Monday, January 28, 2008

Neopolitan fluff

So Chef Kim came down to visit this past weekend with SO and canine in tow. A good time was had by all! Roxie and Viggo both loved running around with Theo (they all took turns being on the bottom of the pile up), though Viggo particularly liked the "Let's run around the table as fast as we can and as many times as we can" games with Theo. I think Theo has perfected the stop and reverse direction to confuse your enemy move that Roxie used to use on him, though it was not very effective on the slippery parts of the floor... ;-)

As per her usual, Kim brought along a host of treats and goodies (for human and k9 alike) for all to enjoy. And while she has brought homemade marshmallows before in both vanilla (my favorite that or honey anyway) and chocolate (very tasty), this time she brought raspberry marshmallows! Ok, she brought vanilla, chocolate, AND raspberry ones. I put them all together to make a Neapolitan mallow. Ok not exactly a classic Neapolitan... but they are good!

I figured I'd have to take a picture right then, because the homemade mallows don't survive very long in our house. *grin* And NO, I'm not sharing them. Just think of the seagulls in Finding Nemo, and that is close enough to it.

Aside from the tasty treats, thoughtful presents, and warm toasty hand knitted goodies, Kim and Geno also got me introduced to a new game. (I semi-collect games and like almost all kinds btw.) It's a card based game called Munchkin. Well that's the original, the version of it we played was called "The Good, The Bad, and the Munchkin" which takes the original and puts an "Old West" spin on it. There are several other variants as well including ones that incorporate spies (Munchkin Impossible), marital arts (Munchkin Fu), space travel (Star Munchkin), vampires (Munchkin Bites), super heroes (Super Munchkin), Munchkin Cthulhu, and more on the way. Those are all the core sets, and many have expansion packs that add cards and entertainment value, and ones that help mix different types of the game together so you can have things like... I dunno... space cowboys! Maybe call it Firefly Munchkin. These are games from Steve Jackson, who also made another game I had played and enjoyed called Illuminati. He apparently has a whole bunch of other things out there, that I may have to investigate.
Now... to find myself a version locally...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Could it be?

Could it be new images from the surface of yet another planet or asteroid?

Check out those crags!

Ok ok. It's not a new satellite. It's a chocolatey dessert!

Da Wife was nice to me and made me some brownies! Ok they were an experiment of a new kind of brownie. Organic brownies from Whole Foods. The mix contained some chocolate chunks and I must say was pretty tasty. It got the perfect crust consistency (I'm an edge man), and the extra boost of chocolate was delicious. They were the 365 Organic brownies in the green box.

I was also pleasantly welcomed home today by a yummy dinner of mild Italian sausages (chicken) from Giant. That with some onions and mushrooms over a soft bed of rice. Yum! I dunno what I did right, but I sure hope I do it again! Thanks Wife!

Thank goodness it's almost Friday! (and I'm glad we seemed to have dodged the snow bullet so to speak today).

Monday, January 21, 2008

Uh... Surely he's kidding

OK. This is on a lot of sites now, but I came across this... and well... I couldn't NOT say SOMETHING!

Response to post on ZDNet.

Now... this guy HAS to be kidding. He just has to. If he's not, then I need to seriously consider not reading anything online anymore. He's either a comedic genius, a plant for Micro$oft, or... dragging the intelligence bell curve down for us all.

But wait, there's more. That was apparently the tip of the iceberg. He's got a fan club (apparently I'm WAAAY late and this is all current pop internet culture. Why doesn't anyone tell me these things!?!?! Clearly - he's a troll.)

Jerry Lee Cooper

Sunday, January 20, 2008

And now with Style

According to the quiz at the top of this page, I'm Classy!

Though... I'm not sure if the perfect date with... Mr. Right is necessarily a valid question. And as for the choices in hats... I'm not much for bonnets and sun hats. Maybe a cowboy hat or a ball cap.

