Dumb Ad

Saw the dumbest advertisement this afternoon:

Silver Sonic XL
Kind of like a James Bond super hearing device
Why is it dumb?
One of its "virtues" is that it is disguised by looking like one of those hands free phone things. Little do they know that those are pretty well universally despised because they make their wearer appear to be a self-absorbed wanker (or douchebag, if you prefer). I know one of the biggest wankers I've ever met wore one of those phone things and when a coworker was doing a humorous imitation of him, all he had to do was put one of those on to be instantly recognizable.

So, be cool and wear a Super Sonic XL (and overhear compliments about yourself! ;) that people think is a supercool bluetooth handsfree headset. They'll think you're so important!



Home Safe

Baron is back with his parents again. He was pretty intent on getting home again. I knew he was missing his routine, but I didn't realize how MUCH! Knowing that now, I'm glad he restrained his "I wanna go HOME" whine until they showed up. Whew! His good behavior all week shows what a well behaved and nice dog he really is.
Thanks, J & T, for letting me take care of your big baby.

In other news, my dad and I are working on a home renovation project in the basement. I'm putting in a storage room/walk in closet since the old storage room will eventually become a new bathroom. A friend helped me frame the wall, and my dad's helping me with the electrical. It's "fun" in the way that working on an old house can be "fun". ;)


Tasty Friday & Baron Watch: Last Day

We had a yummy veggie soup today and are watching Ratatouille right now.

Baron and I took a long walk this morning and then he waited patiently in his crate while I went with the family to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It's well done and interesting. My brother commented that it felt a bit like Forrest Gump. Turns out, the same guy wrote both!

Today's the last day with Baron. Tomorrow morning, J & T come to pick him up and as fun as going for walkies is, he will be overjoyed to see them. He's wonderfully well behaved -- which is a good thing considering how big he is. It's like having a pony around the house. He's used to being cared for by family (real or adopted) and though he does like me a lot, he misses them. So, I'm looking forward to the adorable little hop he does when he's excited. Only 12 more hours, honeybunch!


Merry Thursday and Baron Watch: Day 8

Hope you all are having a lovely midwinter celebration. Last night we opened presents (not our typical tradition, but we like trying out the imported traditions). It was a bit different, since we were doing a "secret Santa" version. That's the one where you each draw a name and only buy one gift. Would have been much more straightforward, except that four of our Santas were trapped in the Pacific NW. Very peculiar feeling for some people to open presents and some not.
My dear aunt Ruth was there, so it was wonderful to see her. G&A were lovely hosts.
I'm sitting with Baron right now, waiting to go to my sister's till a little later in the day. He's been missing J & T more than usual today. My mum took him for a walk and she felt like he was less into the walk and more into looking for his house. I think it's because he had a yummy peanut butter mailman that reminded him of J & T. We reminded him that he only has two more days until they come back.
He'll be OK. He's snoozing in his crate right now. Soon I'll take him out back for a potty break and head on up to the festivities.
Hope all the rest of you are having a great day. I am thankful to have you all as friends. It's really friendships and families that make the holidays as special (or "special" if you've got one of Those families) as they are.
Merry Thursday!


Christmas Prep & Baron Watch: Day 7

Well, all day I was either shopping or cooking most of the day.

Baron, Jag, and the rest of the crew went out for a quick walk (it was cold!).
Then we (sans dogs) shopped for Christmas ingredients.
Then, we headed up to my sister's. Baron stayed behind, not because he wouldn't behave, but just so I could focus on cooking and he wouldn't get too stressed being in a new place.
I made AB's baklava, easy fudge (not a true fudge, but oh, so chocolately and really, what's the difference?), and chicken salad in toast cups (the salad and the cups are separate until tomorrow). My mom put together the artichoke and Parmesan dip (to be baked tomorrow) and cut up veggies for the veggies and dip and the cream of broccoli soup. My sister made "texas caviar" and sugar cookies (I think there was something else she made, but I can't put my finger on what it was). My BIL made homemade eggnog. My dad made an emergency trip to the grocery store for forgotten items.

Now, I'm back at home and I've just put the finishing sauce on the baklava. There are sounds of Baron eating his dinner coming from the spare bedroom. We'll go for a walk and then it's back into the crate for Baron, 'cause I'll be going up to G & A's for a Christmas Eve gathering. Hopefully this'll be the only day out of the week that he'll have to spend so much time in the crate (albeit with breaks at decent intervals).

Yes, my parents do think Baron is a nice, well-behaved and handsome dog. My sister will make sure to come down on Friday to meet him...
Ah, he's done dinner. Time to go for a walk!


