Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Signs of the Times

At work recently, they've been putting in germ combating measures along with educational posters. It's nice to have sanitizer around, and a spray sanitizer for common keyboards and phones in conference rooms is also cool. The occasional poster saying "we're headed into flu season, here are the symptoms and here's what you can do to prevent transmission" are tolerable. But damn.

I went to get my morning caffeine. Posted above the hot drinks station are
  • 6 Flu Warning signs
  • 3 birth announcements
  • 1 lunch discount offer
  • 1 notice about the hot drinks supplies

I'm going to have to go with 6 is about 4 too many. A week or so ago, they put up a laminated card next to the soap dispenser listing the benefits of handwashing or some such. Then there was the reminder about flu shots. Monday's arrival was "here are the symptoms of flu". I don't mind that since it's harder to get that description than you'd think. Yesterday's, posted near all sinks, was "How to wash your hands". Um, ok. But seriously? Most of our employees spend most of their days wearing nitrile gloves and facemasks. Even if they never washed, it probably wouldn't come to anything. Today's new sign is "don't come to work if you're sick, fool". It's getting pretty comical.

I'm of mixed mind about the whole prep for the flu season. I am glad they provide flu shots free for employees and cheap for family members. I get the flu shots, figuring that cycling my immune system for something other than allergies is a good idea.

Communicable diseases are kind of hard to manage perception for. If you have a readily communicable disease that starts to swiftly and inexplicably kill off people in the cohort who normally survive minor bugs, it's bad, bad news. Yet if you manage to prevent the bug from spreading, people think they were worried for nothing because it's not ethical to deny prevention/treatment in a segment of the population just so you can say, "I told you so." And if M. Gladwell in "The Tipping Point" can be believed, it just takes a few extra people crowded together to go from "probably not going to amount to anything" to "epidemic". So maybe if people, even jokingly, wash their hands more thoroughly for a few weeks while mocking the signage, it will prevent reaching that tipping point. Who knows? But damn. SIX work instructions regarding flu is still pretty hilarious.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Whip It = Good!

I capped off a long saturday at work by meeting my trivia friend at the movies for the sneak preview of Whip It. Excellent choice. Enjoyable and works out some aggression.

Basic story is small town girl doing the standard thing, which in her town is beauty pageants, but is dissatisfied and doesn't fit in. Her best friend is also a bit of a misfit but has different aspirations. Girl (Bliss) somehow decides roller derby is her gig and colludes with best friend to do it on the sly. [anti-spoiler: ellen page does NOT get her teeth knocked out]. The standard scenarios follow: gets new crowd, gets new boyfriend from new crowd, explores more of world than previously had, starts to stand up for self in regular crowd, starts to get found out, gets busted big time, then has some choices to make. Not all of those choices would be standard, imho. Anyone who reads a lot of genre fiction knows there's a format to follow but the characters and detail give the story life. So even if this were a total formula movie, it would still be good fun. But it departs from standard in a couple of places and I think it made for a stronger, more enjoyable movie. The predictable bits aren't bad - it's more that I felt smart that I predicted them correctly when they happened which felt like a good payoff.

If blogger would let me do a livejournal-cut, I would use that, but here goes. Skip this paragraph to avoid SPOILERS! Seriously, I mean it youse guys. Also, If I could type without the thumbpad deciding I've moved my cursor mid-word, that would help too. Ok. Juno, I mean Babe Ruthless has a hell of a good date when her bff is having a bad night. Seriously, that is a date. He kind of sucks later, but as Mr. Right now, he's perfect. (Not to mention, but he's also my type.) In their final encounter, I want to have flake boy watch it. As for her, I wanted to say, "the fact that it ends doesn't mean it was a failure" which kind of fit the moral too. I like that being disappointed by a boy didn't dominate the film. In many "ditch the family to follow their dreams" movies, ditching the family is a point of pride. Not so here. I liked how they handled the family dynamic. It seemed a lot healthier than most. Might be pure fiction, might be based on real life, but I give credit for them showing how to spread ones wings without crushing all beneath you as you take off. I also liked that the rookie of the year could only do so much.