Clearly this survey was designed with women in mind. (What's that? A survey on HGTV's website aimed at women?! I could die from not surprise!) Some of those questions were tough choices! I mean... is it the comfy looking chair? Or the hot pink striped one?

Just a bit of levity to start of the week. Not that I need reminding to not take myself seriously or anything. (ok ok... it's all Da Wife's fault for sending me the link!)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Extreme Edutainment

Ok this article is both reassuring as it is frightening. I'm all for people helping other people and having individuals expand their horizons, but a gamer using a game to treat my injuries? Slightly disturbing, this one turned out well, and I'm glad someone was there to assist, but is this really the way we want to have people trained? Good thing it wasn't an argument/conflict... the game would've taught him to shoot the one wearing clothes the most different from his own.

Perhaps I'm looking at it from the wrong angle...

Perhaps we should see this as an opportunity. A chance to reach out to the gamers out there. It could be a way to teach almost anything, including all the topics that are a favorite here on the Blog O'Scorn. Including literacy, driving skills, parenting, manners, relationships, and anything else I've ranted on. I can see the games changing now... Racing games turn into games that see how high you can get your MPG while retaining the fewest points on your license, or for parenting, high scores depending on how good of a citizen they turn into...

Perhaps a new day is dawning on an educated society that teaches itself by gaming.
(Ah well... good to have dreams, right?)

Quit Clownin' Around

There has been a frightening new tide of anti-clownism, though the clowns would disagree. (Bozophobia? Ok ok. It's really called Coulrophobia.)
Straight from the article: "We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable." Granted that was a sampling of 250 children, and I would like to see the study repeated with American children as well. However I don't think the results would be very different. Times have changed. Once Stephen King's "IT" came out... clowns went from mysterious to murderous and scary.

Pennywise (Tim Curry did a fabulous job in this role btw) started a downward spiral of red noses. And "They all float down here!" Just plain creepy. Good job Mr. King.

I for one am ok with fewer clowns, but want to keep clowning around. Can we retain silly behavior without requiring the makeup caked faces? I've never been thrilled with them. Though the final blow was struck when two phobias converged in one spot. One of my step-brothers had a ventriloquist dummy... that's right the clown looking one. The REALLY creepy looking one that bore a remarkable resemblance to the evil possessed clown toy in Poltergeist.

(eeek ok I need to stop looking at the bad pictures!)

So clown plus evil possession, plus dummies that come to life like in Twilight Zone and there was even a Fantasy Island episode where the dummy came to life too.... yep. I was all done with clowns, dummies, and anything where they joined up.

But even the ones that aren't trying to look creepy, just the fact that the behavior is out of the norm and that they hide themselves just gives off a bad vibe. I still have no idea how they can think that "in general" they are at even the very best, neutral. If not down right disturbing. I mean wouldn't you rather see cute puppies than clowns?!

Sleep tight, and hope that if the clowns come to get you, that you've got your twisted balloon pistol ready for 'em!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Christmas and the cattle drive

Yep! It's Number 3 of "Yes. I drove 3,000 miles for Christmas!"

Today readers, we briefly go over Christmas and then delve into the rich in character cow town area of Fort Worth - The Stockyards! (Here's a link to 25 things to love about Fort Worth!)

Christmas in Texas, it was nice to get away (since I usually do NOT travel on holidays) and with all the changes and updates the Rents have done, the house looks great. And hey... I didn't have to wrestle with a tree this year. (Though I would've helped take it down if we left later!) Even Roxie had fun, as Santa managed to find her so far from home. Here she is guarding Pop-pop's gifts so that no one takes them.

Pop-pop was thankful for the protection, as he was engrossed in a 20Q, an electronic version of the game 20 questions that freakishly gets your guess right quite a bit!

He was always very pleased when he managed to outsmart that "new fangledy contraption".

Then Christmas took a turn to tools, and lots of 'em!