Baron Watch: Day 6

All is well. Went for a short walk this morning. Am busy all day! O.o

Much Later: Well, my parents arrived safe and sound. The dogs met and had a bit of an Omega-Off. Jag won (lost?) and retains the title of Omegaest Dog We Know. Turns out that Baron isn't a total weenie. He's still got a healthy respect for the cats though. Things are fine and stay pretty peaceful, since everyone's got their own space.
Tomorrow: Christmas Prep!


Baron Watch: Day 5

All is well.
Took Baron out for a freezing cold walk this morning. He loves it regardless of the cold. He's learned to recognize the sound of me putting on my shoes and the little bouncing hop he does while he's waiting for me to put on my jacket is hilarious.
He didn't eat much this morning, but I'll re-offer it at lunchtime.
Until then, he's safe and warm and napping in his crate.

Baron was very good today (as usual). I had a friend come over to pick something up and stayed for dinner. Baron was well behaved, if a little needy. I was very pleased. Plus, it's almost a perfectly coordinated gradual introduction of Baron to new people. Tomorrow my parents and their lab, Jag, arrive. They have a plan for shifting Jag to his brother's (my sister and BIL's) house if there are just too many animals in this house. We'll see.
So far so good! Easy when Baron is such a nice doggie. :)


Baron Watch: Day 4

All is well.
Baron's learning to snooze while I'm being boring (like now), which is nice.
Until I can get a photo, here's a Google image search for those of you who are curious what a giant schnauzer looks like. Baron is pretty much exactly like that.
It's a little like having a small horse around the house. He's around 30" tall at the shoulder and very fit. He's got a cropped tail and cropped ears and his coat is kept short, except for his shaggier legs and handsome eyebrow trim and beard and mustache.
We'll go for a walk later and I'll try and take a photo then.

Later: We took a long walk around the other lake. My thighs were starting to go numb after the halfway point, so we mostly jogged back from there. Now Baron will probably nap while I clean up the downstairs for guests.

Still Later:

Per popular request, here's a photo of Baron and Martin enjoying the sun.
I, on the other hand, have been toiling away in the basement.


Baron Watch: Day 3

All is well.
The cats are very relaxed around him now, though a little irritated that they have more competition for my attention. He likes to give them a big sniff as they pass... funnily enough just then, he wandered by to sniff me and the Dell Mini, then lean in to be scratched (it's a little like having a horse lean into you when you scratch).
He's still slow about eating his kibble, but I figure if I stay on routine, it'll self correct. No, I'm not feeding him too many treats. :P
We went for a medium sized walk yesterday evening, which he enjoyed very much. He loves his walkies! If it gets reasonably warm like it did yesterday, we may go on a long walk around the lake. Otherwise, I think today's schedule is filled with "follow Anne while she cleans up around the house."

Well, we went for a long walk around the lake and now Baron is sacked out in his crate. Hee!

Still Later:
YAY! Baron ate all his dinner! He's officially settled in now. Whew!
And now he's dragged his blanket out of his crate and is playing with it. Wierd doggy. ;)


Baron Watch: Day 2

Baron seems to have slept well. I didn't hear a peep from him all night. He looked around for J & T when he got up, just in case they reappeared overnight. He didn't eat much breakfast (still a bit unsettled, I think). I'll offer it again at lunch when he's hungrier. He was very cute and went to lay in his crate while I was getting dressed. He misses home, I'm sure. Then, we went for a walk (yipee!). It was a fast-paced sniff fest, hurrying from one smelling spot to the next.
He is so cute, looking for his treat after being told to go into his crate. He seems quieter and more at peace when put in his crate, so that's where he is right now, taking a morning nap and waiting for me to come home for lunch.


Baron Watch: Day 1

Baron, a handsome giant Schnauzer that many of you know by a nickname, has come to stay with his Auntie Annie for a week.
His parents (J & T, who I shall not link to in order to not advertise they will be away from home) dropped him off a couple hours ago. He was a bit agitated by the signs that he was being left behind (his crate being put in my spare room being a big one) but gradually settled down while we went over his routines.
When they left, he whined a bit and wandered around for a long time investigating or whatever it is he was doing, going from room to room. Then, after about an hour, he finally settled down, ate the rest of his dinner, played hockey with his empty bowl, then carried it into the spare room. Now, he's lying against my feet, getting the patented Annie Pet (tm). He is such a big cutie.
He and the cats are getting along fine. Martin was very curious about him and followed him around a bit. He also likes Baron's food. When I put it down on the floor, he came over to investigate, which meant Baron (a little nervous of cats) couln't approach. I don't know what it is about his food, but Martin takes out a couple chunks and chews on them. He lost interest eventually, and Baron was able to eat, but it was funny. Matti's been pretty cautious, but Martin and Baron have reached an understanding (maybe they bonded over food). Martin even let Baron smell his rear end. That makes them practically best friends, right?
So, everything's good for now. Yay!



