Thursday, December 10, 2009

Giraffe Lab

Andy and I have been very amused by December in our chocolate lab calendar (yes, we have a chocolate lab calendar...well...actually two).

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Good Pumpkins and Bad Pumpkins

In honor of Halloween which features one of my favorite seasonal foods/decorations, today's post is my two recent experiences with pumpkins.

We'll start with the bad side. Andy and I carved our pumpkin last night, and in case you have delusions about our artistic abilities, we equal about a 1st grader if you add our talents together. It didn't help that I couldn't find our pumpkin carving knife (it must have been a victim of the move...though I don't know what we did last year (the historic election has clouded my memory of Halloween 2008). The result was this wonky and sad jack-o-lantern, (perhaps) made worse overnight by nibbling squirrels.

Now for the good news. A friend from work passed along what just might be the perfect fall cookie, and I'm spreading the word.

Pumpkin Cookies

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose baking flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla

Directions
Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. With mixer, beat butter in a large mixing bowl on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add egg, canned pumpkin, and vanilla. Beat well. Add dry ingredients and beat until well blended. Drop from teaspoon onto cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 8-10 minutes.

These cookies are fast and easy and result in perfect little bites of pumpkin bread-like cookies. This recipe actually calls for 1 cup raisins and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, but neither my friend nor I ever add those (the horror of ruining these cookies with raisins!). She likes to make them into football cookies, so she makes them in an oval shape and then adds white icing to look like the laces. The icing is a simple confectioner sugar/milk icing. Last time I made these, I just sprinkled cinnamon sugar on top before baking. Next time, I think I am going to mix up the spices a bit to make it more of a pumpkin pie seasoning with ginger, but I love the combo of vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon in the original recipe.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Giant Corp or Indie Organic?

In my weekly update from the home of the best chocolate milkshake in the world, Traders Point Creamery, there were links to a couple websites that provide info on who owns different organic labels. I thought I'd share for anyone else who is trying to make their money and their mouth more organic. I admit some are obvious (Prego Organic for instance), but I actually didn't know that Kashi was owned by Kelloggs.

Nutrition Wonderland (!) provides a list of orgos owned by big folks like Heinz and Pepsico as well as a list of independent ones. The Cornucopia Institute has this chart:

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fever in the Finals

In case you hadn't heard, Indianapolis's WNBA team, the Fever, is in the finals! They are tied with Phoenix 1-1 in the best of 5 series. If you live in Indy, I highly recommend you go root on Tameka, Katie, Tully, and the rest of the gang at one of the home games, either Sunday at 4 pm or Wednesday at 7:30 pm. They are incredibly fun. They were in danger of leaving the city, but it sounds like their trip to the finals has saved them for the moment. They really are an asset to the city. Unlike many NBA teams, they play the game as a team because they really like it not because they are getting paid lots of $$$. C'mon Hoosiers, support your Fever!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sydney

We got some sad news this week. Sydney was diagnosed with lymphoma. We are still figuring out treatment options, but it looks like we are measuring our time left in months. The good news is that she's home (she was at the vet for 3 days this week) and is as feisty as ever. Plus, she can eat whatever she wants, so she is pretty stoked about that! She is less happy about the pills we have to give her...so far, we've done one. Let me tell you...not fun! I am really sad (Andy is too of course) b/c she's such a kickass kitty cat. And because she's been a part of my life since I was 16! Seriously, she's been my cat longer than I've been an adult.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Mitch Daniels is "Preposterous"

Below is an e-mail I sent to Mitch Daniels. This is the first time I've written to Mitch. I was motivated to do so by his decision to call a decision by the Indiana Court of Appeals "preposterous."



Governor Daniels,


I have been very impressed with many of the things you have done as Governor of our great state. There have been many times when I have disagreed with you, but reasonable people can disagree about policy issues and still feel that the best interests of the state are being watched over.


