Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve

It's hard to believe Christmas Eve is here! Every year, without fail, I get this Better than Ezra song stuck in my head....which is definitely better than this bizarre version of Good King Wenceslas by Sufjan Stevens available here.

In celebration of Christmas Eve and Santa's imminent arrival, I thought I'd post some of my favorite Santa-themed wrecks from Cake Wrecks (and yes, I do check that site nearly every day).

Santa is mad as hell and he's not going to take it anymore

Santa is trying out a new look

Santa has had an accident (otherwise known as Suicide Santa) clue what Santa is up to here...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Gaudy Tree

My parent's local paper (The Raleigh News and Observer) asked for submissions of unusual Christmas Trees this year for their Home section. A small fake, silvery tree known simply as The Gaudy Tree was my family's submission. Believe it or not, this tree was purchased in Italy in the 1950s and has been a part of Christmas in Willey* households for 52 years. Check out the feature here.

*my mom's maiden name (and my middle name)

In other news, the high temperature today is 8!! 8!! Right now, the wind chill is -15!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Truffle Cookies

By popular demand, here is the recipe for Truffle Cookies, taken from Gourmet magazine in December 2000.

4 oz unsweetened chocolate
3/4 stick (6 TBSP) unsalted butter
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder (not dutch processed)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla (my mom leaves this out; I usually add some but not all 1 1/2 tsps)

Melt unsweetened chocolate, butter, and 1 cup chocolate chips in a saucepan over low heat (or in the microwave...that's how I always do it). Cool.

Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt

Beat together sugar, eggs, and vanilla with a mixer until pale and frothy (about 2 minutes). Mix in melted chocolate mixture and then flour mixture at low speed until combined well. Stir in remaining cup of chocolate chips. Chill covered until firm for two hours. Preheat oven to 350.

Roll heaping teaspoons of dough into 1 inch balls with dampened hands and arrange 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake in batches in middle of oven until puffed and set, about 10 minutes. Cookies will be soft in center. Transfer to racks to cool.

That's it! Let me know if you have any questions.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Pound and a Half of Butter

Today, I translated 1.5 pounds of butter (that's 6 sticks) into a variety of Christmas cookies. Making and eating Christmas cookies is a major part of the holiday season for my family. We make dozens and dozens of cookies each year, and one of my favorite things is baking with my mom. We scoff at people who buy the sugar cookie rolls, and we are a completely cookie-mix-free family (the horror!).

This year, we are spending Christmas in Indiana (my first ever Christmas away from home!), so I can't make any cookies with my mom until after Christmas. But I can't wait that long, so I spent today baking. I made four types (plus an insane amount of Chex Mix---known as Nuts and Bolts in my family because we add Cheerios and Pretzels).

These are butter cookies with cream cheese frosting. I have yet to meet someone who doesn't like these cookies, and I've met several who are smitten with them, including Heather who made them for their Christmas party. These are a family recipe that my Grandma Alice got from a neighbor.

Truffle Cookies
These cookies contain three types of chocolate and only a 1/2 cup of flour (they would certainly be Ramona's favorite were she allowed to choose). They are a relatively new favorite but have become a staple. My mom, who is an amazing cook and baker, thinks these are hard to make because you have to let the dough sit in the fridge for 2 hours before baking them (impatience runs in our family).

Butter Crunch
Not technically a cookie as these are a toffee topped with chocolate. I always make some with nuts (I use pecans) and some without. Another family recipe. Every year, my mom, my brother, and I would make butter crunch that was far inferior to my Aunt Jackie's. Hers was always the right amount of crunchy, while ours was chewy enough to take your fillings out. Finally one year I asked her what the secret was. We had been following the recipe, cooking it until 'hard crack' stage at 285 degrees. She had a simple answer: "I cook it until it is the right color." Ever since, my butter crunch has come out perfectly (...except for the year that I wasn't patient enough to wait for the golden toffee color...).

Molasses Cookies
These are not a family recipe, but they have lots of ginger and cinnamon and taste quite Christmas-y, plus I love anything that has molasses in it. I still prefer my Grandma Ellen's Gingersnaps, but I made them for two reasons: 1) Andy really likes them, and 2) making cut-out cookies by yourself is decidedly un-fun (similar to Pancakes for One).

Monday, December 8, 2008

Our First Real Tree

We decided to upgrade from our fairly lame fake tree to a real one this year. We snagged a 5 ft* Frasier Fir at our local nursery. It definitely feels more like Christmas is coming with our own real tree filling up our living room.