Ok, safe again, spoiler phobes. On to my quibbles: The expensive pageant dress was blah; I liked the off the shelf green one better. I've never seen a real roller derby match but even so, this looked a little soft so as not to wreck the actresses. I get that but it was still a bit tame. I hope the real derbygrrls go see this anyway for the fun. The derbygrrls aren't *quite* portrayed as hookers with a heart of gold, but rather badass hookers with hearts of gold. (The hookers bit is metaphorical, just using the proper idiom.) I kind of expected them to be nastier, even if I didn't want them to be nastier. Perhaps that was to keep it watchable for the impressionable teens moviegoers? I also expected more visible bruising or attempts to cover it up. I've never understood food fights.

Whip It is a fun film. The underdogs make good is a perennial favorite genre of mine. The lack of jittery-cam was appreciated too. I enjoyed it the whole way through. The names are awesome. The costumes are fun. The actresses are all adorable, except for Juliette Lewis, who's her usual badass self. Little Sister's big makeover is a hoot. Dad is a good dad. And I bet while you're watching you enjoy it enough that you don't realize that it stars mostly women, was written by a woman, was directed by Drew Barrymore who is a hard to categorize woman, and has some excellent music by women.

I was especially motivated to go see Whip It after watching the commercial for whatever movie Ray Romano has coming up - "a bunch of guys get older and take it badly" or some such and thinking I couldn't predict any role in it that was a decent role for even a supporting actress. It was all guy movie. It may be funny, but hasn't that been done to death? (Full disclosure, I might even see it. It could be genrebusting too, but why no obvious women of substance in this here new millenium?) Well, this is an almost all girl movie, but I think guys will like it. The women are hot and loud. There's action and there's action. Did I mention Ellen Page and Alia Shawkat are cute as buttons and they hang out with older hot women? What's not to like? It opens for real on Oct 2. Go see it. Take your impressionable teen to see it too.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


My day started off all wrong, but it was not all bad. I have been trying to get to bed earlier this week and only kind of making it (notice it's 1am). After nearly passing out on the couch to John Stewart, I was in bed before midnight, but I took a magazine to read and it got me all fired up. I knew that reading about ideas of things to do, and food, wasn't the best idea, but combined with work worry, I'm AWAKE.

Funnily enough, in a bit on budgeting, the Cooking Light recommended feeling better by writing down "4 non-financial things you're grateful for". Wonder where I've heard that idea before... so here goes.

The kicker that really woke me up was that this gratefulness/happiness comment was 2 pghs after I found out that someone named Teri Gault stole my idea independently had a genius idea about grocery cost tracking but actually implemented it. On The Grocery Game one can get prices on items from various local grocery stores. Heh. Well, it entertains me that someone else had a similar idea to mine and makes it work.

The reason I have this magazine is that a friend of mine renewed my lapsed subscription thinking we could choose a recipe each month, make it on each coast, and compare. Have we? No. Life exploded. But I like this friend and want to keep in touch and isn't she the sweetest for thinking of it? This month has any number of recipes (lower fat cinnamon rolls, easy sausage rolls) and quick dinners that I want to try - they're either a twist on something I make a lot of or something I'd want to make a lot of if it works out. I'll be trying to give that idea a go this month, then. Back on the homefront, I got to have lunch with my friend again - we aim for every wednesday but the last 8-10 weeks have mostly not worked out.

We won again at trivia. Only instead of our recent two people, we had 8. Our team founder, my coworker, is out on medical disability and not having a great time of it. Got the usual losing weight, feeling terrible, too tired to socialize thing going on. So it was good to see him out and about with his wife and other friends of theirs. Plus with them there, we held our lead through the sports round - where did team X reloacate from? I knew one; all together, our team got double on the double or nothing that requires all correct answers.

The thing that made me happiest today happened midafternoon. I went over to a local machine shop. (There are many nearby. I find this thrilling.) I tested out and picked up a wafer handling tool I designed to use for handloading some wafers into a tool before we complete the conversion of the automated handler. It works, and it came from my brain, started as a sketch on paper, and is now a fun little tool.

