Friday, December 30, 2005

Thursday, December 29, 2005

And a memo from Feldman saying everything is true ...

Via a guy in a Flickr group, I discovered this blog. I think everyone should read and comment.

Also, play the Falling Sand Game. You can't lose.

Oh, before I forget ...I

I'll be doing a special radio shift today as part of the "Afrobeat Around The Clock" thingie Georg cooked up. I'll be on from 4-6 pm eastern US. 88.7 FM iof you're local, wxdu.org if you ain't.

Now I'm paranoid that I will completely forget to leave work an hour early to get there on time ... somebody needs to remind me or something.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Is this going to be on the test?

Is it important that I know what "Web. 2.0" means? I see it everywhere, and I don't have a clue whether I should give a shit or not.

In other, unrelated news, I've been learning fab new Spanish words via Rimbombante. But it sort of annoys me that they ude the word "podcast" when each of their "casts" is only one minute long. Why bother loading the thing onto your pod and carrying it with you when you can pretty much have it all listened to in the time it takes to download? I suppose if you put about 30 them all together into a playlist then together they would equal a "podcast," but then why not just call them "audio files"? I know, I know, it's because "podcasts" are hip and today while audio files" are soooo 2004 ...

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Boring, boring, bored ...

I hung out at mom's over xmas. We went bowling, the highlight of which was when I picked up a 6-7-10 split ... go try it, it's not easy.

I got Mr. Pants a highly addictive virtual tennis game. Did I mention it's highly addictive? I made my right arm sore from playing it yesterday and had to switch to the left arm. I also accidentally whacked Mr. Gomez in the snout with the racket. It didn't hurt him much but now he knows to stay out of my way when I'm playing it.

As part of my quest to make tofu as yummy as the stuff I get at the Whole Foods salad bar, I made pan-seared tofu with sauteed onions and mushrooms last night. It was OK--not as good as WF, though. A lot of things I make taste better the second day, and I'm hoping that's true with this stuff. I think my next tofu recipe attempt will be Sauerkraut Balls with Mustard Sauce.

Have I bored you yet? Because I'm out of things to say.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I'm tired of that question already!

"Are you ready for Christmas yet?" I'm going to have to start answering "Ready for what? Christmas? Wow, are they doing that this year too? I didn't realize it was an annual thing ..." I know people say that to be conversational ... it's like remarking about the weather--just a little shared reference point that keeps chance encounters between acquaintances and shared elevator rides from being too uncomfortably silent. Still, I'm never sure how to answer because I don't really get "ready" for xmas, I just buy a few gifts for people and eat too many sweets, and that's about it.

I did take a half day off work yesterday to buy the few gifts that I needed. Mom said she wants turtlenecks, so turtlenecks it shall be. I went to old, ignored Northgate Mall because I figured there would be plenty of turtleneckage available but I could avoid the crowds at new, popular Streets at Southpoint, a place I find rather repulsive. It was a wise choice, but I still ended up grouchy. I don't know how some people find shopping to be a fun pastime.

I got pissed off at Hecht's because they advertised a price on the rack that wasn't the price in the register (the register brought up a price a whopping $15 dollars higher than their "one day sale" sign promised! Plus a "two for $14" deal turned out to be more of a "buy one get one free" thing: If you only wanted one, or if they only had one in your mom's tiny size, they still wanted you to pay $14. Bastards.) Rather than make the clerk bring out a manager and piss off the six people behind me in line, I said "Fuck your fucking turtleneck sweaters!" No, just kidding, I said "Well in that case no thanks" and bought my turtlenecks elsewhere.

Then I started seeking trinkets for the co-workers in my section. Nothing big. last year I made them all something. I was too lazy for that this year, but then the task of finding little gifts for each of them became very annoying very quickly. I'd find something perfect for two or three of them that wasn't perfect for anyone else (mostly it's the men who mess the whole thing up!) Then my eye fell upon a huge display of Slinkys. Hooray, everybody's getting a fucking slinky!! And so they did. And there was much rejoicing.

I think Mr. Potato Heads may be in order for next year.

In other news, I guess I'll be on the radio/webstream yet again this evening, 8-10 pm Eastern US. Locals: 88.7 FM, everyone else: wxdu.org. The playlist shall reside here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Just wanna say ....

You GO NY transit workers! And by that I guess I mean don't go ...

Plus, this is funny.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Jon Katz is full of shit ...