Sydney finds fake trees ever so boring.

An upgrade for 2008

I just couldn't pass up this ornament when we went to Target to buy a tree stand. I mean, c'mon, a hippo skiing! What's not to like? (Andy's reaction was one of horror asking if I was serious).

*The tree is taller than me, and I'm 5'8", so it's a very generous 5 ft.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Gay Marriage will Save the Economy!

If you haven't seen "Prop 8 the Musical" yet, check it!

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Check out Join the Impact or Human Rights Campaign if you think that everyone has the right to marry!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Feast Week

Well, it's almost Thanksgiving. Ramona heads to Camp Euphemism later today, Sydney prepares for some quiet time in the house, and Andy and I head to the airport. As we get ready to travel to NC for Thanksgiving, my thoughts turn to basketball and Maui. Both Carolina and Indiana are in the Maui Invitational this year (Carolina plays Notre Dame for the championship, while Indiana takes on Maui's own Chaminade for 7th place), and of course, last year, we spent Thanksgiving in Maui! Details of that trip can be found here, here, and here. I am very excited about traveling home in a few hours, but I must admit that part of me would rather be flying to Hawaii this evening.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I don't want to hear about anyone else eating salmon for Thanksgiving, so make sure to eat some turkey tomorrow!

Monday, November 24, 2008

C-bus House Donated to the IMA

This isn't exactly breaking news, but I am pretty excited about it. The family of J. Irwin Miller donated their house in Columbus to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The house, designed by Eero Saarinen, will be restored and then opened to the public. For anyone who's not in the know, Columbus is known internationally for its architecture. Hope Zaharako's reopens in time for the opening!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not Since 1964

Everyone knows by now that Indiana has not voted for a Democrat for president since 1964. And I am guessing everyone knows who that Democrat was. Most of you know that I have a minor interest in one Lyndon Baines Johnson, so it seemed like I would be negligent by not spending one post on this American president since I have an excuse to do so.

For those of you who didn't know me in college, conversations with me frequently went like this:
Unsuspecting Person: "Hi Elizabeth. How's it going?"
Me: "LBJ got screwed by the Vietnam War. He was meant to pass sweeping changes on the domestic side."
Unsuspecting Person: "Uh..." (backing away)

I wrote not one but two papers on LBJ in college (and remember now I was a science major). The first was called "A Legislator in a Guerrilla War: Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War" and the second was entitled "The Man vs. the Myth: How the Legacy of John F. Kennedy Affected the Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson" (note that the actual file name for this paper is my great obsession.doc).

I am still completely proud of the fact that I managed to bring the Vietnam War into a presentation on mangroves in my Conservation Biology class (by the way, I am also fascinated by the Vietnam War and mangroves).

So, now you may be asking yourself...why was Elizabeth so interested in our 36th president? Many who studied that era would choose John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, or Martin Luther King Jr. I am not saying those three weren't important or interesting; they certainly were, but for me, the tragedy of LBJ's presidency is what draws me to study him.

He had many flaws and made many mistakes, the biggest of which was entangling us deeper in Vietnam. He badgered people into agreeing with him. His personality was...uh...challenging. Here's a quote I took from one of my papers. Joseph Califano, his special assistant for domestic affairs, stated that Johnson "could be altruistic and petty, caring and crude, generous and petulant, bluntly honest and calculatingly devious---all within the same few minutes." He picked up his beagle by its ears (strangely, he also named his beagles "Him and "Her").

On the other hand, he got the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act passed. He started Medicare and Medicaid. He appointed Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court. He passed legislation to fund public schools. His interests and his strengths were on the domestic side, but his legacy will always be the Vietnam War. Surrounded by Kennedy's advisors (he kepts most including McNamara well into his presidency), he led America further and further into a war we could not win and shouldn't have been fighting (my opinion there). The truth was he never wanted to go, but he felt like he had to. That does not take away his responsibilty, but it further illuminates the tragedy of Vietnam.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Blankets Are for Losers

We saw this ad on MSNBC the day after the election, presumably when the cost of an ad on that channel went way down. These things pretty much rule.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Eat Your Heart Out John King

John King may have had a magic map, but I am very proud of the "interactive" map from our election night party! (Thanks to Alma for forcing me to draw this map during my recent trip to Seattle). I made the decision to use smiley faces and frowny faces in lieu of the more traditional red state/blue state designations. Check out those smiley faces in Indiana and North Carolina!!