Turns out I do feel better now, and more settled. I heard from work about my tool qual which is still in progress but looking good. Better than I'd feared. Maybe my process actually is robust enough now to take a licking and keep on ticking. I'm confident enough after this last check in that even if it gets put available tonight, I'll be ok with it. Now hopefully I can sleep because I have a ticket for "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me" tomorrow in Santa Barbara and I want to be awake for both the show and the drive home.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Solstice Selection

I've managed to read through most of my birthday book purchases (a large armful) and have really enjoyed most of them. Just in time for the solstice, I finished Jessica Andersen's Sky Keepers.
amazons cover art image It's a paranormal romance, which is to say it's a Fantasy novel that doesn't shy away from the fact that humans have sex in their adult relationships. And unlike most SciFi/Fantasy/Paranormal books J.Andersen's series is based on Mayan mythology, incorporating the important things like blood sacrifice and corn, so it reads as true to some degree. With less need to suspend disbelief about those details, because she gets it right, one can save it for the big stuff she created for the story.

The premise is that the Mayan calendar "end time" is approaching in 2012 (true) and that there will be a big battle with demons and whatnot (not true, the fiction part of the story). There should have been a big protection force but they made some errors and were nearly wiped out. The remainder were late coming to their birthright (bloodline duties, really) and not all are totally excited about their upcoming prophecied future, or what of that prophecy they can find. Pairing up helps boost their magical energies, so the few remaining "mages" are living in a protected home and scrambling to reconstruct the prophecies and train as the protective "Nigghtkeepers" but are still finding mates. On the whole, I like the series and I think this book is the best of the three so far.

I do have some critiques of the series. In the world building - while humans are essentially pack animals, and the whole gang is based on inheritance, they wind up with a "king". For a bunch of people raised in 1980+'s America, I think the group accepted the concept of king WAAAAY too easily. More easily than the king, really. And while she makes the women powerful, the very nature of kingship is that of shutting women out of the the highest power roles, and subservient in the power structure, which I find grating. Although to do otherwise would probably grate for others because of the mythological basis in a paternalistic warlike culture. I don't think enough was done to see them adjusting to acceding to obeying a king since they weren't raised to, even the ones who were raised with the relevant stories. I don't like ritual subservience generally, is more my point though. If you're going to bust out of the traditional mythos, go even bigger.

They're very into fighting. It's what they're needed for. After reading military based romances this doesn't bother me, but what does is that the couple who ran a dojo in their previous lives (before moving and rejoining the group) are somehow NOT the people in charge of personal combat training. I find that odd allocation of resources a little jarring.

I'm also of two minds about her tying the start of her Mayan mythos to Egypt. In reality, people migrated so it makes sense, but I think the story wouldn't suffer without it. Sky Keepers was the first book where the Egypt tie-in didn't just feel like an unnecessary add-on, in that it was more incorporated, but I don't think it added anything to do so, aside from having a defined start and reset points for the mythos. So unless it becomes increasingly necessary, I find myself wishing it was self-contained on the Americas with no ties to Egypt. Story elements that just add drag to a story for the sake of future books aren't always as necessary to a reader as an author thinks they are. If you include them, make sure they have a place in the story you're telling NOW, so when you reference it later it makes the reader feel like they had a bonus, not like they need to study up.

The relationships are done pretty well. In this last one, I thought hero boy Michael not opening up to either heroine Sasha or his king for most of the book was annoying but he had a good reason and it wound up working. The heroine in this book was particularly capable and good at keeping it real but still rolling with the paranormal punches. I really enjoyed Sasha particularly. The secondary characters are integrated. I wouldn't mind more detail from them but they're fine as is. I am concerned that their main baddy-bad Iago is the classic overable villain. How is it that he's so powerful and all-knowing, comparatively? I'm guessing the answer comes later because the characters ask this question too. At a guess, it takes a second to wreck it; it takes time to build. Villany is just easier than fighting villany because the means are part of the end. Still.

More positively, the big conflagration battle in this one didn't have everyone starting at empty like the last one, only to need to amp it up to 11 an improbable 5 or 6 times before the end. In this case there was some fighting, but the conclusion and abilities seemed more probable given the setup. And while the characters were stretched nearly to breaking, they were not ridiculously stretched thin.