Slate has an article about why dogs are a really bad xmas gift. It's true, they are a terrible gift, for many of the reasons the author, a guy named Jon Katz, lists. But (as seems to be his habit, I've discovered after going back and reading some of his older columns), Katz makes some unfounded assertions that reinforce the notion that "good" dogs are bought that way. "The bigger problem with the Christmas pup is that good dogs are usually unavailable for holiday giving," he writes, along with "The dogs that are readily available at Christmas are the kind you probably don't want" because they are either shelter dogs (which Katz views with suspicion) or puppy mill dogs. Now I discourage anyone from getting a puppy mill dog because the breeding practices are horribly inhumane and should not be supported, but I disagree that the dogs themselves are more likely to be "bad" than any other dog--and neither Katz nor anyone else who makes that claim can back it up with any proof. Genetically, I can't see how much worse it can get than the extremely inbred (oh, excuse me, linebred) walking catastrophes trotting around the AKC conformation rings. (The German Shepherd Dog is a really good example, but it's by no means the only one.)

In another article, Katz makes another sweeping, completely unsupported claim about dogs from what he apparently considers low origins: "Rescued, puppy mill, and incompetently bred dogs have more behavioral problems than properly bred purebreds or thoroughly evaluated shelter dogs." Upon what evidence does he base this sweeping condemnation? He doesn't say, because he's just plain making it up out of his own prejudices. (I'm sure I can counter each of his "bad rescue" dog stories with stories from my experiences of meticulously bred border collies from top working lines who bite children, or the also-meticulously-bred working-line GSD pup who couldn't be allowed near any other puppies because he would go ballistic and try to attack them.) Plus, Katz doesn't explain what he means by "thoroughly evaluated" dogs ... does he mean that they passed "temperament testing" like Sue Sternberg's Assess-A-Pet™, methods that let shelters kill off all the "bad dogs" with confidence that they are doing a good thing. Feh.

So reading his articles made me think "who the hell is Jon Katz, anyway, and what makes him such an expert on dogs?" Well, apparently, before he styled himself some kind of dog expert, he was just an ordinary journalist who liked to write about technology. If Wikipedia is to be trusted, and of course we all know to double-check anything we read there, he was criticized by Slashdot readers who suspected him of being somewhat bogus: "Among the charges often levelled at him were that he was not an authentic geek and was seeking to co-opt and sensationalize geek subculture, that his writings (especially those on technical topics) were uninformed gibberish ..." OK, I didn't go double-check that bit--feel free to do so if you like--but what it demonstrates is that at least one Wikipedia contributor thinks Katz is just a big ol' poser when it comes to geekdom.

Well, I think he's a big ol' poser when it comes to dogdom, too. As far as I can tell from reading about him, the only things that qualify him as a dog expert are that a) he owns dogs, and b) he's read a lot of books about them. Holy shit, me too! In fact, I think we've both read some of the same books--in one article Katz describes "his" idea to help a friend teach his dog to come:
I had a different idea: chopping up some hot dogs, one of Lightning's favorite snacks. When the dog took off, Sam should run—but in the opposite direction, with the hot dogs evident. Lightning would reverse himself and follow—food-loving dogs invariably will. I thought the franks and praise might prove more effective than Sam's yelling. So it was.
Golly, that's the exactly what I tell all of my friends who get new dogs, except that I don't mind also telling them that they can read the same thing in just about any book written by Patricia McConnell (who has many bona-fides, in case you're wondering, and has written one dog book I recommend everyone, even if they don't have a dog: The Other End Of The Leash) The closest I could find to any dog-specific bona-fide in Katz's backrground is a USAToday article that called him a "certified dog nut." Well if that, and the ability to remember and regurgitate stuff written by actual dog experts is all takes to write for Slate and get a publishing contract, well hell, sign me up! I've got a journalism degree and two dogs ... I'm sure I could convince Mr. Pants that we need another dog or two if it's going to be my meal ticket.

A funny thing is, I was at Big Chain Bookstore yesterday, and I saw Katz's latest book. Since I'm serious about my dog training hobby, I instinctively thought "I must buy this." Then the frugal person inside said "You should find out more about this Katz guy first before you commit twenty diggitys to his book (it's cheaper on Amazon, btw). We've never heard him mentioned by our fellow dogerati as anyone worth reading." Thanks frugal person--I'm going to see if the Durham County Library has it (and if not I'll tell 'em to get it via their online book request form). I'll read Katz's book for free and save my money for Patricia McConnell's next book.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

What a splendid idea!

"Now we're going to get snow penises popping up all over town."

Too bad we've got no snow here. Just a cold, steady drizzle all day long. I have agility class tonight. Outdoors. I'm already miserable just thinking about it.

UPDATE: Agility class has been canceled. I still have to go teach puppy class, but that's in the arena. Whew!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

people who aren't as lazy as I am have something to say ...

... about the supposed "War on Christmas."

Merry War On Christmas
Fuck Christmas

Oops I diddied again ...

So Jason! can't do his turn at radio tonight, so I said I'd do it for him. That's tonight, 8-10 pm eastern US, 88.7 near, wxdu.org far.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Come saw some wood with me ...

