Friday, December 28, 2007

Don't say I didn't warn you

Tomorrow I'll be on yer radio (88.7 FM) or yer webstreamz ( from 1-3 pm (eastern) doing the Mondo Mundo show. Tomorrow's theme is "Mondo Merengue," so you're likely to hear everything from Johnny Ventura:

to Fulanito:

Saturday, December 22, 2007

When Sunday morning dandruff turns out to be confetti

There's nothing like an impending move, even if it's a few months away, to make you suddenly realize how much stuff you have that you don't really need. I posted four things on Durham Freecycle today and three of them went claimed within the hour. The quickest was the huge batch of X-mas wrapping paper left over from back when Mr. Pants worked for the wrapping paper company. It was a hot item and everyone wanted it. It had been sitting around here for years, and suddenly it had to go. It seemed like a good idea to bring it home at the time, until we realized we were generally too, er, frugal to buy anyone x-mas presents.

I also took a bunch of stuff to Goodwill and sold some books to Nice Price. And I still have too much stuff left.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Living for thirty minutes at a time with a break in the middle for adverts

I suppose that sooner or later I'll have to mention that Mr. Pants and I are separating. I won't go into any details here except to say that it wasn't my idea. So there.

There reason I figure it needs mentioning is that this blog is likely to become a "Finding a decent home for under $150,000" blog, because I need to embark on a house hunt. (First question out of everyone's mouth is "Do you have an agent?" because folks love to recommend real estate agents. Yes, I'm going with the agent that we used when we first to Durham and then later for the mother-in-law's house, just because she really knows us and was spot-on in steering us to the properties we now own. But thanks anyway!)

I reckon my days as a Trinity Park resident are numbered because there's not really anything in this neighborhood I can afford (in which I would actually want to live). Besides, I spend at least three evenings a week and lots of weekend time out at the dog training facility way out on Farrington Rd., so I may just move closer to it. Or maybe I'll find something cute around Northgate Park, which I might even like better than TP because I'm always taking the dogs there anyway--it would be great to be a short walk away. Fortunately there are a few nice neighborhoods in Durham where I can get a decent house with a bit of yard for less than $150,000, so I'm not worried. (There are people in the Triangle who think that absolutely none of Durham is a nice neighborhood ... which is precisely why people like me can still afford to live here. I think the fact that those kind of people choose to live in Apex and Cary is what makes Durham such a nice place to live.)

Trinity Park has remained hot (and maybe even gotten a bit hotter) despite recent blips in the housing market, so our cute little 1920s bungalow should sell quickly once we put it on the market (we have to spiff up a few things first). There's no question of either of us staying in it--it's gone up so much in value that neither of us could possibly come up with the scratch to pay the other half the equity. A house up the street just hit the market for $360,000, but it's going to be supersized first (it's currently smaller than ours but will end up bigger ... but uglier).

SIDE NOTE: When a neighborhood gets so hot that people are trying to squeeze McMansions into every possible crevice (like an old graveyard, for example), I think it won't be long before folks start buying properties like ours in Trinity Park as teardowns. When someone has upwards of a quarter of a million dollars to spend (not that we know how we're going to price the house yet, but sheesh people are getting a lot of money for little houses around here and we certainly don't want to cheat ourselves), they usually want a little bit more than a 1,600 square-foot, 3 bedroom 2 bath house with a tiny kitchen. Or hell, why not build multi-unit and maximize the revenue? So I think those of you who are planning to remain in TP need to get on the stick and work on getting historic district status or soon you'll be living in Chancelloryville, but without all the cute houses that used to make the neighborhood special.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Yeah, I know, but ...

I thought I was too busy to blog, but then I got excited listening to a couple of songs and had to share the love: La Onda Tropical has posted two songs written by Shakira for the movie version of Love in the Time of Cholera that are so pretty they put a lump in my throat. Two more reasons why I think I'm really starting to like Shakira.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I've gone AWOL

Sorry there's been precious little blogging action going on here lately. I blame it on the puppy. I'll be back sooner or later.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

You'll never walk with me on the beach at Waikiki

Howdy, I just traipsed in to say that this pisses me the hell off "Jail won't let mother pump milk". I mean, what the hell? "In general, spokeswoman Julia Rush said, inmates are not allowed to express milk without a court order." And hey, I'm one of those people who's a little grossed-out by breast feeding (just thinking of it makes me queasy), but why the barbarism, Mecklenburg County jail? The only reason behind such a policy can only be pure meanness.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Speaking kings english in quotation

Originally uploaded by Mr. Gomez.

See the picture above? Is it awesome or what? Click on it and go see it in all its glory at Flickr. Tell your friends to go look at it, too. Mr. Pants took it. Where? Our very own Duke Gardens. Mr. Pants goes there at least once a week. Believe it or not I've lived in Durham for more than seven years and I've never even visited Duke Gardens. I should take the dogs there sometime.

Anywhoo, I'll be on the radio tonight, 8-10 pm Eastern, 88.7 FM if you're picking up the signal, if you ain't. I feel like doing something different since it's Thanksgiving Week, but i couldn't really think of anything so I think I'll just play a liberal dose of weird/interesting covers. Maybe a mashup or two. Whatever.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

But the ocean made me feel stupid

Mr. Pants wants to know what I want for my birthday, which is coming up. I won't say exactly which day except that I get the day off work that day because lots of people died in a war. I don't know what to tell him because I'm not sure what I want. Well, a Volvo wagon (aka a great dogmobile ... used is fine) would be fantastic, but somehow I doubt he'd get that for me. The only other things I find myself wanting all fall into the dog gear category.

Anyone know what want for my birthday?

Oh yeah, and I did the radio thing again last night. Playlist here. During my show I got a call from a guy who said he was in Jamaica. I don't know if he was actually listening to my show or not, but he wanted to know when the reggae show was (there's dancehall on Thursday nights and "Caribbean City Radio" on Saturdays) because he wanted to give a shout-out. I told him I'd give his shout-out anyway, so he asked me to tell all the Jamaicans at the federal penitentiary in Butner to keep their heads up and keep the faith. No problem, dude--the inmates are our most loyal listeners! (Insert joke about captive audience here.)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Now it's all petty crime on the news at nine

Just two things:
  1. We believe there is something dead under the house. Mr. Pants went searching for it last night but he couldn't find it. I suppose it serves me right for letting Lucy wander around under there, hoping perhaps she'll kill whatever she finds. I think maybe she did, but unlike a cat, she had no inclination to bring it out and show it off. Anyway, those little oil candle stinkpretty things you see advertised on TV do a pretty good job.

  2. Doing good deeds is for suckers. I always regret them later.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Don't know what I want but I know how to get it

I hate it when people whose blogs I read suddenly neglect their blogs. I feel sort of abandoned, like "Hey, aren't you going to entertain me? Dammit!"

Yeah, so it's been a week since I last posted here. I've got a puppy, OK? She needs a lot of attention and then my other dogs (I almost wrote "my real dogs," because really puppies are just proto dogs ... they're like little dog-like bloblets waiting to be turned into proper dogs with patience and training) also need lots of attention to assure them that the new addition in no way displaces them from their positions of importance. Whew! Anyway, I have a brief respite while Pinky Laverne spends a couple of days at her Aunt Maria's house (Mr. Pants is out o' town this week, and one of his co-workers has agreed to host the pup during a couple of my busy days. I'll pick her up tonight after agility class.)

Anyway, I want to know, should I ask for one of these for my birthday or Xmas? Seriously, it's very similar to the machine that they use in the mini-doughnut booth at the State Fair. I could crank out mini doughnuts in my copious spare time! I could have mini-doughnut parties. Everyone would want to be my friend! Just add dough! (Thanks to BoingBoing for pointing me toward this marvel of modern technology, even though they call the lovely, lovely machine "disgusting." They are obviously completely ignorant of the winsome wiles of the magical mini-doughnut.)

In other news ... I don't think there is any other news. Oh, yeah, Cafe Tacuba has a new album out, which, as usual, sounds way different than any of their previous releases. The NYT seemed to love it, in fact lots of critics seem to be loving it. Except for Gustavo Arrellano, who's all like "Meh, I liked Re a lot better. I'll need a few listens to be sure, but I think I may agree with him, at least a little. I mean, there's no mistaking that the new album, SiNo, is pretty near rock virtuosity, but maybe I don't want rock virtuosity. Maybe I really want something that sounds like a ranchera on crystal or a ska-tinged cover of a Leo Dan hit.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Strut on a line, its discord and rhyme

Work and dogs, work and dogs. That's pretty much it for me.