That said, it's easier to find what annoys me than what doesn't generally and this "Final Prophecy" series is pretty good. It's not my favorite series ever or the easiest read, but I find it readable enough to keep picking up. Sky Keepers did not prompt me to pick up my pencil and "talk back" to the characters, which is something I've taken to doing when I get fed up with characters or writing. The story is dense enough to hold my interest, although I think it could use some tightening as I sometimes notice being infodumped the backstory. It's novel and the women are strong. She gives honor to pair bonds, family bond, friend bonds, and team bonds, as well as god and earth and home bonds. It's interesting enough for me to want to send my comments to the author as feedback, so the books get "better" although I'm not sure it would be helpful to her so much as it would be for me, so I'll leave it here and she can google it if she wants. Lastly, the bit about the books being set on the Mayan calendar means they pay particular homage to equinoxes and solstices. Like today. Proof that it's fiction, I'm not feeling any power surges like the characters do. I'm mostly just sleepy today.

I wonder what book is next on the TBR.

Seedless Solstice

Seedless. I've ranted a bit before about seedless watermelon. Probably the reason I haven't done so more often is that I've been laying off it for a while since I seem to have a slight allergy to it that involves making me feel "off" after eating it and a mild flush to the skin. But I love it and was craving some a few weeks ago, and I got another this weekend in my Great Kitchen Restock trip.

Yet again, the watermelon is seedless. It's sweet enough, but the flavor is not complex or forceful, and the color is a dull and unappealing pinkish orange. I wonder if it's the season, the variety, or the seedlessness. I know some people think that enjoying fruit with seeds in it is like flaming about the awesomeness of dialup from a T1 line, but damn. What the hell is wrong with at least allowing me to choose a fruit with seeds?

And I can probably answer that: given the choice of seedless or flavor, I chose flavor but 80% or so of other people pick seedless. Instead of stocking the same grapes in seedless and seeded, the store will offer 3 varieties of seedless. (And frankly, grapes don't seem to suffer from being seedless except maybe the concords which I still buy with seeds.) And if stores lose money on seeded watermelons, I can't blame them for not offering them. But I do wish they did.

I do wonder how growing up seedless will affect the coming generations, aside from no watermelon seed spitting contests. At least cherries still have pits.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Curiouser and Curiouser

I got an email this morning from a friend on the East Coast, Waltham, to be more exact, saying "hey, there's this dude from Waltham doing a pictorial dictionary booksigning in LA tonight, are you close enough to go?" And I was close enough and interested enough. I've been keeping my Webster's out on top of the scrabble box these days, close at hand. I love me a good booksigning with author presentation. (I am sad that there are no Cakewrecks signings in LA that I know of.) Almost every time I go to a signing of an unknown to me author, I get suckered into buying their book by the tale they tell.

Tonight was no different, in that I bought signed books, except the author is more of a graphic artist/bookbinder. He became fascinated with an old family dictionary that had all the pictures placed in a supplement, then became obsessed. I think anyone who produces a piece of art requiring 10 years of dedication to that project is a little out of their mind. Or rather a little too much in their mind. But standing in a beautiful bookstore devoted to graphics, I realized that most of the work in there was produced by driven, crazy people. The ones that don't become divorced from reality (or have a good support staff) actually manage get their works published. Such is the case with John Carrera who produced expensive handbound, hand published copes of his book, but managed to find a mass producing printer to print decent copes for 100X less.
the book the book
Pictorial Webster is the work he spent 10 years on. He got the engravings from Yale, catalogued them, sorted them, found funky connections, designed the pages for them to go on, and printed it up. Tonight, he gave a quirky and delightful presentation to his family, a bunch of designers and moi, a booksigning junkie. The way he put some iamges together can be linked directly to classic rock and surreal art. I'm looking forward to paging through my mass market copy to see if I can find stories, or music, in the images too. I especially wanted to see if he put in an image of "arms akimbo" since I have such a hard time finding that. Even my dictionary is pretty non-specific about what that means.