...is a cool word.

Anywho, random things from today:
Martin suddenly jumped up to where I was sitting on the couch and pressed his head against my hand. It was such a cute request! "Put your hand HERE!" Actually, I think the cats identify more with my hands than they do with my face. "Ah yes, the feeding appendages that also pet and scratch. Excellent. Why don't you have more than two?"

I found it very difficult to get out of bed this morning. Not because it was cold (which it was) or because I was tired (I wasn't) but because I really just didn't want to interact with the day.
Fortunately, I talked myself into taking off the entire week between Christmas and New Years. It should be nice to get a breather (even if the project IS winding down).

Reading while eating lunch really is one of the seminal pleasures of life.

Bitter cold is not fun.

I need new shoes.

It's time for bed.

ETA: Jenn, posting at the same time as I was posting, talks about cats being heat-powered and the addiction of reading. Clearly, she is a fellow member of BA (Bookaholics Anonymous).


Economy Bites

Janiece said it best on her blog when she pointed out that her economy worries boils down to a control issue.
Go, read, and I'll get back to that job I am currently lucky enough to have.

Best of luck to you all in these nerve-wracking times.


Weekend Update

- Went to help G & K set up for their party. Found siblings there too! :D
- Drove back to Denver for the office Christmas party. It was nice but I get tired of all the organized activities that start very late. I think I'm getting old. ;)
- Left the party just as the snow started coming down. Got home safely, but was really glad there weren't many cars on the road.
- Didn't have to clear the sidewalk as the neighbor did it for me! Now I'll need to make cookies as a thank you. :)
- Put up exterior decorations. Hurt thumb. :(
- Wrapped presents
- Wrote blog post
- Can't make choc. chip cookies, 'cause there's only a half a bag of milk chocolate chips in the house. The horror! (And I'm too lazy to go out to the grocery store at the moment.)
- Cleaned the bathroom and my thumb still hurts. (Wah!)
- Went to Home Depot for some house project supplies
- Had dinner w/ a friend
- Watched TV and knitted :)



Heard On the Turning Away (Pink Floyd) on the radio on the way home from work.
It's one of my favorites, but it's so moving (always brings tears to my eyes) that I can't listen to it very often.

There were two versions on YouTube, the one I'm embedding here and another one that was paired with a Carl Sagan clip and some computer generated celestial images. I liked the latter, but found it to be a bit manipulative, so I'll include the former, live version (which has a great section with the whole audience singing along) which suits my purposes just fine:

Note: There is an extensive instrumental section at the end.

The lyrics, if you would like to see them, are located here.


Cooking Sweet

Made baklava for the office holiday party (we're economizing by having committee members bring in desserts). It takes a while, but people enjoy it quite a bit and it's fun to make. My favorite part is pouring the honey sauce over the hot baklava and seeing it come to a boil again from the heat of the dish.

I also managed to make something fun for a Christmas related project. I'll have to make a second batch, since there was a minor flaw with the first batch. For something I've never even attempted before, it turned out pretty well. When I have the second batch made, I'm sending it to a few people I think will appreciate it and I'm looking forward to reactions.

We'll see...


Muppet Theory

More food for thought...

Online comic strip, PVP, presents a Muppet theory, with two of the characters drawn as if they were Muppets. Hee! (And Rowlf was always one of my favorites!)

Reactions to Tragedy

I found this very interesting article, by Shankar Vedantam at the Washington Post about a scientific study looking at how people (as groups) react to tragedy. Essentially, they determine that there are "two distinct forms of moral reasoning." The most interesting paragraph is:
But our mental systems can come into conflict in the case of terrorism and large-scale disasters: Our focus on perpetrators who intentionally cause harm prompts us to minimize the effects of "mundane" tragedies such as floods, famine and disease outbreaks, because those do not have a sinister agent behind them.

I highly recommend the whole article at the Washington Post.

Food for thought...


Da Boyz

For those of you who haven't had the good fortune to "meet" my boys, here's a supercute photo of them. They are brothers. (If you look closely, you might be able to see the family resemblance.)
The one on the right is Martin. I think of him as the big brother. He started of being the more reserved of the two, but his affection, once earned, is a serious attachment. He is the "talkative" one, and he has an adorable way of stretching up with one paw outstretched that really won over my dad when I was in India.
The one on the left is Matti. He's like the little brother. He checks to see what Martin is doing on a regular basis and likes to sit against him and have his head groomed (as shown in the picture). He used to be the more outgoing, but less attached of the two. Now, as they've gotten more comfortable in my house, they're pretty equal with the greeting duties. Matti is more likely to wander off on his own and sleep above the heating ducts in the basement and more likely to make an escape attempt out of the yard.
They are such brothers. One minute they are competing to see who can lick the other more, then they're fighting and chasing each other around the house.
I love them both equally, even though they are so different.
My boys make my house a home.