Oh, I did radio Monday. iot was not at all a terrible show, if I do say so myself. Here's the playlist.

Otherwise, I've only got enough to say for one blog right now, and since it's pretty much dog-related I've put it all over here.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mondo mundane

In true "I had corn flakes for breakfast" stylee, I present to you a mostly true roundup of news and activities since I last bothered to blog:
  • I did not have corn flakes for breakfast.

  • Cute puppy Pinky Laverne probably has a home. She goes there tonight, and assuming they don't suddenly come to their senses after a few days she's theirs to keep. Big thank yous to a couple of Mr. Pants' co-workers who have cared for her while he's out of town this week and I'm unable to come home during the day and attend to her copious bodily needs.

  • There is something dead under my deck. I have been unable to locate it visually, and unwilling to crawl under the deck (ground clearance: about 2 1/2 feet) and search for it. I hope it's a rat.

  • I went to the fair Wednesday and met up with Santa Salsera. We ate apple fries:
    apple fries
    She ate a corn dog:
    corn dog
    and a frozen banana on a stick:
    frozen banana on a stick
    We ogled but did not partake in french fries:
    french fries
    And I went up to some complete strangers and asked if I could photograph the food they were carrying:
    italian and polishpotato chips
    We need the photos at for work, see.

  • In response to a question on our listserv about how many trick-or-treaters to expect, someone in my 'hood is planning to make a mash-up map of Hallowe'en candy disbursement across Trinity Park. We are all to report in our totals after the fact and he will map them, thus helping us all to plan accordingly for next year. A fine example of using geekiness for good and not evil. If they weren't relatively expensive compared to candy I'd consider giving out some freethought non-tracts so the kids in my hood could feel the disappointment I felt whenever somebody gave me a Chick tract instead of candy.

Friday, October 12, 2007

27 8 x10 glossies with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one

Oh hey there. I've been working late every night helping to bring you The Big Event which starts today. But the good news is we have a home for the cute little puppy we've been fostering. I guess I should say pending home, because the people aren't picking her up until Sunday night and they can always change their minds. But if that happens there's a waiting list of two other people who are interested. I'm very glad, because puppies are too much work. When we add another dog to our household, it's going to be about a year old already.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The return of my friend Ted

I'm busy, busy, busy. Plus we're caring for yet another puppy (anybody want a puppy?), so I'm turning this here blog over to my friend Ted. He has something he really wants to say (hint: this is one of those MUSIC posts).

Ro Ro Ro Your Boat

By Ted Norton
Word has swept the world of Ex Moloko singer Roisin Murphy’s debut album for EMI UK. “Overpowered” will be released in theory next week in England, but the postal strike is threatening to delay shipments. Thus a “loverly” suspense is now in place after the album was, somewhat-serendipitously, leaked on the web this weekend. Roisin’s newly-amassed following of gay euro-clubbers (some of them returning to the Murphy fold with fond memories of Moloko’s “Sing it Back”) buzzed the discussion boards of every big name popstress in the business. Most notably, the Madonna, Kylie, and Goldfrapp discussion boards were awash in the discussion of this scene-stealers latest release.

Murphy is not only an engaging lyricist, but a seasoned and provocative artist of considerable breadth, and depth. “Overpowered” is one of the most well-rounded pop releases in history, featuring everything from revived-cowbell-disco on crack (“Cry Baby”) to the gorgeous reggae-tinged lullaby “Scarlet Ribbons” (a song written for her father), which showcases one the most promising vocal talents to emerge from the ashes of ’90s trip hop. Roisin’s current U.K. single “Let Me Know” nonchalantly serves up a jawdropping homage to Dusty Springfield that’s already got the entire industry gazing upon her with the look of love. Springfield has never been imitated with such finesse.

The real showstopper is a track produced by iLL FACTOR (a rapidly-rising whiz-kid based in the Miami ). “Primitive” is pure Moloko: thought provoking, spooky, and a wee bit goofy, but iLL’s production is pure classic rock drama filtered through a latin-influenced hip hop sensibility and showcases one of his trademarks: a percussive male backing that has been likened to “a frog chorus spouting Right Said Fred samples,” but is infinitely scarier. Murphy has apparently mastered the art of dynamics in her time away, and the resulting track is not unlike the thought of Shirley Bassey singing the Pixies “Monkey Gone to Heaven” with said frog chorus singing from the audience. This one track has created such a buzz that some are now rumoring EMI to have started the postal strike in order to be able to fill shipments of the album!

Some of Murphy’s fans might argue whether EMI could successfully arrange anything: their A&R department insulted Murphy, her fanbase and their own profession by publicly disparaging her last work (released on an EMI distributed label) entitled “Ruby Blue,” which was universally applauded by the critical community but failed to achieve top 40 sales. Despite the lack of U.S. distribution that kept the album from Stateside consumers for a year and half after its release, several of the album’s standout tracks were deemed good enough for television (“Gray’s Anatomy” and “So You Think You Can Dance” both featured songs from the album). During what was supposed to be promotion for the new album, Murphy’s rep. stated that the work was something she “had to get out of her system.” Murphy’s classic response to her A&R man’s gaff: “says more about him than it does about me.”

It’s pronounced “Ro-sheen” with an accent on the first syllable. “Overpowered” can be ordered now as an import title from all the major online retailers, and purchased through overseas digital services. You will be hearing her name a LOT in the coming year.

Roisin on YouTube:
Let Me Know

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Mindblowingly cool:

Man Builds Secret Apartment At Mall, Gets Away With It For Four Years. There's also a very detailed article in The Providence Journal.

One of my favorite books as a child was From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, in which two kids run away from home and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I wanted to do the same, but I was living in Texas at the time and had no idea how to go about getting myself to New York. And then of course there are The Boxcar Children, who made me want to live in a boxcar. And there was another book for very young children about a group or family who go live in a cave, but I can't remember what it was called.

At any rate, I still want to live somewhere bizarre and cool, but I've settled for a bungalow.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Data breach!

So someone hacked into wherever they store employee and dependent info at my husband's job and stole folks' digits and whatnot. His info was most likely compromised, and mine was possibly. So we had to call the Masters of the Universe (TransUnion, Equifax and Experian) to place a fraud alert on our credit info. So for the next 90 days if anyone wants to access my credit info, they will call me first.

But here's the thing that gets me: Why isn't that the default operating procedure? Why is our credit data just open to whomever the hell wants to check it? Seems to me that we SHOULD be notified every time someone pings our info unless we specifically ask not to be. So I think that in 90 days, when this fraud alert expires, I'm going to call them up and place another one. I wonder if there is a way to just put a permanent fraud alert on my credit info?

Friday, September 28, 2007

My cute little killing machine

We have several bird feeders in the yard, as well as a birdbath (which has been very popular during the last few months of drought), and although the intended recipients of our generosity are avian, we get a few uninvited guests. Squirrels I can live with--they'd be here even without the feeders, thanks to the giant oak tree in the yard. It's the rats I'm not fond of. If I knew they were happy to stay out in the yard I wouldn't be so bugged, but they have a tendency to seek shelter in the crawl space under the house, and from there it would be fairly easy to find a squeezeway into our domicile. I prefer to maintain my home as a closed ecosystem, no rodents allowed.

Fortunately, I have a terrier mix., and she comes hard-coded for critter killing. (Since she's mixed with a herding breed, she also herds sheep. Or at least she has worked sheep and would still if I were independently wealthy enough to keep up that activity. One of my earliest posts in this here blog mentioned our brief adventures in sheep herding.) So anyway, yesterday Lucy killed her third rat of the summer, earning her the dancehall MC name of "Lady RatKillah."

Her first two kills were solo, but I've got to admit to an assist in this latest one. Lucy had cornered the critter, of species Rattus Norvegicus, under the deck in a spare length of that black flex pipe used for landscaping (does anyone need any of this stuff? I have some just sitting under my deck providing hiding places for rodents.) I could tell there was a critter in there by the level of her alert--if it's just recent scent of critter she only sniffs deeply and wags her tail, but if there's an actual critter she starts yipping, barking and whining and gets a crazed, manic look on her face.