My eyes are all teary from laughing ... thanks to Rakka for hooking me up with the Brawny man (click "Innocent Escapes" on the right. Watch the pre-made movies or make your own ...)

The food, it was OK


Toddlers Gone Wild
Originally uploaded by Mr. Gomez.

So I brought eats to work for my turn at the "it's the holidays so we must shovel food down our maws" table. I made gingerbread, per Lisa L's recipe, and deviled eggs from my own recipe. For my tastes, the gingerbread was a bit too molasses-y, but others (people who like molasses more than I do) liked it. I think I made it a bit too dry somehow--maybe I baked it a few minutes too many. The deviled eggs were just right for my taste, but then I made up the recipe to suit myself. It goes a little something like this:

Boil up a mess o'eggs (I think I did something like 22 in this batch) according to whatever formula you use for egg-boiling. Peel 'em, slice them in half, and dump the yolks in a bowl.
Add mayonnaise and mustard to the yolks ... the quantity depends on how many yolks you have, but you want a lot mor mayo than mustard, unless you like your deviled eggs really mustardy. I never measure, I just add a little, mash & stir, add a little more, mash and stir, and just keep doing that until the consistency of the mixture is right--sort of a midpoint between stiff and creamy.
Chop up some dill pickles into teensy tiny bits (again, the quantity depends on how many yolks you have and how pickle-y you want your deviled eggs. I like mine rigght pickle-y). Add them, and a spoonful or two of pickle juice, to the yolk mixture.
Chop up some jalapeƱos into teensy tiny bits. How man, you ask? Well how much kick do you want your deviled eggs to have? You can always add more later if it's too mild, so be conservative at first. Add them, with a spoonful or two of jalapeƱo juice, to the yolk mixture.

Stir it all up some more.

Now you can shove some of the yolk mixture into each egg-white half, sprinkle with some paprika for beauty's sake, and serve. But if you're going to transport them first, you may want to wait.

Transporting deviled eggs is a big pain in the ass because you can't really stack 'em, and you have to make sure the container stays upright and level the entire way or you arrive with a container full of godawful mess. So this time I used a tip that I found somewhere online: put eh egg-white halves in a container, and shovel all of the yolk mixture into a plastic bag. Transport them separately, and when you arrive at your destination, arrange the halves on a serving plate, cut the corner off the plastic bag, and pipe the yolk mixture into the halves.

Be sure to eat several right away because people like deviled eggs and they usually go fast.

Oh, and behold the wondrous photo at the top o' this post. I was taken by Mr. Pants. Love it, pamper it, whisper sweet things into its ear.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Naughty, naughty people ...

OK, according to the magic little website that tells me all kinds of statistics about traffic to this blog, someone actually got here by doing a Yahoo search for "Lucy Tumnus fanfics." Apparently there aren't any out there yet. let me know if you find some ...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Saw it!

Liked it. In case you just came in, I'm talking about The Chronicles of Narnia. I didn't just like it, I thought it was pretty close to awesome. It was definitely a better adaptation than the first three Harry Potter films, although I'll concede that the Potter books must have been harder to work with. And really, the christian hoopla is a bit overblown--when I really thought about it I realized that if C.S. Lewis was trying to graft a bit of x-tian propaganda into the story, he did a really crappy job of it (I haven't read the books in years, so I had forgotten a few intricacies). In fact, now that I've been reminded of exactly how the story goes, I could easily see hardcore christians NOT liking this movie because it's really rather pagan--I mean, really, a talking lion as a supreme being?

At any rate, the real test in my opinion is: What did Mr. Pants think? He never read the books, so he had no predisposition to like the movie, plus, there were no zombies in it. He said it was one of the best movies he's seen in a long time. He was a bit trepidatious beforehand that he'd be trapped watching some religious parable, but aftrward he said it was just a really good fantasy story.

Tilda Swinton was absolutely incredible as the White Witch. I couldn't take my eyes off of her, and I want to watch the movie again just to see her. As for Aslan, it seemed that the cg animators couldn't decide if they wanted him to be fierce and noble or cute and cuddly. He sort of gave me the creeps. And Mr. Tumnus the faun was definitely hotter than one would imagine him from reading the books. I predict waves of fanfics that portray him and a teenage Lucy getting it on ...

So if anyone were to ask me, I'd tell them it's a movie well worth seeing, even if they didn't read all the books as a kid.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Gingerbread and deviled eggs

I figured out what I will make for the office food thingie on Tuesday. Thanks for the recipe, Lisa L.

I think I will go see the Disneyfied Narnia despite the warnings about its heavy-handed jesusness. Both Salon (bastards make you watch an ad first) and the Washington Post gave it decent reviews, but most compelling of all, Mr. Cranky gave it only one bomb, his rarely-bestowed highest ranking. I've heard the movie is supposed to be a visual feast, and I just loves me some visual feasting. Mr. Pants probably doesn't want to see it because there are no zombies in it, but I bet he'll go with me because he just likes movies.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Are you ever tempted ...