By the way, it looks like the final tally will be 365-173. If you haven't seen this yet, check out Obama's new website. He's not messing around! I am still fired up!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Did!

I am happy today. I am proud of my country, and I am excited for the future.

I am also ecstatic that Indiana went for Obama! And that NC is super close and hopefully will swing that way too (at the very least, NC got rid of dead weight, barely North Carolinean Elizabeth Dole and brought in a new democratic governor).

I could probably ramble for hours, but I'll just say it's a good day to be a Democratic Hoosier Tar Heel!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Wow, I can't believe we made it. The polls are open in Indiana, and we are heading down to Greensburg to Get Out The Vote in a few minutes. I am still so nervous.

We're going to have so much free time when the election is's hoping we are happy enough with the results to enjoy it!


Friday, October 31, 2008

The big 1-0!

Wow, Andy and I met 10 years ago today. It's pretty hard to believe it's been that long. Here's a picture of us from around that time (actually about a year after we met).

Here's a brief time line of our relationship....

October 31st, 1998: We meet at a Halloween party in the Villas, the classiest apartment complex in Bloomington. Andy's "dressed up like the Cure" which means he has painted his fingernails black. I'm not in costume...and am the DD for my group. After talking to Courtney and John (who should have won a costume contest), Andy is dragged over to meet me...we talk for a long time about music and find out we are both giant fans of Ben Folds Five and Wilco and both hate Dave Matthews.
November 1998: We go out a couple of times...then I freak communication for months.
April 1999: Realizing the school year is ending and his phone number is going to change, I call Andy. We go out a couple more times...then it's summer, and I head home to NC.
Summer 1999: We communicate via email and mix tapes.
August 1999: Back in Bloomington, we start dating for real.
August 2000: We break up...perhaps this could be described as me freaking out again.
August 2001: I move to Portland...
January 2002: 2,313 miles can't keep us apart!
August 2002: I move back across the country, and we move in together in Columbus, Indiana. At this point, we also "rescue" Sydney from my parents.
August 2003: Grad school time: we move to Seattle together.
June 2006: We get engaged and Ramona.
August 2007: After 5 years of 'living in sin', we make it legal and get married.
February 2008: We move to Indianapolis and buy a house. And here we are.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

We Vote We Count!

Andy and I voted today! We got to the satellite polling location about 15 minutes after it opened, and there were over a hundred people in line! The line moved pretty quickly, as the Marion County folks were well organized, and all in all, it took us about an hour to vote. According to this site, more than 27,000 people have voted early in person in Marion County! [also, check out NC---more than 1 million people have voted early so far!]

Filling in that circle for Obama felt really good.

Voter Fraud

There's been a lot of talk about voter fraud lately. Republicans have been attacking ACORN for its problems with voter registration. It's true that some of their workers registered fake people, but it's also true that ACORN notified elections boards of these fake registrations. Plus, it seems unlikely that Jimmy Johns is going to show up to vote in Lake County. Democrats need to be more worried about states kicking new voters off the rolls, as is chronicled in this Rolling Stone article.

I started thinking about my ability to vote because my dad sent me an email telling me that I'd been getting robocalls at their house (against Kay Hagen who's running against Elizabeth Dole). I haven't voted in North Carolina since 2001 and have voted in THREE other states since then. So, I went to the NC Elections Board website and checked....and yup, I am still registered to vote there. I checked Oregon and Washington too, and Oregon has kicked me off, but Washington hasn't (Andy's still registered there too). Perhaps these republicans that are so worried about voter fraud should put more effort into states updating their voter rolls. (and no, tempting as it is, I am not going to try to vote in three states).

In other news, the Indy Star didn't endorse either candidate in the presidential election. The editorial board was "evenly split." Lame.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Early Voting in Indiana

First of all, we went to the Obama rally at the American Legion Mall in downtown Indianapolis yesterday. It was fantastic. The IndyStar reports 35,000 people being there, and I can believe that. It was noticeably more well attended than the rally we attended at the same venue before the primary. There is an FFA convention in town this week, so it was fun to see all of the future farmers with their navy jackets declaring what state they are from. I saw two form Puerto Rico!

Included to the right is a picture from the event that Heather posted on their blog taken from here. We actually are in the picture; Elizabeth went to the trouble of circling us. She's rubbing her eye and I'm wearing shades and my white Obama hat.

After the rally I was fired up enough that I decided to go vote. Today is the first day you can vote at the satellite voting locations, so I went to the J. Everett Light Career Center.