She was running from one end of the pipe to the other, whacking it with her paw in an attempt to scare out the rat. I decided to help her flush the critter, so when she ran to the other end, I picked up my end of the pipe and shook it. I immediately heard scurrying and scuffling under the deck and then "squeak, squeak squeak, squeak!" followed by silence. Holy hanta virus, I just helped my dog kill a rat! I wasn't even sure I wanted to look. I immediately felt a little ambivalent about my role in the carnage. I just helped cause the death of a living creature. But dang, it was a rat, y'all. They're disease vectors and they chew holes in things that ought not have holes. And besides, it was my dog who did the actual killing, you know, nature, red in tooth and claw and all that. I think I'd feel worse if it were a cute little bunny rabbit or something.

I wish I'd had my camera on me to get a picture of the cute little dog with a dead rat in her mouth--it was sort of awful and wonderful at the same time. But I was really more concerned about getting her to leave the rat--I didn't want her to start chewing on it or anything. But the thing is, there aren't many rewards that trump critter in Lucy's eyes. She was proud of her kill and wanted to make sure it was really dead. Still, I ran inside and got some cheese to tempt her away. After a minute or so of hearing "Cheese, Lucy! Treat, Lucy!" she snapped out of her reverie and came in the house. I left the rat for a half an hour to make sure he was really dead before I picked him up, putting three plastic grocery bags to re-use (I needed three to make sure that there was plenty of plastic between me and Señor Rata Muerta.)

Mr. Gomez (aka "MC Sniffy G" in the hip-hop world) played his part by staying out of the way. He's a lovah, not a killah. I gave him some cheese anyway.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Better late than never ...

I'll be on the air tonight, 8-10 pm Eastern, 88.7 FM for the locals, for the rest of the wrrld. Tonight I'll have a trainee in the MCR with me, so who knows what will happen. Maybe a little dead air. That's always exciting.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weird weekend

We went to visit the Pants Mother this weekend, and on Saturday we decided to go to Pawleys Island. It was a really beautiful day until the guy drowned.

Anyway, so then the rest of the day it was hard not to ponder one's own mortality.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I was all dressed up like an Elvis from hell

Sometimes life is like a B movie:
Hedden stumbled into a party of picnickers with his arm missing and blood gushing from his wound.

Also, I happened to notice that for the second time, Manu Chao's "Rainin' In Paradize" (which is not at all the best cut from his new album, IMO, that one would be "Me Llaman Calle") is a free single on iTunes this week. But more interesting are the reviews people have written. My favorite review: "This is HORRIBLE!!! who wants to buy (in this case get) this stuff. wat happened to love song and bubbly and those good songs. i don't understand the words, it has a horrible tune, and this guy can barely sing!!"

Monday, September 17, 2007

Every value I've ever had has been questioned and I'm loving it

This isn't a music blog, in fact it's not really any kind of blog whatsoever, but sometimes I just can't help trying occasionally to foist cool music upon my several readers. Really, I know what's good for you! And today it would be the new album Disko Partizani by Shantel. I first stumbled across Shantel (aka Stefan Hantel) when I heard some of his remixes on the excellent Electric Gypsyland comps (the first and the second). And his "Sagadora Hot Dub" remix of the Amsterdam Klezmer Band rides high on my list of fave songs (you can hear it as part of Typsy Gypsy's Balkan Hot Step Soundsystem Mix, Pt.1, or go buy this or this). Anyway, on Disko Partizani, Shantel is sort of doing Europop inna Bucovina Club stylee:

If you don't think that's fun you may need a visit to the proctologist. Or maybe you need this--it's the video that was "suggested" by YouTube for me to watch next after I had finished the Shantel video:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mr. Ray update

First: Mondo Mundo went well yesterday. Here's the playlist.

Now the real news, at least for those of you who fondly remember the DC/Baltimore area Mr. Ray's Hair Weave commercials: Alert reader "sdcafunnyguru" has dug up a TV story on Baltimore-area business proprietors who do their own commercials, and it features Mr. Ray himself:

Now if only I could find one of the classic circa-'70s Mr. Ray's Hair Weave commercials on the nets. So far all I've seen are this one and this one, both of which seem more latter-day, probably late-80s early 90s.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Tough kids dont stop trying to kick me to the ground

Here's your advance warning: I'll be on your radio (on your radio, you're gonna hear me on your radioooo) tomorrow (that's Sat. Sept 15) for the Mondo mundo world music espectacular. It's from 1-3 pm (eastern time), 88.7 if you pick it up, if you don't. No other station station plays the Turkish hip-hop hits like we do ... except maybe the Turkish hip-hop stations, of course.

And now for something only slightly tangentially related: I'm not a huge Shakira fan (although I've long liked the song Ojos Así), but I like her much, much more after learning that she takes college classes just for fun, in her spare time. i wonder how many languages her hips don't lie in?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

You don't know anything so don't ask me questions

I forgot to give advance warning of my radio show last night. I did a radio show last night. Better late than never. I've officially moved to (every other) Monday night, 8-10 pm Here is my playlist. When I was on Wednesdays, Santa Salsera would often stay after her show and join in with mine, and we had a good time together. (Whether the listeners did or not, I don't know.) I thought I was going to be a little lonely doing radio without her, but then she showed up about a half-hour into the show just to do radio with me. A good time was had by all ... or at least the two of us.

In other music news, I'm hypnotized by this video:

Where did they find a corridor long enough? Probably somewhere in Chile, as Los Mono are Chilean. (Thanks to La Onda Tropical for turning me on to Los Mono.)

Friday, September 07, 2007

My my my my my boogie shoes

Just like Lisa and Christa, I have a love for shoes. And I just developed a new shoe crush:

*Sigh* Isn't it dreamy?

But it's the name that really got my attention: It's called the Mudclaw. According to one source, it can "chew up the mud and wet grass that can send other shoes slipping and sliding." Seriously, dear, you had me at Mudclaw.

Check out that tread:

Bunchofpants want.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Sweet summer sounds are soothing my soul

Tonight I was helping set up for an agility trial and one of the judges, who is from Oregon, asked what was buzzing up in the trees. Apparently they don't have cicadas in Oregon. I'm glad I don't live there, because the buzz of summer is one of my favorite sounds.

Mr. Pants likes to call them quesadillas, as in "The quesadillas are really loud this evening. And indeed, they are. Maybe they're thinking "It's Labor Day weekend, hurry up and mate with me so I can lay my eggs and die." Unless it's the males who do the buzzing ...

Anyway, if you want to see some agility this weekend, it will be here. All three days, all day ... from 8 am until at least 3 or 4 pm. Or maybe even 5. Hopefully not 6, though, that would be a little too much.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

And speaking of ...

... Larry Craig (of whom I was indeed speaking, or writing, rather), check out this Red State Update:

I love red State Update. I fact, while I'm at this, why don't I just gratuitously toss in their thingie on the Van Halen Reunion tour:

Nudge, nudge, say no more ...

I really don't care if some congressdude is gay or not, even if he is a hypocrite and a "horrible right-wing Christian extremist, who's actively demonized gays".

What really shocks me and pisses me off is that "fidgeting" with one's fingers, peering through a stall crack, placing a bag by the stall door, tapping ones feet and passing one's hand under a stall divider all constitute some sort of crime. Seriously, that's all Idaho Senator Larry Craig appears to have done, and he was arrested because these are things believed to be done by "by persons communicating a desire to engage in sexual conduct." Seems like we are approaching the realm of thought-crime here ... it's not like he actually yanked the cop's noodle or anything.

Too bad Craig's such a chickenshit that he pleaded the charge out hoping to make it disappear, because I would really like to see a good lawyer challenge the idea that any "crime" actually occurred. Of course, I'm of the opinion that if one is going to engage in sex (gay or straight) in an airport, courtesy demands that one confine it to a restroom or other suitably semi-private place. And don't be a screamer, please. Back when Paul Rubens was arrested for whipping it out during an X-rated movie, my first thought was "If you can't wank in a porno theater, where can you do it?"

Friday, August 24, 2007

Fun in that city to the east

Every now and then I go to Raleigh and actually have fun. Last night I ventured with Santa Salsera to Disco Rodeo for the 4th Annual Festival La Ley (which is tied with WUNC as my second-favorite radio station, pulling slightly ahead during pledge drive). We went last year, when it was held at Walnut Creek, and I thought it was odd that this year's would be at Disco Rodeo. How were they going to fit everyone inside? Turns out you just let all the people work out how pack themselves in. I was very happy that Salsera's journalistic connections got us backstage passes, because there was a fire exit there and close to it was where I felt most comfortable hanging out.