Just before the presentation started, I realized that instead of focusing on all the beautiful design books (I covet the small $60 Shepard Fairey with the cutout cover of Andre), I should have been mingling, mixing. But I can be dumb about social opportunities. Luckily, after asking a softball question - "was this a full time endeavor?" answer, "It became one, and involved a lot of childcare. Here's me printing with my daughter in a Snugli." - his sister invited me to an afterparty where I got to chat with perfect strangers and had a wonderful time. We discussed my developing midlife crisis, the effect of the 20th Maine on the civil war, favorite oddball sandwiches (ham and hummus, yam-avocado and other good stuff, ham and jelly), San Diego bakeries, east coast/west coast, university jobs and so on. At the end of the evening, I brought up the "akimbo" question only to find that his sister's company is "Akimbo" something or other.

Turns out that "arms akimbo" is standing with your hands on hips, elbows cocked out, usually with an attitude. Hands can be forward or back. I snapped a picture of people rocking the akimbo pose and made my way home. Strangely the traffic couldn't have been better coming and going, and I had just a delightful time.

So go buy a copy of this (or the flashcards or the stamp set!) and find your own fun. Like the page with a "galosh" next to another "galosh". Or the series of pages headed: FISH, MORE FISH, ONE FISH, TWO FISH,.... SMALL FISH, SMART FISH, BIG FISH, GO FISH...DEAD FISH. Tee hee!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Second Run

Living nearish to Hollywood (when compared with, say, Boston), there are plenty of movie theaters around, many of which are quite nice. I hardly ever go. Usually I think "well, I don't want to spend the afternoon in the dark", or "well, I think I'd rather eat dinner", or "meh, maybe I'll go tomorrow". Turns out that movies just cost more to go see than they're worth to me.

I'd given up on finding one, but just tonight, by chance, I found the local second run theater. It's a little ghetto, obviously no stadium seating, but for $3 a flick, I didn't even stiff them on the double feature, which I totally could have. (And had I paid $11 for the show, would have.) I'm thinking my movie viewing rate will pick up dramatically. Plus, it's near the vietnamese place.

I'd been meaning to see "Up!" the animated balloon travel adventure, and then I noticed they also had Extract - by Mike Judge creator of Beavis and Butthead among other things. I'd assumed Up was long gone, but apparently parents take their kids to it at 9:30pm enough to keep it going. And no wonder, it's a ride and a half. Exquisite animations and several cycles of story, and talking dogs! Loved it.

Extract was a little slower, but had beautiful people in it and it was fun. Less dense than Up, if you can believe it, but turned the tables on Office Space and told the tale of the business from the owner's point of view. It's about a chemist who is "living the dream" having built a business from a childhood idea and a solid education, but is at risk of it going under, has a dull home life with his wife, and is thinking about selling when there's an injury accident at work. Good, solid characters, gigolos, thievery, and a didgeridoo sized bong. I think if they package it as a double feature with the blue-ray release of Office Space it could earn some solid cult following. It was only missing Parker Posey.

Got any movies I should put on my list now that I'm able to see them for $3?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hip Hop Blues

The three clearest radio stations in my little valley are NPR and two hip-hop stations. While I could blame it on the al-al-al-al-al-alcohol, it's more my ears and wiring that are weird. I have such paranoic tendencies when I drive that I have to change the channel whenever a song contains noises that are too similar to:
  • emergency vehicles
  • radar detector
  • phone ringtones
  • car part failures
Turns out hip hop these days contains a lot of those. The extra bonus is when both stations are playing the same song at the same time,NPR is irritating, and I'm in a KROQ dead zone.

Speaking of NPR, which doesn't always annoy me, I'm donating to the cause for a "Wait, Wait! Don't tell me!" ticket next week.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How to Patch an Aerobed

I think I've come up with two reasonable ways to patch an aerobed. It's harder than slapping the provided sticky plastic patch on. In my experience, the holes occur at the edges of the tufts - the tie-down like areas that keep it from being an aeroball. These are hard areas to get to and to patch. They're even harder to find. A mere 2mm hole will empty the bed in 2 hours, a pinprick will take several more What is necessary is a patch that is permanently affixed but preferably flexible.

aerobed patches that work, both require purple primer:
1) reach the inside of the bed through the outlet valve. Scrunch up the bed until you can reach the hole it took you 2 hours to find. (Ok to mark with permanent marker.) With a q-tip, apply purple primer to the area around the hole and to a bit of that provided plastic patch (or some other bit of vinyl from the junk drawer). Then coat the patch bit with PVC Cement and affix it to the inside. Hold until it stays by itself. Let it set for 30-60 minutes before re-inflating halfway to check the bond. Wait another hour or two for full inflation.