Pop-pop is never happy unless he's sawing, cutting, pruning, or otherwise "adjusting" a tree, shrubbery, or plant. And when he's not doing that... he's gardening. (I need to hire him out around here... I have several terraforming projects he'd be perfect for!) Seriously though, he singlehandedly transformed the area around the pool (at his house) from the old wooden landscape timbers the he, my brother, and I originally installed (ok HE installed and WE carried). It's now a garden oasis ringed by beautiful and large Crape-myrtles with several tiers of precisely cut and aligned castle stone walls with stone caps. I meant to grab some photos while I was out back, but guess I'll have to do that next time!

Later in the week, we all went to the Fort Worth Stockyards. The last vestige of wild west characters, and longhorn cattle in the streets. A fun place to visit, eat, shop, and be entertained.
When we first got there, these two strangers caught my eye, and thinking of a blog I frequently check, I took one in the spirit of it.

The whole area still had decorations up (it was only a couple days after Christmas people, not like it was Valentine's day or anything!), and I grabbed a shot of the Rents.

Don't Nana and Pop-pop look adorable?! I thought it was funny that he was "gettin' the boot". What? Not everyone has big light-up boots on their lawn for the holidays? For shame!

After we took their photo, I saw the perfect next photo-op! This guy and his "friend" have been plying the streets downtown for as long as I can remember (so like a week).

His name is "Big Jake" and is truly a gentle soul. Unless there's an incredibly rude and foolish boy with inattentive parents that continually runs up ad shouts at the BULL's face. After Jake's owner AND I both told the boy it wasn't safe to scare the bull, one of his parents FINALLY noticed that their son was going to be gored (or worse) and managed to bribe him away with more candy and pleading. Oh... wait.. HA! You thought "How could he possibly slip a blog o' scorn post in with fun thoughts of the holidays?" THAT'S how! Sorry... back to the story.
The guy did offer for me to get up on Jake, but when I asked Jake he just looked at me and said "Uhh... maybe next week? Big Steve will be here and he's even bigger!" ok.. he said *SNORT*, but I think he meant the former.

Not too long after we stopped burdening Jake, the twice daily cattle drive (ok it's symbolic since they only drive like 15 head) down main street began. The line police were VERY vocal, prolly because that stupid kid from paragraph above kept jumping into the street after the cops said about... oh... I dunno about thirty times to get up on the curb. (one of them eventually went to where the Anti-Darwinian child and family were, and that seemed to "curb" him in a little) I have a little video footage of the drive, but I couldn't see through the viewfinder (held at arms length) and the quality is... well it leaves something to be desired unless you like the old Batman TV show fight scenes. (Yes James, you can see it if you want too, and I'll even make sounds like BAM and POW!)

After the herd was put up, the trail boss came back around. I stopped to chat with him and "Lil Texas" for a bit. He was just a really nice man. And Lil TX loved his ear scratch.

But then we didn't say "Howdy Y'all!" loud enough when prompted, and we were immediately incarcerated!

Fortunately, the Rents were able to explain that we didn't live around "these parts", and the local "man" relented and allowed us to leave. (as long as agreed when told "Y'all come back now, hear?") Somewhere in there we had a great lunch together too! (Not BBQ...the OTHER Texas food in abundance... Tex-Mex! I had a yummy enchilada and a tamale that was almost as good as Nana makes. Nothin' beats homemade...)

To further assuage the locals, we shopped through many of the stores. We picked up some odds and ends for the house, and then Da Wife found her favorite T-shirt...

She was excited that she might be able to win several "heats". My money is on her, now where did I put my chili recipe...

A good time was had by all, and I'd love to go visit again. Anyone working on that teleportation thing yet? It'd be nice to skip the 4 days in the car. Either way, I think there will be more trips.