And la Salsera coined a new word: durangover. It's what you have in the morning if you stayed out very late the night before listening to duranguense music.

It was fun to see the locals, Rey Norteño (whom I've mentioned here before), who just keep getting better and better. There were several other groups: Tlapehuala Show, Andariego, Los Primos De Durnago and ... um ... a very skinny fashion victim with a good voice whose name escapes me at the moment. Forced to choose between Mexican regional musical styles, I'd take norteño over duranguense any day. But I must say that when you see it live, duranguense really brings the boom. Witness Los Primos de Durango:

Los Primos De Durango from bunchofpants and Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Oh noes!

Our pretty trees are all gonna die! Bummers.

It's not a matter of life or death, but what is?

The highlight of my week so far has been the nice soaking of rain we got here yesterday. Yeah, things are a bit sedate around here. I was at the point of wishing a hurricane would drop by and bestow some excess moisture upon us, but I was happy to get a nice, long thunderstorm instead.

Anyway, after a bit of a hiatus caused by a a scheduling snafu, I shall be back in my radio slot (8-10 pm eastern) tonight (88.7 FM for the locals, for the rest of you). I will likely need to try to move to another evening for next semester, or give up a regular slot and go to "sub-only" status for a while. Oh well.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

You can ring my bell

All I've got to say today: Hazmat Modine.

No, seriously, go listen! Or, if you like to watch:

Monday, August 13, 2007

I'm just here to read the meter ...

I've been AWOL from this space for ... well weeks, I guess. It's not that I haven't had blogworthy thoughts and activities, it's just that sometimes I'm too lazy to actually blog them. Well, to be fair, I have been rather busy both at and away from the old day job.

And speaking of that day job, I actually applied for two jobs last week. I wasn't really engaged in a job search or anything, but two positions blipped across my radar and they seemed so right I thought I'd be a fool not to pursue them. One of them is actually in Durham, and I'm not sure I have to explain how nice it would be not to drive to Raleigh and back every day.

Sorry to bore you, but that's all I've got for now.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Finally got around to it ...

grilled pimento cheese on sourdough
Originally uploaded by bunchofpants.

We ate lunch at Parker & Otis today, although I think it shall forever be known to us as "that place that used to be Fowler's." It was OK. It will be one of those places we end up going to when we can't think of anything better because hunger has clouded our faculties.

In other news, that book about the wizard boy is still tumbling through my mind. (SPOILER WARNING: go away if you still haven't read it ... or if you're not a fan and the topic doesn't interest you.)

There's one part that I have a question about--maybe it's a continuity error, maybe an error in my understanding. During "The Prince's Tale," when Snape is in the headmaster's office and Dumbledore's portrait is telling him to reveal the correct date of Harry's transfer, it's more than a month before Snape has been announced as headmaster. So what's he doing in the office getting advice from the portraits? Perhaps in the absence of an actual headmaster any member of staff is free to wander in and consult the portraits ...

Oh yeah, make that two things I have a question about: How is Dobby able to take Dean and Ollivander to Shell Cottage when it's under a Fidelius Charm and he hasn't been told its location by the Secret-Keeper? Or is it yet another case of house elves having their own magic and not being subject to certain rules? If that's true, then they'd be pretty handy if you want to assasinate someone, now wouldn't they? Hmmm ...

Friday, July 27, 2007

As much fun as a barrel of boggarts

Part 2 of the Today Show interview with JKR. Why is it assumed that those viewing an interview with a famous author want to see the interviewer fake-smiling and nodding while the interviewee speaks? It's as if they think the interview is about Meredith Vieira as much as it's about JKR. And why the hell are TV interviewers so damn annoying? It's no wonder JKR does as few interviews as she can possibly get away with--they all ask her the same insipid questions she been asked and answering for years, particularly some version of 'gosh, you've come so far from being a welfare mom to one of the richest women in the world ... how does it feel?" I wish just once she would answer "That's right, I'm rich, bitch!" And of course, they all ask her "What's next," as if that question hasn'rt been asked and answered again and again and we don't already know what she's going to say "Well, I'm going to relax a bit and enjoy life and then I'm going to write some more."

So I guess what I'm saying is if you're pressed for time, don't even bother with part 2 of the interview,. She doesn't really reveal anything like, say, the whereabouts of Florean Fortescue ...

And last night I had a dream that my Patronus and I were competing in some sport together. It was not at all clear whether the patronus was a dog or the sport was agility ...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Some of Harry's loose ends ...


The Today Show interview with JK Rowling answers some of the questions left unanswered by DH, and Jo explains why she had to leave so many loose ends:
"It would have been humanly impossible to answer every single question that fans have because I'm dealing with a level of obsession in some of my fans that will not rest until they know the middle names of harry's great-great grandparents."
Yeah, we're geeks, aren't we?

Anyway, the number one question seems to be about Harry, Ron and Hermione (and a few other characters) do for a living. Jo said she had originally planned to include more of that in the epilogue, but it "didn't work very well as a piece of writing." But she's happy to disclose that Harry and Ron have "utterly revolutionized the Auror Department" and Hermione is "pretty high up in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement." Did Luna and Neville ever get together, as some of us were hoping? Jo doesn't rule it out, but she left the question open at the end of the book because answering it "felt too neat."

The first half of the segment can be viewed at the site now, i imagine the second half will be up after it airs tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fun to be had elsewhere ...

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: There's some lovely discussion and spoilerage to be had chez Georg and chez Rakka and, well feel free to discuss it here if you want ... spoilers and all!

Also, the latest "Mugglecast" is spoilerific fun as well.

And, HOORAY: According to MuggleNet, J.K. Rowling has announced she will write an HP character encyclopedia!! That entry also reveals which character got a reprieve from death in DH (you have to highlight some text to see it, so you're safe clicking the link even if you don't want to know).

Oh yeah, and The Chancellory At Trinity Park (y'know, that condo thingie in my hood): Go on over to Bull City Rising and discuss.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I'll try not to spoil anything ...

I spent most of the weekend reading, of course. (Harry Potter, in case you couldn't guess.) Unlike Georg, I didn't attempt to clock my reading hours, because I was actually trying to stretch it all out and make it last, seeing as how it's the final one and all. I decided against picking the book up at midnight Friday, as I had originally planned, because I knew I would then stay up all night to read it and staying up all night doesn't agree with me at all. So instead I went to the Regulator at 9 am and picked up my copy, settling in on the sofa for most of the day. It was sort of a shame that it had to be released on such a gorgeous day--sunny but not too hot--so I made a point of keeping than back door open while i sat on the sofa, and spending some of my reading time out in the back yard. I also took a break to take the dogs for a nice walk and to attend a week-late Bastille Day party thrown by an agility pal.

I will try to speak cryptically, but if you haven't read it and don't want to be spoiled, stop reading now, just in case. First I just want to say: I KNEW IT! What was revealed in Chapter 33, "The Prince's Tale," turned out pretty much as I expected and hoped. Well, almost--it actually was far better than I had thought it would be. That was most gratifying.

I was disconcerted, but not surprised, by the body count. Mostly I took the deaths in stride because I knew someone had to bite it--we're fighting supreme evil here, people! But there was one death a little more than halfway through the book (last page of Chapter 23), that really hit me in the gut. I got a bit teary-eyed over it.

Although the ending wasn't exactly as I expected, it was far from a surprise, as Jim Dale had characterized it. I didn't expect it to be handled the way it was, but then again, when your whole plot revolves around magic you can get away with a lot and still satisfy your readers, can't you? And I am satisfied. Except that I still wonder what exactly happened to Florean Fortescue. Or did I miss it somewhere? I have to go and re-read the whole thing ASAP.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Oh goody, a surprise

I had a great weekend in Georgia. The local Athens paper had an article about the flyball tournament in the Sunday edition, and there's even a little video that sort of explains the sport, in case you're curious.

Mr. Pants and I finally saw Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix last night. Mr. P said it's his favorite so far because he finally got to see a real magic battle. For my part, the battle scene seemed a bit thin compared to the one in the book, but isn't that often the case? I had heard that Evanna Lynch and Imelda Staunton were fantastic as Luna Lovegood and Dolores Umbridge, respectively, and I was not disappointed. I had hoped, based on clips and trailers I'd seen, that Helena Bonham Carter would get a bit more screen time as Bellatrix Lestrange, but maybe that will happen over the next two movies.