1a) Ok to put similar patch on the outside with purple primer and PVC cement because it helps the interior patch bond.

2) Purple primer and caulk. From the outside, with the bed deflated about halfway, dab on a small amount of purple primer around the hole, using enough that some goes inside the hole. Then squeeze in caulk. I used DAP Kwik Seal. This should form a plug on the inside which is what we're looking for. Mine has been drying for 5 hours now, so it should be fine (2 hours sets the stuff). I'll let you know if it holds during use. I should probably reinflate the mattress to full before pronouncing this working, but it didn't bubble from the start and the purple primer holds it to the bed.

After the patches, I put a bandage of sorts over them to prevent chafing by the bedding. I use an isotonic foam topper on my aerobed. I have a sheet between it and the foam, and a mattress pad over the foam. To prevent all this from causing even more friction, I put a cotton ball and tape over the patch after it's dry. The tape doesn't stick fabulously, but it works well enough. (Duct, pipe, or electrical works best.)

I do love sleeping on my aerobed, but I am getting a little tired of these little holes popping up. For $200, I expect a little more than 16 or so months out of the thing. Here's hoping the $2-6 each for purple primer and PVC cement and $3-5 or so for a tube of kitchen caulk does the trick. If the plain ol' caulk plug doesn't work, I'll put the inner patch on it before I give up, probably using a combination of PVC cement and caulk. Theprevious inside patch seems to be holding up ok.

Aerobed Patches that don't work (w/ or w/o patch):
- sticking that provided patch on as-is
- hot glue
- caulk without primer
- contact cement
- super glue
- duct tape (inside or out)
- electrical tape (inside or out)
- yarn covered in glue that is shoved through the hole from the outside like fixing a flat (although I haven't tried it since I discovered the purple primer trick)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Butters' Birthday

I caught the South Park rerun last night where Cartman pretends to be a robot called A.W.E.S.O.M.-O to get some secrets from Butters. Butters has a throwaway line mentioning tha this birthday is 9/11. So Happy Birthday Butters! Have some patriotic donut holes.

Me, I get to spend the afternoon in a federal building trying to fight a speeding ticket. I still find it suspicious that the only speeding tickets I get in a dozen years or more occur during a downturn in the economy. Especially since I got laughed at by colleagues claiming, "but that's standard cruising speed on the 101". I know!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Known Noses

Whoo hoo! Our little two lady team came in first again at trivia. We got two double or nothings and could have gotten three. Our weakness, sports, was listing losing baseball world series teams. Turns out we knew those. Actually felt like I contributed this week - especially on the picture round! It was people with weird noses. THAT was a picture round I could do. As someone who has issues with my own nose, I notice other people's noses. Double or nothing for 20 points :)

The upside of going to college in New England was seeing just how much worse a nose could be. I actually considered not moving to the LA area because I was worried that the old desire for a nose job would re-emerge. It kind of has, but not in an "I can't think about anything else with this honker in the way" way, but in a "they do know how to do that here, maybe I should consider taking advantage" way. But I think I should take care of my eyes first, although the down economy has me waffling.

I am, however, going to be lasering my toenails tomorrow because they are awful and 3 years of near daily treatment with anything I can try and they're only getting worse. Prescriptions, OTC, herbal, plain ol blach - nothin' doin.

But back to the trivia. The drinking round was flying a paper airplane for distance and we missed it by a nose. It was an overlap into 2nd place. But since we won both the trivia AND the drinks last week, I think it was healthy for us to not quite win that, as the competing teams on the patio let us leave alive.


I love fun happenstance of number patterns. I find that I very often notice the time when it's 12:34, for instance. Today has a bunch of nines. I wonder if I'll remember to be by a clock at 9:09:09 PM?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

I spent a good deal of time in the noonday sun this weekend. I always forget how much making vitamin D exhausts me, so this was written after a pretty long nap.

