (yuk yuk yuk), but now I'm a Simpsons character.



It was the word "fembot" (what does that mean?) in the title that drew me to this article. I'm posting it here because I thought "fembot," a cooler, more emotionally controlled woman, is an interesting corollary to the new, more sensitive ("emo") male.

Fembots: The New Breed of Women


Post Harry Potter

Harry Potter: The Complete Obituaries -- very clever "obituaries" of all the casualties from the last Harry Potter Book. They only forgot one, but he was a relatively minor character.