My weekend road trip put me behind in my quest to re-read all six previous books. I was so busy I barely had a chance to read, and now I still have books 5 and 6 to go. The only thing Jim Dale, the audiobook voice of the series, will reveal is that Book 6 has a "surprise ending." Hmmm, what would surprise me? Voldemort and Harry settling their differences over a pint of butterbeer?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Chancellory At Trinity Park: Capitulation Nears

People who are more concerned with the Snape Question will be disappointed, for here instead is an update on The Condo Project That Ate Trinity Park. The Trinity Park Neighborhood Association board had declared in an e-mail last month that it was unanimous "in believing that the developer's final parameters did not adequately address the concerns of the BoA and the majority of the neighborhood." The BoA being the Durham Board of Adjustments, who had previously instructed the developer (park City Development) to met with the TPNA board and a group called Neighbors For Sustainable Development in Trinity Park and come up with a compromise that was acceptable to all. Apparently, that wasn't happening because the developers weren't willing to budge, as the TPNA e-mail pointed out. It was looking like Park City would have to go back to the BoA still lacking neighborhood support for their project.

Apparently however, the TPNA decided to ditch the NFSDTP and continue negotiations with Park City on their own----without telling NFSDTP. The TPNA Board is now considering whether to endorse new renderings from Park City that seem to merely rearrange the density so that it's more evenly distributed, getting rid of the most common objection to the project--the seven story height. Meanwhile, the rest of the particulars, including everything else to which the NFSDTP objected, seem to remain the same.

The whole thing will be discussed beginning at 8:00 pm Wednesday evening at the Watts School Media Center. As mentioned previously, I am already engaged that evening so I'll miss the fireworks.

UPDATE: I've edited this entry to correct the name of the neighbors group--I had gotten all the words in the wrong order.

Mandrake cake!

mandrake cake 1
Originally uploaded by chotda.

You probably have to go to Guam to get one (unless you've got skillz and can make your own.) (Thanks for the photo, chotda!)

Harry Potter and the Scheduling Snafu

I'm a bit disappointed that I will most likely have to wait until next week to see Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, an event to which I have been looking forward since Goblet of Fire. But unfortunately my schedule is booked solid. Wednesday evening I have an agility class, which I suppose I could skip but I love agility even more than I love HP. But, I also have to pack up that evening because I'm off with a teammate Thursday afternoon to Athens, GA, where we have a flyball tournament this weekend. Not that we couldn't go in Athens, but we may not have any time and we're traveling with dogs, of course, which adds a logistic wrinkle to everything we do. So I'll probably go Monday evening, and those of you who are able to go earlier and inclined to blog about the topic can taunt me with descriptions of just how good Imelda Staunton is as Dolores Umbridge.

But the movie will keep a few days. The important thing is that I am available to spend most of the following weekend reading Book 7, which is even more important to me than the movie. I may even be able to keep myself awake that Friday night for the big hoo-ha at The Regulmocator. Meanwhile, of course, my idle moments will be spent pondering that captivating question. Oh yeah, and re=reading the first six books. I knocked 1 and 2 out over the weekend and am currently plowing through three.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Things I wonder about ...

I guess I don't have anything really interesting to say, so let's visit the department of Pet Peeves, shall we?

So let's say you're driving along on a two-lane road, and a cop turns onto the road and begins following you. You'd be retarded not to go the speed limit, right? Why then does the cop proceed to ride your ass? He knows you're going the speed limit because there's a cop behind you and you're not going to go any faster, right? Or is he retarded? Isn't riding someones ass considered a bad thing? Don't they tell us not to do it in the NC Drivers' Handbook? Here's what it says:
Following too closely is a leading cause of traffic crashes. Maintain plenty of space between your vehicle and the one ahead. If the car ahead stops suddenly, you will need time to react. On the open road, keep enough distance between you and the car ahead so that a passing vehicle can safely move into and occupy the space. Remember to follow the "two second rule".
Oh yeah, and when they're not riding someone's ass, Durham cops like to drive really, really fast.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Overdue maintenance

At long last, I've updated the template for this blog to include some necessary links and get rid of some old dead ones and such. Most notably, I've added some new "locals" to my little sidebar on the right, and created a new section for "ex-locals," to which I've included Xta's new blog, even though she's not gone yet (I'm very lazy and I figured if I put it there now it will save me having to put it there later). To that list I will eventually have to add Elsa and Dick (who only occasionally honors us with an actual update).

I've also overhauled the other links, which formerly resided on an externally hosted "Blogroll," to which I had signed up once upon a time using a now-extinct email address, and to which I had long also forgotten the password. So I ditched the blogroll and have now added and subtracted some links, all to serve you better, of course, dear reader.

Eventually I will make this whole blog less ugly, probably by switching to the one of the minimalist, plain white templates, but I've run out of steam for today.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Slightly old news, but ...

I have now added to my personal lexicon the phrase "as terrified as Mitt Romney's dog" to describe any instance of being so frightened as to be in danger in danger of losing control over bodily functions.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Uh ... dead air ... uh

I've signed up for Wednesday evening agility class, so I'm going to miss four weeks of my regular radio show. But I won't go into complete withdrawal because I'll be hosting the Mondo Mundo show tomorrow (Sat.) from 1-3 pm (Eastern time). 88.7 FM if you live in the sweet spot, if you don't.

Often my m.o. is to show up about ten minutes before, furiously pull way more stuff than I could possibly play from the stacks, and then let the universe be my guide as to exactly what I play when. But for tomorrow, I actually have a theme of sorts. For some reason I was recently thinking about the huge quantities of what we call "world" music that are actually made by groups based in the US. In fact a lot of really imaginative world "fusion" is going on here--way more good stuff than would fit in a two-hour radio show. So I decided to run with the idea, tossing in Canada just in case I feel like tossing in a Socalled track or something.

I couldn't really come up with a clever name for the show, however. I asked some fellow DJs for suggestions and I got a few: "Overseas over here," "We ARE the world," and "Nameri beat" ... I haven't settled on one. So suggestions are invited.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Mr. Pants went to Costa Rica ...

Originally uploaded by Mr. Gomez.

...and I stayed home. He went for work. It was all very last-minute, or I would have tried to tag along. Anyway, he took some purdy pictures, and has posted a few in his Flicker stream.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Go drink one without me

I would actually be mildly excited about what Blazer calls "Downtown Derm Hoo-Hah celebration" Saturday afternoon/evening if I were able to attend. Since I work all day every day in The Other Triangle City, I have been afforded many opportunities to enjoy its brand new loose bricks. Although to hear the Snooze and Disturber tell it, they still roll up those brand new sidewalks after 5 pm just like they did the old ones. I wouldn't know, because as quickly as I can after work I hop on 40 and get back to Durham.

But whatever, if you're around and about the City of Medicine (makes us sound like we have an unpleasant aftertaste) tomorrow evening, get your ass downtown, OK? I would go if my tribe (The Dog People) didn't have a gathering (an agility trial) going on.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Things that pass for excitement

I was shambling down the street this afternoon, on my way to an optometrist's appointment on Fayettville St. (Yeah, the one in Raleigh ... it's near work) when I saw lots of activity in front of the courthouse. There was a crowd of news cameras, reporters, and a mini-sea of bobbing boom mics. They were all bunched up like fish in an aquarium waiting expectantly for the flakes of food to start falling. "Ooh," methinks to meself, "some star of the Mike Nifong courtroom drama must be coming out." So naturally I fished the Cybershot out of my purse. Oh look, it's Reade Seligman:

He rushed by with media frenzy in tow. He seemed to be in a hurry ... I didn't get a chance to ask him to autograph my copy of his book Tip the Cabbie and Keep Your Receipts. The bald guy in a blue shirt an black tie that you can see just to the right of Seligman shoved me out of the way as he went past. Gosh, I hope he was someone famous ...

Oh, and the tall skinny one was there, too:

So then I went to the eye doctor. She said my eyes are fabulous, but I still need glasses.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Warned you have been

I'll be polluting the airwaves (88.7 FM) or webstreams ( in less than an hour (8-10 pm eastern time).

Triangulation vacation

Are we really such a hot vacation spot? I prefer places where one is likely to get stranded by civil unrest, but to each her own. There's yet another "Visit the Triangle" article out, this time in the Washington Post, and it's much better than the one in the New York Times that I complained about a while back. The headline says we have "class." Must be the recent outbreak of new condo construction.