... to say "Thank god John Lennon is still dead"?

I mean, even if you're an atheist and don't actually thank god for stuff ...

Ideas?

So I mentioned yesterday that one of the reasons for the season is food. It appears that people at work agree, because from this wee until xmas we have a little thingie where every day two people bring in stuff for everyone to nosh on. My day is Tuesday, and I don't know what to bring. I want it to be healthy, or relatively so, but most of all it has to be easy and quick. I have Mr. Gomez's agility class on Monday night, so I won't have a lot of time to prepare, unless get stuff ready on Sunday nights. IO'm thinking some kind of hor d'oeuvres-y thing accompanied by crunchy raw veggies. Any ideas? Oh, and it needs to be meatless, for me (I think I'm the only non-carnivore in my division).

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Um, like, 'tis the season and shit ...

Once again I resume my quest to take the Christ out of Christmas, mostly by spelling it "x-mas." Food, twinkly lights, the scent of pine and shiny things are the reason for the season, goddammit. Joel Stein of the LA Times disagrees.

At any rate, thanks to Rummage Through The Crevices for pointing me toward something that's given me a megadose of the ol' holiday spirit: Santastic: Holiday Boots 4 Your Stockings. I think one of these tracks should get some airplay tonight ...

Which brings me to the semi-bi-weekly announcement you've all been waiting for: I will be jockeying the discs tonight, 8-10 pm eastern US, 88.7 if your near, wxdu.org if you're far. I think I may also find a place in the lineup for the Ghanaian postal workers thing that Rummage posted. Or maybe not. I never really know what I'm going to play until I push the button.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I thought he was just a talking lion ...

When I was a kid I loved the whole "Chronicles of Narnia" set. C.S. Lewis underlying christian themes were pretty much lost on me. I didn't equate Aslan's rising from the dead with Jesus' resurrection (Aslan actually came back to life, whereas Jesus' body disappeared from his tomb never to be seen again and we're expected to believe that it's because he was ressurrected and not because some apostle dragged it away in the dead of night ...) I suppose if I went and read the whole series again as an adult I'd pick up on it all, but nonetheless, just like Sunday school, the message didn't "take." I'm a godless infidel without much faith in anything, and the Narnia books were just fascinating little fantasies of a world with talking animals.

So now Disney is coming out with the movie version of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, and I would love nothing more than to have it be a wonderful adaptation of the original, transporting me back to the Narnia I loved as a kid. But in my mind, the name "Disney" is a synonym for "heavy-handed saccharine dreck." Then I read in The Guardian that "unbelievers should keep a sickbag handy during Disney's new epic." Crap. Oh well, I'll just go see the evil Harry Potter movie again ...

Monday, December 05, 2005

... and your little dog, too

So we road-tripped to the agility trial over the weekend, and all went well except for the parts that didn't go so well. Lucy and I qualified in three of our seven runs over the weekend (You can see one here and another here.) I made some spectacularly dorky mistakes in almost every run (you can see a few of them in the videos I linked to), reminding me that even though I've made it to the Advanced level I still suck and I'm nowhere near ready for Masters-level competition. But the worst of all was when I face-planted on the course. Thankfully, Mr. Pants had taken Gomey for a hike at Chimney Rock, so he neither saw it nor caught it on video. It was during a gamblers run, and I had misjudged both my dog's speed going through a tunnel and my own trajectory in regard to the tunnel, so I was crossing the opening just as little Lucy was exiting, and I tripped right over her. Right when I was thinking "Fuck, I just face-planted" the gamble buzzer sounded, and I jumped up and said "Let's go!" to Lucy and tried to direct her through the gamble, but failed. So it's a really good thing I haven't made it to Masters yet, because if I had people would have actually been watching me ...

I ended up not freezing my ass off, though. Even though Saturday was damn cold, the trial was in an indoor horse arena, and there was plenty of crating room inside so we and our dogs could hang out in heated comfort and watch two rings of action between runs. This trial attracted some of the top competitors in the country, so I got to see that even the very best agility handlers screw up and fail to qualify sometimes. They just manage to do it in a much less dorky manner than I do.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Flickr ate my blog

I spend so much time on Flickr that I've been neglecting my blog, I'm afraid. I don't know how I've ended up with so many Flickr contacts, but I make an effort to look at at least some of everyone's photos, and next thing I know it's way past my bedtime or something. Maybe I need an intervention.

At any rate, I'll be doing neither Flickring nor blogging over the weekend because I'm headed to Asheville, NC, (well, Fletcher, actually, but it's right next door to Asheville) for an agility trial. I will probably freeze my ass off. Have a swell weekend, y'all.