The parking lot was packed and the line was long, stretching out the building and partway down the sidewalk. It wasn't quite as long as as some of them you see on the news, but it was encouraging none-the-less. I'd say that about 20% of the people there were African-American. The two kids in front of me were in high school, had been at the Obama rally, and were going to the Gwar show later that evening. I'm also pretty sure I saw a middle-aged lesbian couple. I feel safe in jumping to the conclusion that these were all likely Obama voters.

Now for the bad news: none of these people actually got to vote, at least not while I was there. They were having a computer problem. They were (paraphrasing here) unable to upload to downtown. Someone was coming to fix it, but it might be two hours before they were able to vote anybody. I had to pick up Paul at the airport, so I couldn't hang around that long.

But I did wait a little longer because there were three or four local politicians there greasing palms and making their pitch to voters as they waited in line (See Campo in the picture to the right). The first one I talked to was Michael W. Rodman, Democrat for Treasurer. He seemed pretty cool, goofy, just trying to seem like a nice guy while wearing an Obama button. He did not feel it neccessary to point out (as previously noted here) that he has a Graduate Degree in business vs. his opponent who has an undergrad theology degree.

Then there was Gabrielle Campo, who I didn't really want to talk to. She's the Republican that was slammed onto the ticket after Jon Elrod chickened out in his race agains Andre Carson. I will say this for Campo; she's much hotter than Sarah Palin. She also seems significantly more liberal than Palin, but not enough so that I (or the majority of the 7th district) would take her over Carson.

Finally, there was Steve Keltner. He's running for Indiana Senater. The incumbant repbulican is being challenged by a democrat who is in the hospital with a serious illness. So Keltner's pitch seemed to be, 'I'm not a Reblublican, and I'm not almost dead. Why not vote for me?' He was very personable and convincing with his pitch. The problem is that since I didn't vote, I came home and researched him a little. The "issues" section of his website seemed to not quite say anything substantial about anything I cared about. I'll have to do some more digging before I figure out if I'm going to float him my vote. He seems to be trying to obscure the fact that he's a Libertarian.

So that was my Politico Thursday...I'll have to try to vote early again sometime soon, hopefully with more success.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

When I say "Hip Hop", you say "Harry"

Time for a brief break from the election. Believe it or not, I've been thinking about blogging about this topic for some time now. It was The Soup that introduced me to Hip Hop Harry, which is like Barney except you know hip hop and apparently Australian.

Here's his water propaganda song:

I can't resist adding something a little election related...check this out.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Good News for Hoosiers Who Like Obama!

Obama's coming back to Indianapolis! I am super excited since I was out in Seattle for his last rally a couple weeks ago.

Plus, a new poll came out today showing Obama up a couple points in Indiana and up nationally. There are so many polls out---it's hard to know if this means anything, but this article on is promising.

Don't get me wrong---I am still paranoid, anxious, worried, nervous, and frustrated but also excited and hopeful.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powell Endorses Obama!

On Meet the Press this morning, Colin Powell endorsed Obama! Here's why it's important. During the interview, he talked about how this latest economic crisis was a final test for the two candidates, and said "Obama displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge." All in all, this interview was very inspiring, and it made me very hopeful. I feel that Colin Powell got screwed over by the Bush administration (though he certainly made some mistakes and is not without blame for his role in the Iraq war).

Here's a short clip of the interview where the endorsement comes (I highly recommend you seek the whole thing out---it's worth watching in its entirety).

Also, it may be the least surprising endorsement for Obama, but The Stranger's take is amusing and worth reading anyway.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Amazing Speech

There's been a lot of talk about the impact of race in this election. My dad passed along this speech by the AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka, which I thought it was pretty amazing. He also brings up a point that's been making me crazy this election. Obama's not a Muslim---he is a Christian. But so what if he were? There is nothing wrong with being Muslin or Arab, damnit!

***I'll try to post something non-election related soon!***

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Voter's Guide

Kerns posted some great Indiana voting information yesterday. I thought I'd add to that by posting a link to the Indy Star's voter's guide. It is pretty helpful. For example, there are two candidates running for Marion Country Treasurer. One, the democrat, has an MBA from IU. The other, the republican, has a degree in theology from Faith Bible College. It seems like a treasurer should have training in a related field, no?

For you non-Hoosiers, check your local papers, or for you lucky PNW'ers, start reading those voters guides you receive in the mail.