There are also a couple of sidebars: Escape Keys, in which they mention The Federal, and Five things to do in the Triangle when school's out, in which the Durham Bulls get a starring role. And no mention of that gawdawful meat substance they call "barbecue" around here.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I had cornflakes for breakfast

I went to Myrtle Beach over the weekend and mowed my mother's lawn. Honestly, it was more enjoyable than doing anything else there is to do at Myrtle Beach during what my mother calls "terrorist season." Besides, I got to use a riding lawnmower, which always makes me think of a very entertaining short film I once saw called "Tractor Tragedies." Produced by some farm equipment manufacturer (I think it was International Harvester), it illustrated all the many ways one could flip a tractor, which usually results in serious injury or death. I was careful not to flip the riding mower, although I did accidentally crash it into my car. I wasn't going very fast, so no motor vehicles were damaged in the incident. As a result of my efforts, I was able to haul home three big bags full of grass clippings for my compost pile, which is probably going to get hot enough to combust like the City of Durham yard waste facility. Oh the excitement.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Any way you want it

This makes me laugh. I like to laugh. For those of you too lazy to click the link, it's to the "Legion of Rock Stars," a group of, er, musicians, who listen to music on noise-blocking headphones and play along to rock standards, recording their output. Some of them sound better than the originals.

It has reminded me of an idea I'd love to put into practice, if only I weren't so lazy: headphone karaoke. Participants would would don headphones attached to a music emitting device, the output of which the audience would not hear, and sing along to their favorite songs. Much beer would be required, I believe. Somebody organize this and invite me. There would be much rejoicing.

Thanks to .:DataWhat?:. for the link.

Monday, June 04, 2007

I just flew in from Boston and boy are my ... oh never mind

The truth is I'm lazy. And I can't even be bothered to think much. So I've been neglecting my blog.

But yesterday I was part of a phenomenon we call a "baby shower" in this bizarre culture of ours. The one thing I will say in defense of baby showers is that they are not nearly as godawful as bridal showers. I'm pissed off at all men because they are never, ever expected to attend baby showers (or bridal ones). Bastards.

Actually, I've got nothing against getting together and bestowing onesies, Boppies and assorted baby containment devices at women about to pop out a young'un. And the target of this particular shower happens to be a good friend whom I like very much and I was happy to help shower her with gifts (even though I disapprove of any and all human procreation). But in the world of showerdom, it's not enough just to put out a spread of food and let people drop off a gift, chow down and leave. We have to watch The Opening of the Gifts. Ooh, a onesie. Ahh, a Boppy. Ooh ahh, a baby containment device. I think I missed out on the gene that makes that sort of thing thrilling.

But the worst part of all is that we have to play a game. Usually these games involve something to do with baby names, but as this shower was almost exclusively attended by dog people, specifically agility and flyball folks, we at least got to play a dog-themed game: we divided into teams and competed to see which team could name the most "famous" dogs. Apparently, I discovered, it's considered bad form to actually try to win such a game. My team won. Although I'm still pissed that a robot dog (Daggett from the original Battlestar Galactica) and a puppet dog (Triumph the Insult Comic Dog) were for some reason not allowed, while cartoon dogs were perfecly OK (we got plenty of those).

I hope no one else I know decides to get pregnant.

Monday, May 28, 2007

How I spent my weekend

I've been in dog agilty land. The crappy Durham paper ran an article Sunday about what I did over my three-day weekend (click the link soon because the Herald-Sun expires its links ... probably just as well). Really kind of a sucky article, but that's what we expect from the Herald-Sun. Their website is a clunky piece of crap, too.

Can you tell I'm really, really tired?

Monday, May 21, 2007


Thanks be to Scott, aka Mr. Garlic, who gave me a bunch of plants out of his garden. (Poor things are probably so disappointed at where they've ended up.) I'm really impressed because he actually knows the names of eveything that's growing in his yard, and even seems to have planted most of it on purpose. At any rate, I spent most of yesterday planting things, got really tired and decided that aside from routine-maintenance stuff I'm satiated as far as yard work goes. I'm good for the rest of the season. Weeds love me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The five Ws

Who: Me
What: Radio
Where: WXDU, 88.7 FM or
Why: Because we like you
When: Tonight, 8-10 pm eastern time

Go, speed pace car

Whilst returning from a weekend agility trial out in the wild wild west (Fletcher, NC), Mr. Pants and I espied a car sporting a Durham Pace Car bumper sticker on I-85. It was speeding.

In all fairness, we were not in Durham, but somewhere near Haw River. Maybe it was enjoying a pace car holiday, feeling the wind in its grill and stretching its tires a bit before coming back to calm the mean streets of Durham.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Torn and conflicted ....

On one hand, I'm disgusted by Paris Hilton; on the other hand, I hate The Man and instinctively want to free whomever he wants to jail. I don't know what to do. Advice?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Originally uploaded by Mr. Gomez.

I only wrote this entry because I wanted to show off this fab shot of bluebirds taken by Mr. Pants. I may as well toss in a link to more info about bluebirds while I'm at it.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Hello, I'm from the government and I'm here to help you

So yesterday a couple of trucks full of guys in bright orange vests showed up in front of our house, and they spent the day digging a big hole in the middle of our street, covering it with two massive steel plates when quitting time came. The plates are similar in color to the street and not readily visible from afar, and the guys in orange vests didn't leave any cones or signs saying "Slow! Massive steel plates ahead!" So now, if I get bored, I can go sit on my porch and watch the people speeding down my street (speed limit 25 mph) get a look of terror on their face and hit the brakes as they try to avoid hitting the approximately 3-inch thick plate at 45 mph. I actually did the Nelson Laugh to one guy, but his windows were up and he didn't hear me.

I'll be very sad when they take my massive steel plates away.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

bunch of lunch

grilled swiss on rye with sauerkraut

A few months ago a co-worker brought a George Foreman grill into the office because she didn't want it anymore and she thought perhaps someone might want to make grilled cheese sandwiches on it. So yesterday I forgot the frozen burrito that was to become my lunch, and I figured it was an opportunity to put ol' George Foreman to the test. So I went to store and bought some fixings, and now I can say that George makes a damn fine grilled cheese. But it wasn't just any old grilled cheese, it was a grilled swiss on rye with sauerkraut. Did I invent a new sandwich, or has this been done before? It's sort of like a Reuben without the corned beef and that awful thousand island dressing. Damn tasty. It's my new favorite sandwich.

if it is a new sandwich, I need to give it a name. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

And the band goes with rhythm like hell!

My things are plural; my stuff is singular. Thanks, England, for giving us such a nifty language!

I'll be polluting the airwaves (and webstreams) tonight from 8-10 pm. Eighty-eight point seven eff em if you're local, like really local; if you're not so much local. I wish that I would be able to mix the explosive mixture with the necessary degree of healthy aggression, but alas, neither wxdu nor I own a copy of Romano Hip Hop just yet. I'm working to alleviate that problem.

Also, go buy your ticket to the Preservation Durham 11th Annual Old Durham Tour this Saturday. You get to go inside people's houses, which is always fun. Plus, you will get a copy of the gorgeous 68-page tour booklet which, I happen to know for a fact, kicks ass. If you discover any typos or other errors in it I don't want to know about them.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Que viva el jardin de las mariposas!

I had a flower garden I wasn't so fond of ... actually I use the term "flower garden" very loosely. Except for some daffodils, a tiny patch of dianthus and a little slightly shrubby plant whose name escapes me, nothing really wanted to grow there but weeds. I wanted to mulch the whole thing over and build a pergola there, except for the part about actually building the pergola. That just seemed like too much work, but I'm too cheap to pay someone else to do it. So I just bitched a lot about how much I hated that stupid weed garden and needed to figure out something to do with it.

Mr. Pants decided to help me out yesterday by making a unilateral decision to run over the whole bed with the lawn mower. I guess that's a start. At first I was sort of shocked, but really the only problem now is that the daffodil bulbs may be toast, because they need to re-absorb the nutrients in their leaves in order to bloom again next year. But feh, who needs daffodils? They're pretty for about a week and then they become yet another weedy-looking nuisance. (Digression: What I'm calling daffodils may actually be jonquils. But now that they've probably snuffed it, does it matter?)