This was the final post in the "Fort Worth Series", thank you for your support.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Zoo

...(and other highpoint Scrabble words)

Installment 2 of "so you wanna drive to Texas for a vacation - have you had your head examined?" series.
Today's topic regards the trip Da Wife and I took to the Fort Worth Zoo.
I've always liked the entrance.

Who wouldn't want to be guarded by attack Rhinos?!

On first going in, we opted for the primate house. It seems as though Da Wife met up with a distant relative of some sort. They even snack the same way...

I'm just glad she doesn't have snacks like the male in that enclosure. The big silver back was up top, and he had certainly seemed to have enough of all the visitors that were tapping the glass and making faces at him, so once a big crowd was gathered, he took a "fresh sample" and took a big bite. The screams of horror from the crowd seemed to fill him with gruff satisfaction as he turned away to lumber off. I was amused.

After the primate house you tour around a boardwalk that has a variety of other displays. None of those pictures came out well and honestly it was a tad cold out for many of the animals. I did however try for a JamesF "art" photo, when I came across these berries.

Not exactly as I had seen them in my mind, but close enough. The contrast and placement in real life was much better (and my 'shop skillz are only so-so). The humor behind this bit is, as I was taking the pic, several people stopped and kept staring into the shrub trying to spot the "animal" I was busily shooting. I eventually stopped and told them I was just taking pictures of the plant...

After the boardwalk ended, we strolled through flamingo alley. It's a nice (smallish) enclosure with two sides. The southside flamingos are below...

All that plush pink plumage, too bad they don't taste like pink chicken.
Here's one of their neighbors from northside:

He seems like he's not getting enough sun. But I guess if they were tan, they'd have a different name then wouldn't they?

From there we headed over to the Elephants and the Asian Falls area.

most of the elephants and hippos refused to offer a good angle for a shot, but the hippo was funny chasing a ball around the pool. Across from them, we watched the giraffes for a bit.

and between the giraffes and us was a large pond filled with coi.

(I did later see a boy cranking, shaking, and generally abusing the fish food machine to eke out a pellet or 3, all while the parents looked on passively. No blog o'scorn on this today, but it bothered me all the same. I'm not talking shaking it a little, I mean I thought he would pull the box out of its housing at one point, or rip the handle off... *sigh*)
***And now back to your regularly scheduled program!

As we wandered around the falls, an area they carved out of a hillside that's got some lovely exhibits, we came across this aptly named sunbear catching the last rays of the day.

I was really lucky on that shot, as soon after taking it, the bear rolled over and headed to dinner.

We moved on the reptile house, and saw this brightly colored tomato frog nestled in the rocks.

A little later we caught a fraternity prank in progress.

I swear they were trying to moon everyone...

Traveling by the "Outback" exhibits, I caught this gang, lallygagging about.

There was also a LARGE joey "How you doin'?" (no not really that Joey), taking what had to be his LAST drink from mom... that or he left his favorite action figure in his room and was looking for it.

We moved on to a Texas Wild area that had all kinds of fun shots (most of which didn't come out quite right). And I'm not sure if it was annual review time, and this guy was trying to get a big raise or what, but I hope he gets a good merit increase!

Then we were ATTACKED!
I did all I could to save us from a large, angry, and ferocious (and brass) croc!

"Awww... ain't she a beaut?! Right... so I'm jus gonna go over there, and jump on his back!"

We wandered the rest of the way through the swamp/wetlands exhibits, and then headed on our way back out. We passed a pleasant little waterfall area that I wanted to get a shot of. (I like waterfalls apparently, since I got married at them AND honeymooned near them. Who knew?)

Several of the larger areas (like a giant walk through aviary) were closed due to renovations at the zoo, and it looks like they have 2 HUGE projects going on there. I'd like to see it when they're done, and perhaps when it is warmer and more critters are out and about.