Can a native Hoosier please tell me why coroner is an elected position? At least for Marion County, the requirements don't seem that strenuous. If I am reading this correctly, you just have to live in the county for a year, receive some training, and "speak for the dead." Both candidates for Marion County have MDs, but the democrat shares my birthday, so that seems like a good enough reason for me...again, why am I voting for coroner? We also vote for surveyor (which is more common I think)...but again, I ask why?

Also, this picture from last night's debate (which Obama won) is unrelated...but still quite amusing. And, if you didn't see it, check out Maddux's blog post from yesterday.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Quantum Leap

From The Onion...we could be in trouble...

Scott Bakula Jumps Into McCain's Body Just Before Election

October 13, 2008 | Issue 44•42

WASHINGTON—With Republican nominee John McCain continuing to flounder at the polls, the unknown force that orders the universe announced yesterday that Scott Bakula has entered the body of the struggling Arizona senator in order to "help him out of a real jam."


Bakula, who was last seen jumping from the body of a fighter pilot he helped to escape the Bermuda Triangle, will reportedly spend the next three days in the 72-year-old's body, where he will attempt to solve the financial crisis and learn to respect the opinions of young people. Bakula will then be jolted unexpectedly through time into a 1950s-era African-American man, before next landing in the body of a free-loving female Woodstock attendee who must make a very difficult decision about abortion.

Witnesses said they first detected a difference in McCain's demeanor yesterday, when he paused suddenly in the middle of a speech about Obama's tax policies, shook his head and demanded to know what year it was. Others were reportedly confused when McCain abruptly left the stage to find a mirror and softly touched his face while whispering to himself, "Oh, boy. Who am I this time?"

A number of McCain supporters have said they hope Bakula, with the assistance of a cigar-chewing holographic projection known as Al, can help the Republican's chances by gaining ground in key battleground states, making love to his wife for the first time in ages, and staying up late baking a batch of his famous blondies for everyone on the trail. Bakula said he would try to tip the campaign into victory, but his main goal was to teach McCain about what's truly important in life.

As of press time, McCain is projected to lose by more than 150 Electoral College votes.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

There's No Place Like Home?

I just spent a week in Seattle...I was lucky enough to get to go to a meeting there (which was actually pretty useful for my job, so double bonus). I, of course, took advantage of the trip and spent my free time with friends, often drinking Manny's (which was too easy given the keg-o-rator filled with it in Alma and Bob's basement!).

We've been gone now 9 months, and I am feeling at home in Indy. I like my job a fair amount now and have found lots of things to like about our new town. It's strange though because Seattle just still feels like home. We've haven't even been gone long enough to see a turnover of waitresses at Easy Street (they do have new menus though). Our old haunts still feel familiar rather than nostalgic. And visiting with friends...well, it just seems like we've waited too long to make plans rather than catching up over a visit. I am sure as time passes, and more things change (like the loss of the cafe at Capers), Seattle will feel more like 'a place we used to live' and less like home, but for now, it's just plain homey. And, I'm okay with that. It doesn't seem like a bad thing. Sure, the nachos at West 5 kick ass but so do the ones at the Broad Ripple Brew Pub (though if I had to choose, I'd go with West 5's). And, it's true that we haven't found a burger as good as a Circa burger or a Vietnamese restaurant like the Tamarind Tree, but we do have an incredible Belgian brewery that has 11 different dipping sauces for their frites. I guess Seattle is now our 'home away from home.'

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Google like it's 2001!

Want to pretend the Expos are still in Montreal? Wish we lived in a youtube- or Hannah Montana-free world? Check out google 2001!

As this posts (thanks to delayed posting), I'm on way to Seattle for a conference. I am not sure I'll have time to blog while I'm there...hopefully, Andy will get a post in before I get back (though he still hasn't set up a separate account for himself!).

Friday, October 3, 2008

Five Thirty Eight or Fight!

I'm lousy and don't blog very often anymore (funny what having a job can do to a guy!), and that's partly because of my obsession with the election. Elizabeth and I have both been working hard for Obama when we can, and I check websites (all too) frequently looking for the smallest little nugget of updated election news. I think Pollster is still my favorite of the blog-type sites, but I also spend a lot of time in the War Room on, as well as Politico. The story (or perhaps future story) that inspired me to blog is from, which I somehow was told about by three separate people over the course of about 48 last week. Anyways...the article is about how McCain's few scattered field offices all seem to be as dead as fried chicken, while Obama's offices are always bustling with action and volunteers. But what really got my eye was the last line of the story where the reporter says next they are moving on to Chicago, then to Indiana. There's a huge story unfolding in Indiana. Now that could mean just about anything, but my guess is that it's going to be a story about how a bunch of "Joe Sixpack" Hoosiers like us (Maddux, Kerns, Narwold, et al.) are getting off their asses all across the state and turning this thing blue for the first time since LBJ's '64 landslide. Or maybe it's just a story about how the Colts are 1-2 for the first time in a decade.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Approve This Message

With political ads airing, I thought I'd share this wikipedia entry on how we ended up the phrase "I approve this message." Also, according to this entry, the phrasing is incorrect; it should be "I approve of this message."