Anyway, Mr. Pants says he wants a butterfly garden, presumably so he can take pictures of the little critters. I didn't ask, though ... for all I know he wants to catch them and pull their wings off. But he claims he is willing to do some digging to achieve said butterfly garden, which means that I want a butterfly garden, as well. Hitherto, Mr. Pants has not shown very little inclination toward any type of yard work so if he's willing to dig I'm going to do everything I can to encourage it. Also, it means I get to go buy plants at the Raleigh Farmers Market, which is the funnest part of any garden endeavor.

So I figure it will be a few years before we have to mow the weed patch over again because as Michael Pollan once pointed out, nature abhors a garden. I wonder how she likes pergolas?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

That Carolina thing ...

Time to make my several readers of the British persuasion giggle with this excerpt from an article in today's Raleigh Snooze & Disturber:


It's a Carolina thing. People say it's also excellent exercise and a great way to meet others. Clayton resident Bonnie Rhodes, a shag instructor for the past 19 years, counts at least 50 couples who have met through her shag classes.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Ooh, lookee, the NYT noticed us!

There's an article in Today's NYT about how much there is to do here in El Triángulo, expecially if you have a bunch of brats in tow: North Carolina’s Triangle: Nature, Culture and Barbecue. But the first sentence is retarded: "THE Mayberry-meets-M.I.T. appeal of the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill region of North Carolina ..."

Mayberry? Did the writer actually come here or did she just read about us on a website? There's really no "Mayberry" flava left in the Triangle ... unless maybe you count Pittsboro, which doesn't get a mention in the article. And I'm so tired of hearing how great Foster's is. Frankly, I find the place to be overrated and annoying, full of people who would trip their own grandmothers to score a table when the place is crowded. In fact, all the restaurants the writer listed (Lilly's Pizza, Foster's, Mama Dip's and Crook's Corner) are exactly the same ones that always get listed by everyone ... did the writer even bother to research any of the new and really exciting places in the area? (Not that I ever eat at any of them, but still ...) And although we're allegedly famous for our barbecue, or at least famous enough for it to be mentioned in the lede paragraph, the writer doesn't bother to list an actual barbecue joint (maybe that's because Eastern N.C.-style barbecue is actually quite heinous).

But woo! The Festival For The Eno is is "like a giant backyard barbecue for the creative class." Maybe that's why I've never had any fun at it.

But to end on a good note, at least she didn't call us "Raleigh-Durham."

Sunday, April 22, 2007

And a good time was had by all


The whole vegetarian thing hasn't been working too well for me lately. One reason is that in many vegetarian dishes, there are just too damn many vegetables.

There were very few vegetables last night at Casa Needs More Garlic, although they were delish: some (local) asparagus (don't ask me how it was cooked, because all I can say is "by Scott") and some delicately dressed (local) greens (oil AND vinegar!).

Anyway, the star of the evening repast, aside from Mr. NMG himself, was a huge tray of meat--sausage, chicken and slabs of pork and pork ribs--all from local farms where the animals get to wander around eating things that would not alarm Michael Pollan and are presumably as happy as it is possible for a free-range farm animal to be (until the whole gettng killed part, of course). It was all so good that I most definitely won't be eating mass-market meat anytime soon ... it just can't compare. I'll continue my normal diet of bananas, organic bean burritos, peanut butter and jelly sammiches (hold the salmonella) and ice cream.

Mr. Pants and I were on out best behavior in hopes that we may be invited back again.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Early warning!

Stay away from your radio tomorrow from 1-3 pm, for that is when I shall be pantsing the Mondo Mundo wrrld music show. 88.7 FM if you're near, if you're far. I have a plan for world domination. OK, I have no plan at all, actually. It'll be fun, I swear.

I'm fittin' to bust a gut ....

Originally uploaded by natmaconjr.

I can barely write through my convulsions of laughter .. thank you, Chris, for turning me on to Bullshat, the latest in a bevy of new blogs about Durham, and by far the one that has made me spit more half-chewed Qdoba tortilla chips onto my keyboard than any other.

Proprietor Blazer Manpurse, BFA (I don't think I'm cool enough to know this person ... I never hang out at the Federal) had a contest to come up with a New Durham slogan, because the new official one sounds like it came from some Random City Slogan Generator website. The winner (see above) is pretty damn funny, but I'm more in love with a few of tthe runners-up, particularly "F'd up but in a good way," and "Still Less Annoying than Chapel Hill". I think I'm going to have to make one of those into my very own bumper sticker (I have the power).

And I need to agree that the new Ogilvy sign on the Studebaker Building is a travesty.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools

It had been a while since I had done my radio show--Chris had done the last two for me, so I had forgotten how much fun i have with Santa Salsera. She often sticks around after her show (Azucar y Candela, 6-8 pm Wednesdays, the best Latin Show in the Triangle) and hangs out in the MCR with me for a while (OK, I bribe her by bringing refreshments) I pot up mic 2 for her and we get a bit of a chat groove going on during talk sets. I'm not really sure if the listeners enjoy it or not, but I usually have a good time. Salsera sometimes suggests great music and even goes out into the stacks to find it for me so I can work it right into my set. Here's my our playlist from last night. Other highlights of the evening:
  • We talked on the air about the sheer adorability of Wordnerdy's lovely cat, James Bond (Salsera had never seen him so I pulled the Flickr set up on the MCR computer);

  • We mentioned the WXDU victory over WXYC (4-3) in kickball last Saturday, and a former WXYC dj called to let me know she actually has a slight preference for WXDU over that other college radio station. She said we weren't as "hipster" and therefore rocked more. Hi-yah!

  • La Salsera said that hearing me say things in German was like listening to a talking dog. I didn't know whether I should be insulted or flattered. She wasn't sure either.

  • At the end of my show I had an urge to pay tribute to Blacksburg and my first radio station, Virginia Tech's WUVT, so I decided to play some Not Shakespeare. They were sort of the resident Blacksburg band with big ambitions ... they opened for some bigger acts when they came to town (REM, Modern English and I think Let's Active, among others), had a song or two in rotation at WUVT and a cassette for sale at local record stores. From what I remember, their early sound seemed like an attempt to bridge the gap between Flock of Seagulls and REM, and their front guy--George, I've forgotten his last name--had a vaguely Flock of Seagulls hairdo (which I believe may have been the inspration for a song called "Blacksburg Hairs" by B-burg thrash band Megadosage). Anyway, sometime around when I left Blacksburg in 1986, Not Shakespeare recorded a 4-song EP at Mitch Easter's Drive-In Studio that made its way into the vinyl stacks at WXDU, where it remains today (along with a 12-inch single with a 1989 date). I played the song "Susan" from the ep. Dang, I wish I still had my copy of the Not Shakespeare cassette, if only for its nostalgia value, but alas it's a casualty of one of my 8 moves since 1986.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

OK, take 2 ...

Reader "Gary," who I'm going to assume is the only Gary I know (from way back at Virginia Tech, no less) and not some random Gary, said my last post, about the Virginia tech killings, was "a bit flippant ... even for you." My normal response to a comment like that would be something like "Bite me, asshole," but in this case Gary is absolutely correct--even I'm not really, deep down inside, that flippant about the awfulest, most tragic and senseless thing to have happened since ... well, since the last really awful, tragic, senseless thing. They happen a lot in this country.

That post doesn't really reflect the depth of my thoughts and feelings about the incident and was probably more a reaction to having just watched some wretched network news coverage of the killings .. I mean the "MASSACRE at Virginia Tech™," which is now its official name, according to NBC, complete with official Massacre at Virginia Tech logo:

I wonder if they issue staff ball caps and jackets bearing the logo so they can be distinguished from CNN's "Massacre at Virginia Tech" team ... OK, I admit, that was flippant. But that doesn't mean I'm not appropriately saddened and horrified. It's just that I quickly get into sneering/cynical mode after watching a few network anchors wearing their Serious Tragedy Faces (Stone Phillips has the worst best most extreme Serious Tragedy Face) speaking over maudlin montages of grief stricken people and assuring us that The Healing Process™ will begin after the next commercial message. All the appropriate words feel like they were scripted by the news anchors; the word "saddened," for example, seems almost hackneyed because it's been babbled so many times by the newsheads. So it's hard to say anything and not feel like part of the big mawkish parade of national grief

Virginia Tech and Blacksburg are very dear to me, though, and the thought of these things happening there just breaks my heart. I also get a lump in my throat looking at the photos of the people killed and thinking about how the obviously delusional and probably paranoid kid who shot them completely slipped through the cracks ... despite what appear to be lots of warning signs.