(More pictures of them can be found in the righthand sidebar, towards the bottom.)


Friends, Feet, and Food

No, not Feet IN Food, that would be the old fashioned stomping of grapes or something.

Yesterday I headed on down to Janiece's house to meet up with her so we could go sit in lovely massage chairs while having our feet soaked and fussed over and fun colors painted on our toes. It was, as usual, a lovely time, but it only got better from there.

I got to see the fabulous Kindle (which has an extremely readable screen! Not like looking at an electronic readout at all) and meet Janiece's very nice son. I also petted the Incomparable Boogie (tm).

For dinner we (Janiece, her funny and smart husband (T), their equally-entertaining longtime friend (D), and I) went to dinner at Junz, a wonderful French/Asian restaurant with divine sushi. Janiece had some delicious Sea Bass on mushroom risotto, and I admit that if there hadn't been sushi there, that would have been my choice. I, being a)indecisive or b) adventurous, had an "appetizer-sized" portion of Broiled Yellowtail Collar (Ha! It was half the collar) AND sushi. The collar was very tasty, but the sushi was, as I said, divine. T and D were the main sushi eaters and cleared a table-load of fresh fish. They really know how to enjoy sushi. The fish was so tender and fresh. The Yellowtail and green onion roll was as heavenly as that first real FISH roll that converted me from eating veggie and California rolls to being a real sushi eater. All of it was excellent. AND I got to have Toro for the first time which was... hmmm running out of superlatives... ah... transcendent. I understand now, why it belongs up there at the top of the sushi hierarchy. Sigh. Give me a moment...

Ok, I'm back.

This restaurant also has excellent martinis (I had Raspberry Lemondrop and the others a regular Lemondrops). Very smooth. The sake was good too. And Janice let me have some of her dessert - it was a mango ice cream wrapped in a rice pastry. Not only was the flavor excellent, but the pastry gave it a fun, chewy texture that I really enjoyed.

I can see why this is one of their favorite restaurants.

Adding to the sensory delight of the good food was the delightful conversation. All three of my dining companions are fun, intelligent, irreverent, and thoughtful people. Our conversation pretty much ran the gamut of subjects and it was never boring or dull. I laughed a lot and felt relaxed and appreciated. It was a hell of a lot of fun.

Thank you, Janiece + 2 SmartMen. I had a wonderful time. It's people like you that make life GOOD.

(Janice has put up her own post, both pre-event and post-event)


Idle Fingers, The Devil's Work?

Ah, it's nice to not have something that I HAVE to do.

I'm relaxing at home, having eaten a tasty dinner, leftover from lunch, and After Eights for dessert. Yum!

I'm catching up on my Heroes episodes. Maybe I'll do something useful, like wipe down the bathroom or do some filing. Maybe. If I feel like it.


ETA: Seth Green in a cameo on Heroes! SQUEEEEEE! That was so awesome. :D

ETA 2: Nathan and JTS are tearing up NY. (You may well ask if I mean tear as in rip or tear as in weeping. Both, I imagine. They certainly made me tear up when laughing.)


Jimmy Stewart Returns

The vertigo issue from Thanksgiving came back this morning, though not as bad, so I went to the doc (I love my doc, he's very cool) and he confirmed that it was either labyrinthitis (the coolest illness name, as Tania and my mum both noted) or BPV. The good news is neither is lethal, the bad news is there's no drugs for either of them, just wait until it goes away by itself. He also gave me some exercises to re-adjust the inner ear. So, after attempting to go to work (bad idea), I went home and took a four hour nap. Feeling a bit better now, but looking forward to sleeping more.

And now I'm having the urge to watch the Stewart and Hitchcock film.


Weekend Updated

Three more UCFers got to the NaNo finish line over the weekend:
John the Scientist (I saw his purple "winnner" bar on Friday)
Eric aka Evan (Finished a rough draft of an elephant... or something)
Matt W. (Got done with two hours to spare)

Also, I neglected to give an update on Operation: Thanksgiving Dinner.
Two wonderful friends, Stacey (and friends, Susan and Dawn) and Janiece (and Smart Man) brought lovely leftovers to me on Thanksgiving evening so I wouldn't be left out of the feasting. Both offerings were wonderful and I appreciate *so much* both of your friendships. You guys are awesome. And boy, do you know some good cooks! :D