Also, no matter what group you belong to, you should be able to find a button declaring your support for Obama. Here are three of my favorites.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Barack on Tiger Beat

This article from The Onion made me laugh out loud, so I had to share! The Onion may just keep me sane until the election. Andy and I have both been obsessively watching election coverage, campaigning when we have time, and donating whatever money we can to Barack. At this point, I am definitely hopeful, but after the last two presidential elections, I know not to underestimate the "willful ignorance" of the American people (to quote one of my coworkers).

If you didn't see the latest Palin parody on SNL, check it here.

By the way, several people have asked us why we always posted just as StuckeySpalt and not as individuals. The answer, embarrassingly enough, was that we didn't know how to add separate users. Thanks to a 10 second search using the help feature, I have figured it out and added us as separate users.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Worst Thing Ramona Has Ever Done

While Ramona is a fantastic dog, she's had her moments (see for example this post). Well, this weekend she topped them all. Friday night, I baked a chocolate cake for a get together the next evening. On Saturday, Andy left the house at 6 am to run a 5k in Greensburg. Sometime between 6 am and 7:30 when I woke up, Ramona got the cake off the counter and ate almost all of it (she left only the four corners). In the process of knocking the cake down, she managed to turn on one of the gas burners on the stove. I awoke to a house smelling strongly of gas!! I woke Sam up (who was in town for a visit), and we left the house and called 911. The Indianapolis Fire Department response was quite impressive; within minutes, there were FIVE fire trucks and two fire department SUVs at our house. There were so many fire trucks that they wouldn't all fit on our street. It was crazy. The fire department blew the the gas out of the house (in the process filling the house with carbon monoxide from the gas fan), and we were able to return to the house.

We left a couple hours later for a day in Greensburg campaiging for Obama (quite sucessfully...we'll try to post more on that later). We came home around 7 pm to a house (not surprisingly I suppose) filled with chocolate vomit. We've cleaned the downstairs and are working on completely cleaning the upstairs (with the help of a rented steam vacuum). She's damn lucky she's so cute.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Government Center Stinks

Around 8 am this morning, it hit me. My office smelled like shit...literally. It turns out state employees weren't alone, as all of downtown smelled like a sewer today. We were originally told that the city was cleaning their tanks, but these two sources blame it on an inversion or a sewer line hook up.

Monday, September 15, 2008

C'mon, just register...

We've been out trying to register voters; in honor of that, I thought I'd post the infographic (minus the graphic) from this week's Onion.

Voter Registration Efforts

As the election grows nearer, many organizations are out in full force to increase voter registration. What are they doing to encourage people to register?

U.S. Auto Manufacturers: Free voter registration and a gallon of gas with the purchase of any light truck or SUV

NOW: Free Grey's Anatomy poster rolled up with every registration form

Rock The Vote: Will spend fruitless hours explaining that you don't technically have to be liberal to be in favor of more people voting

AARP: Offering to register any senior who is able to not accidentally vote for Pat Buchanan

U.S. Army: Automatically registers and votes on behalf of any soldier whose deployment has been extended

NAACP: Announced plans for a record-breaking get-out-the-vote effort that will be undermined by bureaucracy, infighting, and massive administrative costs

American Dental Association: You'd be surprised what people will do just for some free cinnamon floss

Don Howerton of Brighton, MI: Will show unregistered voters a photo of that goddamned dead birch tree Phil Edmund next door still refuses to cut down, and encourage them to vote for someone who will do something about it for Christ's sake

Also, I really enjoyed this Onion video about the impact of Bush's leaving office on the anti-Bush merchandise market.

Economists Warn Anti-Bush Merchandise Market Close To Collapse

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Foodiest!

While I disagree with the classification of 'Durham-Chapel Hill' as a single, small town (I see two problems there...), I do agree that there is some amazing food to be had, as chronicled in this article. Yea for tasty food grown on local farms! If you get the chance, you should definitely make trips to Magnolia Grill, Lantern, and Crook's Corner (all mentioned in this article).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Calmer than you are, dude.