Stay tuned for the next story: "Christmas and the cattle drive"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

On the road again

This is the start of the "Trip to Texas" blog series. Yes, it's been a week (plus), but I am getting around to it now. =P

This first installment goes over a few of the "on the road" details. A one-way trip here involved 1,344 miles (well that's according to Google maps, the actual distance for the whole trip was over 3,000 miles) and an overnight stay. Roxie was none too thrilled with the whole idea of car travel:

But once in Dad (or Mom's) lap....

...everything was ok!

You can read more about Roxie's trip over on Da Wife's blog.

Probably the most upsetting part of the trip was all of the car accidents we saw. I believe there were 7 in total (on the way down), 4 automobiles and 3 big rigs. Most of the VA driving wasn't too bad (I think we passed one single car accident near Blacksburg, and another "somewhere" along 81 in VA (didn't note where). It wasn't until we got to Tennessee...

...that the trouble all started:

Yeah. "Welcome to Tennessee. Are your brakes functional?" So we spent a good deal of time waiting for this line of cars to clear up, and finally saw what the problem was (look on the right side of the pic).

...a big truck had decided to try and create his own exit and ramp. Needless to say, he did NOT succeed. We did come across 2 other truck accidents while driving through TN, the worst one was a rig off the road on the right hand side... facing the wrong way and buried into the woods a good 15 yards. They had 3 of the rig tow trucks all chained to it trying to pull it free, but it looked like they couldn't manage. All in all the trucks were a pretty big annoyance and menace the whole way down. (Though they did help a bit in the license plate game, Da Wife and I wound up playing.)

Tennessee did have a big hit though... we stopped for BBQ at a place in Knoxville, TN called Buddy's Bar-B-Q. VERY good stuff, if you're ever driving through TN, pick some up. I recommend the chop sammich and don't forget the potato salad!!

Once we got to Arkansas, I managed to snap this picture (at about 72 miles an hour, forgive the grains!)

You may not be able to see, but that is a continuous line of white birds. It stretched VERY far to either side of the camera, and seemed to be almost surreal in its endlessness. Until it ended. Then it seemed very real, but big. That's about the only noteworthy point in AR.

From there it was on to TX and about dinner time (for seniors) when we pulled over in Sulphur Spring. We decided to grab a semi-early dinner at a BBQ joint around the corner. When in Rome do as the Romans, but if you're not into bulimia, then go somewhere else. We were in BBQ land, so we had BBQ. The place in town was called Bodacious Bar-B-Q, and man it was tremendous! (I later found out it was an East-Texas chain that even had a store in Arlington, TX near Fort Worth [our destination].) The brisket was fantastic, and very well trimmed so not as greasy as some BBQ can get. It was good enough for us to stop there on the way back home and pick some up to have later!

Stay tuned for the next in belated stories. Next chapter is The Zoo (and other high point scrabble words).

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A good ribbing

Well... more like a bad ribbing. Ok, ONE in particular. It seems as though I have a subluxated (or slipped) rib. Somewhere around number 8-10 on my right side. If you press lightly on my chest you can easily feel the asymmetry around my sternum (ask Da Wife, who now refuses to touch the raised injury saying things like "Eeek Eeek! Get that away from me!").
This has happened before several times, and usually goes away on its own after some time and rest (and some stretching). However this time, I foolishly decided to move furniture on Monday with Da Wife. This caused a small increase of inflammation in the subluxation, and a MAJOR increase in the pain. Normally it's uncomfortable, and gives me a small ache in the center of my back. This grew into a knife-like sharp pain, starting in the center of my back and going through to the front. After a few days and LOTS of anti-inflam drugs, the pain is down to a constant ache. Unless I twist and lift (on the right), look far to the right (faster movement hurts more), or if I tilt my head towards my right shoulder...say as if to hold a telephone there (that hurt when I did that out of habit today. Note to self....)

The good news: I have a doctor appointment with a specialist that will hopefully help (I don't expect a permanent fix).
The bad news: It isn't until NEXT Thursday.

At least I'll have a new puppy (in a few days) to take my mind off the pain... *grin*