Saturday I met up with some book club ladies. One of us is moving out of the country in a couple weeks so we used a going away party as an excuse to drive to San Diego for a sandwich. Sadly, it was about 2 weeks too late to catch the lady merely moving out of state. The destination might seem far for a sandwich, but it's not much farther to SD than to Santa Monica from where most of the ladies live in OC, our inland attendee can get to SD easier, and I like going there. We met for lunch at the Hotel Del Coronado, had drinks and delicious sandwiches then shopped for a bit at the Hotel (no new sandals for me this time) and meandered into town for some decent gelato.

We rescued the car from valet parking about 10 minutes before the parking charges went out of control, and decided not to re-park on the street and head back to watch the sand sparkle in the sun. It was the right choice as we were all pretty tired after getting up early on a saturday and driving, but it still feels weird as that beach is one of the draws. We did walk along it, but didn't get the sand in the tootsies. And the cute valet boy liked my car. Me too. It got 4 of us back safely and in style.

Sunday was slow - I met up with my trivia friend to see Inglorious Basterds. When we got to theater, we realized it was only playing in the spiffy theater that costs an extra $10 so couples can share a loveseat. We didn't really need the date special or the extra cost, and decided to look elsewhere. Thanks to her iPhone, that was no challenge. We did get an hour or so to kill so we headed for Anthopologie and went shopping. I found several things that not only fit, but flattered and were on sale so I went crazy. She found an expensive shirt but it was unique and cute as a button so she splurged too.

The movie was odd. It had little bursts of violence but not anything like what one might be used to from QT. I think the tough thing was that while the antagonist was obvious (antagonists/were), there didn't seem to be a clear protagonist, especially not in the first scene. And even the good guys were not so good and pure in heart and soul - there was definitely the issue of when in war, people do things that are awful, even the ones who are ultimately doing good. Odd bursts of humor were scattered thoughout. I noticed that the movie was a little slower paced, but don't really have a judgment on if that was good or bad. The camera wasn't all jumpy and for that I have to give thanks. Lastly, those were the fastest credits I've seen in 15 years. It left me feeling good about the film.

Today, I met up with another book club friend for lunch and a walk. We checked out a furnishings store near the restaurant that had a really unique square dining table that rotated slightly and flipped out to an octagon. After that brief foray in the shade, we got down to business and went over to get our walk on. In that noonday sun. With hats, water, and a moderate pace, it was a nice little walk, but dang it was hot out. Over the mountains at the edge of the valley there was a largepyrocumulus cloud mar, king the fire on the far side. It looked like a mushroom cloud when I first saw it but had streamed out into a blah sort of thing by the time I got somewhere I could take a picture. We resolved to walk at a more sensible time on our next outing and parted ways. The park was very crowded, the guy who got my space after waiting for me to brush some serious dust off my feet liked the car too :)

I washed the rest of teh dust off my feet by swimming a few laps at the pool. Before I was overcome by napping, I tried once again to use PVC glue to fix the slow leak in the aerobed. But my cement was old and set so I tossed on the hippy housedress and ran out for more. I picked up a watermelon while I was at it. I don't think they like me much, but there was nothing else in the world I really wanted today, so what the hell. After the nap, it's been TV, slitherlink puzzles, and blogging. No scrabble today, since I stayed up too late last night with it.

Well, aside from 2 calls from work, that was my labor day weekend. Not bad, not bad. How was yours?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Scrabbled Brains

My word recall is heading straight for the express handbasket, so I've pulled out my scrabble set and am practicing. For more entertainment, I found a scrabble word finder and use that to check the other option I come up with something. kind of addicting.

yes, I'm using it to procrastinate uploading pictures. But I did make kitchen progress, finally! Flake boy stopped being flaky for a brief moment of time and lent me his grinder and backyard so I could raise a cloud of dust to rival nearby ash plumes. The tiles, they are clean, the floor has been scraped, and the tiles can be re-laid. whoo!

If you're wondering, I'm actually not close to the current fires. I'm not even seeing any ash in the air. It has been hot and dry and wonderful. It's like having a second week of summer!