This article on is pretty much awesome. It discusses how Walter Sobcheck (as played by John Goodman) is a prototypical neocon. The Big Lebowski is a kick-ass movie, primarily because it is worthy of watching over and over again. And I think the reason it is so rewatchable is because there is always something new--if you are willing to look for it. And clearly Slate's


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Liberals are pimps too

I am going a little crazy right now with McCain's antics, so I had to post this op ed from the NY Times. The bottom line is that we liberals need to be proud!

Monday, September 8, 2008

City Folks Just Don't Get It!

So...I'm supposed to be posting about my PNC Park concessions fiasco, but something has taken precedence, and the concession story will have to wait. I was watching the Cubs-Reds game (the only one the Cubs took in the series) on Fox Sports Net Ohio, when I saw the following commercial:

Here's a link to the website, and here's a link to their other commercial, where they hate on "city slickers." Outstanding!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Let Ben Folds Five Eat Cake

For those of you whom I met post 2001, you may not know that the answer to the following question: "what is your favorite band?" had an obvious answer for many years. Ben Folds Five. I saw them four times, including their last show together before Ben moved to Australia. Now...Ben Folds Five is reuniting for one night only in my hometown of Chapel Hill. The show, which takes place September 18th, will be rebroadcast in October here. For all you Tar Heels, tickets go on sale tomorrow here. The band will be playing the album The Unauthorized Biography of Reinold Messner in its entirety. Ben Folds, new album Way to Normal drops September 30th.

Unrelated to Ben Folds, I came across this highly entertaining blog today, (thanks to one of John's Portland blogs, This Fare City of Portland, Oregon, which is also highly entertaining). Cake Wrecks describes cakes that have entertaining topics, such as the one to the left, or amusing mistakes (for example someone printing "Happy November & December Birthdays - abbreviate Nov. & Dec. if you need to" on top of a cake) as well as some very creative and strange cakes.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

More Politics

This Daily Show video has been making the cyber-rounds since it aired last week. If you haven't seen it, you probably should. So here you go!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Indiana just might be a swing state

There's a new poll out today that shows McCain only up 2 points!! In a poll with a 4.1 point margin of error!! C'mon, Hoosiers, let's elect Obama!

[Unfortunately, the news about the governor's race is not as positive.]

Two Cool things on CNN

I am not a big fan of CNN. However, today I found two items on that made me happy!

1) Obama raised $10 million after Palin's speech (10 x more than McCain). ROCK!!

2) Dan Savage at the Republican Convention!! "I spoke to a lot of [young republicans] because I've been running around the convention asking teenagers throughout the convention if they're virgins or not. 'Cuz I feel like I have a right to know because we've invested over a billion dollars in abstinence education programs under George Bush."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Not a No Hitter

The main objective of our trip last weekend was to see some Pittsburgh Pirates baseball. Our expectations were low since they were playing the NL wild card leading Milwaukee Brewers not to mention the fact that recent trades depleted much of their already sub par hitting. We had hoped for more than games 9 and 10 of a 10-game losing streak. We still had an excellent time in a beautiful ballpark, concession-drama aside (Andy plans to blog about this topic, so I'll leave it to him). We received a Willie Stargell collectible plate on Saturday and saw a controversial 1-hitter on Sunday. For our money, sitting 20+ rows behind home plate (see picture below), we say it was a hit.

We also learned my favorite new sports statistic from a guy sitting next to us. The Milwaukee Brewers are the only team in MLB history to have two players that weigh at least 270 lbs! They are C.C. Sabathia (6'7" 290) and Prince Fielder (5'11" 270).

I am oddly amused by the graphics used at baseball games. Here are some pictures of my favorites.
That'd be Nate Mclouth

Andy, not Adam, LaRoche

We saw this mural while driving around downtown. Here's a shot of the whole mural, and check here for a very incomplete listing of the players. Apparently the mural was just refurbished. I can't find a full list of all of the players pictured, but it includes both Pirates and players from the Pittsburgh Negro League.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Drinking in Church

Here's the first Pittsburgh related post. On Sunday, we appropriately dined at The Church Brew Works. It's a converted church that serves tasty beer and tasty food. The fare includes traditional pierogies* as well as special untraditional pierogies, which on Sunday were chicken cordon bleu with mustard. The food (both kinds of pierogies, meatloaf for the ladies, chicken pot pie for the gentleman) was excellent and the beer was quite tasty. If you find yourself in Pittsburgh around a meal time (and have already eaten kielbasa), head to the Church Brew Works.