I remember that Blacksburg always felt a bit like a parallel universe--it really is sort of out in the middle of nowhere (maybe less so now than when I was there--we had no internet back then) and nothing really big ever seemed to happen there. It has grown a lot since I lived there--it looked quite different when I was back there last August and had lost a lot of its small-town feel, but it still seemed rather cozy.

So I guess I can understand why people would say that Virginia Tech was not a place they would expect this kind of thing to happen, because it did seem rather remote from such real world problems when I was there. But then again, where in the hell DOES one expect such things to happen? OK, the Post Office, maybe, but other than that, is there anyplace you expect some kid to just open fire on people? Should we even expect such a thing? But we do sort of expect it--even classmates of the most recent shooter, Cho Sueng-hui, speculated about whether he was the type to become a "school shooter." And I must admit that I have had similar conversations with co-workers about whether one of our own was likely "go postal," and which one of us he (it's always a he) would be likely to take out first (me, probably because of my flippancy.)

So I have sort of come to expect mass shootings, as Tim Rutten points out in the L.A. Times,
"... the readily accessible databases that now comprise the news media's collective memory contain a category of atrocity labeled "school shooting" with enough entries to make comparisons relevant. (Ultimately, the Virginia gunman would nearly double the previous record, which had stood since the 1966 bloodbath at the University of Texas at Austin.) There's nothing sinister or even particularly callous in this. This country's recent history is what it is, and the parsing of tragedy is one of the journalist's unavoidable obligations. And yet it's hard to escape the suspicion that a practiced news media's routinization of atrocity has made it easier for all of us to rationalize as unavoidable something we all ought to hold as horrifically aberrational."

Anyway, I'd say more but I've gotta go. Radio. 8-10 pm. 88.7 FM if you're local if you're not.

Monday, April 16, 2007

How 'bout them Hokies?

Hey, look, people are talking about my alma mater. Why am I not terribly surprised by today's events. Horrified? Yes. Shocked? No. It's not because Virginia Tech is necessarily the type of place I would expect someone to go on a shooting rampage-on the contrary, it's a delightful, peaceful place. But really, is there anywhere in this country where someone isn't likely to go on a shooting spree? I've just come to expect it.

Scary, yes.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

No good deed ...

It's been, what? A week since I posted or something? Here's the deal: I opened my big mouth and volunteered for something, and now that something is biting me in the ass like a tiger. See, I mentioned that I'm a designer to someone in my neighborhood, and he said something like "Oh, so you could do the Preservation Durham home tour book," and I'm all like "Oh yeah, I can do it in my sleep, blah blah, aren't I cool, blah blah." So now I'm doing the Preservation Durham home tour book ... and no, in fact, I cannot actually do the thing in my sleep ... NOTE TO SELF: Next time, ask how many pages are in the book before you open your big mouth. For some reason I was thinking the thing would be about 36 pages, tops ... it's actually twice that, and maybe even bigger (all the ads are not in yet ... another thing to remember: any time there are advertisers involved, run, don't walk, in the other direction!)

In other news, agility trial last weekend, agility trial this weekend ... which means I will miss the annual WXDU v. WXYC kickball game, to be held this Saturday at 2 pm in the field at the northwest corner of Duke's East Campus (which, I now know from working on the PD tour booklet, was once called "Hanes Field.") I designed a T-shirt for this year's kickball game. Maybe I'll remember to post the design later for the whole world to enjoy ...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Attention HTrouser and Wordnerdy ...

Pastor McPurvis at has a special downloadable treat for you: Manischewitz Presents The Jewish Cowboy:Harold Stern from Centerville, Texas: "A short but fun promotional 45 from the Manischewitz company featuring the laconic drawl of Harold Stern, The Jewish Cowboy. Come hear this kosher cowpoke wax poetically about his ranch, Manischewitz products, and 'GUHH-felt-a-fish'. Also features performances from singer/accordionist Avram Grobard. Corporate shilling never sounded so good, and that's no bubbe maisse!"

Paul is dead, miss him, miss him ...

I'm a bad blogger. I hardly blog any more. I'm either too busy doing stuff to write about it or too happy to have nothing to do to ruin it by sitting in front of the computer hunting and pecking out a blog entry. Did that last sentence make sense? Was it grammatical? Is grammatical a real word? It seems like it should be "grammatic" instead.

Here's a point to ponder: Should I go to my high school reunion or compete in a agility trial? They're on the same weekend. I have a free entry for the dog agility trial. The High school reunion will involve staying in an overpriced DC-area hotel.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Battlestar Galactica fans only ...

Has it jumped the shark? Anyone who watched this week's season finale, what do you think? Mr. Pants has been complaining about how the show just isn't as good for a while (I agree that the whole Apollo/Starbuck/Dualla/Anders love trapezoid was tedious and snoresome), but I have been holding out hope. But after the finale, I've begun to wonder if it's all just become too silly. When the (slight spoiler alert) four alleged Cylons started spouting Bob Dylan lyrics I think I groaned audibly. I'd love to hear some other opinions.

And what's this about it returning in 2008? I have to wait until 2008 to decide if I still like it or not? Not fair!

Maybe I'll start rewatching all the Firefly episodes ...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Monday's child is peevish and morose ...

To the person near me who kept a crying puppy outside all night long last night: if you keep this up I will become a major pain in your ass. I promise. I'll make sure you don't get any sleep, just like I didn't last night, until you either take the puppy inside where it belongs or it's placed in a new home where they have consideration for both the dog and their neighbors.

In other news, I just read a great book: And Then We came to the End by Joshua Ferris. I'm often afraid to read fiction because the world is littered with too many shitty, pointless books by shitty, pointkess writers who somehow manage to get publishing contracts probably because they know someone who knows someone, but I let a couple of good reviews convince me to check this one out. (Thanks Durham County Library.) It's funny and entertaining, and it validated my opinion that working in an office is inherently deforming. There was one little vignette that really hit home: a guy who works as a "creative" (which is what I ostensibly am) realizes that by and large he is just a turd polisher, trying to make the best of something that's essentially shitty by design because that's the way the client wanted it. That's exactly the way I feel most days.

Maybe if I can get some fucking sleep tonight I'll feel more like a "creative" tomorrow ...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

All hail the Tire King!

When a tire seems unwilling to hold onto its full allotment of air, it's trying to tell you something. Granted, it's whispering softly, but if you don't listen soon enough, it may resort to yelling at you when you're pushing 65 on the Durham Freeway. At least that's what I discovered this morning on my way to work. Another thing I discovered is that when you exit at Briggs Ave., it appears you're out in the middle of nowhere, even though you know you're within spitting distance of the cutting edge of science and technology. Having a flat tire in the middle of nowhere at 7:45 am on a day when you have a dentist appointment can be what those in the mental health business call a "stress event."

Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for the crack phone! When faced with decisions (do I break out the spare doughnut and attempt to put it on? Do I remember how to change a tire? Do I call AAA?), I'm able to deflect them all by calling Mr. Pants. He has a nifty little portable air compressor and decided that we should first attempt to fill the tire. However, it refused our offering of air. Well, it took some of it but wouldn't budge above 34 psi. When Mr. P turned off the compressor, the tire just sat and spewed our lovely gift of air right back at us. So Mr. P commenced installing the spare doughnut, with a bit of help from me: I was able to recall from my forays into tire-changing that one should always loosen the lug nuts before the car is balanced precariously atop the jack.

Doughnut in place, I turned around and headed downtown to my pals at the Tire King (500 Rigsbee Ave.). About six months ago when a bad tire kept me from passing inspection, I bought a couple of new ones at Tire King. They were so wonderful I decided to go back next time I needed tires. And that time had come--the flat had been trying to tell me "I'm old and worn out, please put me out of my misery." The guy even remembered me. I bought another pair, so I'm good to go for a while on all four--with free tire repair and rotation ... maybe if I remember to get them rotated I won't always be needing tires at inconvenient times and places. But where's the adventure in that?

At any rate, I made it to work and then to my dental appointment, where they put on a temporary onlay to fix a cracked molar (the permanent one goes on in a couple of weeks.) The temp fell off after a couple of hours. I pressed it back into place and called the dentist. They told me to come back in tomorrow to get it cemented in better. Later this evening, I accidentally ate it. Well, not all of it ... I was able to pull pieces of it out of my mouth after I realized it wasn't a potato chip that I was biting into.

I hope tomorrow is really boring.