The outside a church

the bar area - check the stained glass

Jackie contemplating her Pious Monk Dunkel

*Pierogies are dumplings generally filled with savory ingredients, most commonly mashed potatoes and cheese, and often topped with onions. The wikipedia article, which can't be wrong, says: "Pierogi are commonly associated with Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania." After all, where else is there a Pierogi Race staring Oliver Onion.

...more Pittsburgh posts in the works....

Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain's pick = puzzling

McCain has picked his running mate, and it's Sarah Palin of Alaska. Huh? Where did that come from? My initial thoughts are confused, but it seems like he picked her for 2 reasons: 1) to try to draw Hillary supporters to him with a woman candidate and 2) to bring back his 'maverick' style. This pick seems to take away the lack of experience argument against Obama, since she's younger and has less experience (2 years as governor of Alaska, mayor of an Alaskan town) than him. She is a former beauty queen though, so she's got that on the three men running. I hope the Hillary supporters won't be tricked by this move, since Palin is really conservative (pro life, anti gay, really pro drilling to name a few). It'll be interesting to see the analysis.

If you missed it, both Gore and Obama gave great speeches last night! Also, I though Hillary kicked ass Tuesday night.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Barack's Better Half

If you missed it, you should check out Michelle Obama's speech from the Democratic Convention last night. She pretty much kicked ass.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Convention Time, Fellas

I'm watching the first night of the Democratic convention tonight, and they keep comparing the split in the Democratic Party this year to that of the Republicans in '76 (apparently Reagan didn't do much serious supporting of Gerry Ford until it was too late). Having not been born yet, I don't remember anything about the '76 election. I decided to go to the best source possible: The Mark Russell November '76 campaign special. It's pretty much exactly what you'd expect it to be.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


For Labor Day weekend, Andy and I are headed to Pittsburgh to meet my aunt to take in a couple of Pirates games, visit the Strip District, and just generally enjoy the city. In honor of that, I thought I'd take a minute to talk about the movie Pittsburgh. It's part documentary and part fiction and follows Jeff Goldblum as he goes back to his hometown to appear in a 2-week run of The Music Man (one of my favorite musicals). This movie is a lot fun and makes Jeff Goldblum seem very likable. Goldblum did actually appear in the musical in Pittsburgh and his mom is played by his mom, but there are certainly portions of the film that are made up (the relationship between Illeana Douglas and Moby being a likely candidate). Check it out!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Trashy Dog

Just last week, Ramona discovered that she could get into our kitchen trash. We keep it in a cabinet under the sink. Since that time, she has spread trash around the kitchen at least 5 times, all the while eating all sorts of things she shouldn't. One day, she managed to eat chicken wing bones, chocolate chip cookies, pizza-grease-stained cardboard, and god knows what else. We had adapted our habits a bit already---we learned the hard way not to leave anything out on the counter (loaves of bread, brownies, a cantaloupe, even an onion), as nothing was safe from our abnormally tall dog with an abnormally large appetite (well, normal for a lab I suppose). We tried reasoning with her (well, mainly we yelled), but it was no use. Now that she knows the trash is there, it's over. So, we went out and bought a gate.

On a related note, a google image search for "dog trash can" pulled up this Barbie pooper scooper set, which apparently is no longer available for purchase.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Turkey Run

Yesterday, we celebrated our anniversary by heading over to Turkey Run State Park and hiking. We'd heard good things about it, but neither of us had been, at least not since Andy turned 11. It turns out that Turkey Run is a damn cool state park. There are 11 hiking trails. We ended up doing all or part of 6 of them (1, 2, 3, 5, 9, & 10), hiking over 6 miles. Unfortunately, due to our lameness, we did not bring the camera. Fortunately, google has a handy image search!

Trail 3 winds through a creek bed, and at one point, the only way down (or up since it's a loop) is a series of ladders. Since we brought our 90 pound dog with us, we diverted over to Trail 5 at this point. There's a lot of variety among the 15 or so miles of trails with trails along the river, one that goes straight through the creek bed, a few that head through forests, one that takes you to a covered bridge. Plus, there's a suspension bridge to get to most of the hikes! Also, if you're not into hiking (!!), there's also horseback riding, canoing, and lazing down the river in an inner tube.

Also, a note about our anniversary. We ate the top layer of our cake last week, and it was really frickin' tasty even a year later. Sweet & Savory rocks!!