However, your comments last week about the Indiana Court of Appeals' rejection of the voter I.D. law crossed the line. Disagreeing with the decision is one thing, but the state's highest public official referring to a decision by our second highest court as "preposterous" is the most irresponsible statement I've ever heard from the Indiana Governor's office. Undermining our state's judicial system is at the very least unbecoming of the office you hold, and at worst a violation of our constitution. You have lost the respect and trust of many Hoosiers with this irresponsible remark, and I only hope that you have not done permanent damage to the image of our judicial system.


I hope in the future you will be more reasonable with your comments and remember the weight your words hold thanks to the power of your office.


Andrew Stuckey

Indianapolis, IN

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Labor Day in Pittsburgh

Following Joe Biden's lead, we headed to Pittsburgh for Labor Day weekend. This marked our second annual Labor Day Pittsburgh trip, and once again, Pittsburgh impressed. We visited several of our favorite haunts including the Strip District and PNC Park (MLB's most beautiful ballpark for its worst team). We also checked out some of what else Pittsburgh (and the surrounding area) had to offer.

After enjoying coffee at our favorite goat-themed coffee shop, Crazy Mocha, we headed to the National Aviary, which is nestled in West Park on the north side. We visited with penguins and a variety of tropical birds and decided that Stellar's Sea Eagles are cooler than Bald Eagles. All in all, the National Aviary was a nice find and a recommended visitor spot. On Sunday, we headed a little over an hour southeast of Pittsburgh to see one of the most famous private house in America: Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water. It's pretty much badass. Check it out. We also stopped by Ohiopyle State Park, which was crowded and poorly marked but scenic and highly entertaining. We hiked a ways and then sat and watched rafters get stuck on the rocks. Last neither chronologically or in our hearts was a trip to Primanti's Brothers, where as food network viewers may know, all sandwiches include slaw and fries.
Of note as well were the two conventions converging on the Pittsburgh Hilton during our stay: The North American Festival of Wales and the National Football Leage (for the kickoff celebration in Pittsburgh). We heard Welsh spoken on the elevator and watched the NFL folks set up a stage on the Point. Up next for Pittsburgh: the G20 Summit! Pittsburgh's got it all!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Organizing for America

Some of you may know about the Organizing for American National Health Care Forum that took place today. I haven't had a chance to watch it all yet (since it occurred during working hours), but I did have a relative there, first hand, to report back! That's right---my dad was one of the couple hundred people there live!

It will be available in its entirety tomorrow on the Organizing for America website, but I did find this you tube clip. You can spot my dad at the 0:18 mark of this clip.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Assorted

A few assorted items I've come across in the last week or so:

1) Legendary Indianapolis coffee shop The Abbey has closed. According to my Indy food email (The Dish, thanks Smith for cluing me into this), the owner has taken a personal chef job in Texas. It never was quite the same in the new location, and for some reason we didn't go there much after we moved, but it was a favorite spot on visits before we moved here. Abbey, you will be missed---sorry we didn't come as much as we should have.

2) My Tobey Maguire bashing must be put on hold! He has taken up a cause near and dear to my heart, petitioning Congress to improve school lunches! I'll shut my mouth for a while (now if he could only stop making Spiderman movies).

3) I am really unsure about this one, but I read that CBS is bringing back Let's Make a Deal with host Wayne Brady. I have announced my love of this show previously and was dismayed to learn that the Game Show Network has stopped showing it (big jerks!). I don't think a new version will in any way replace this loss. A lot of the charm of the old show is the 1970s prizes (a fridge with a tape recorder! $25 worth of fanta! fur coats!) not to mention Monty Hall.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Canada's Ocean Playground

After leaving Maine (where we did see finally the sun on the drive back to the airport), we headed for Halifax, Nova Scotia. My Aunt Joan and Uncle Charlie gave us the amazing wedding present of a trip to Nova Scotia. Due to a lack of vacation time last summer, we cashed it in this year. Joan and Charlie, who live in North Carolina, own a house in Prospect, a small fishing village outside of Halifax. As graduate students at Dalhousie University and for a while after, they lived there full time, without hot water no less! Their new house, built after Hurricane Juan made landfall in 2003, is quite the upgrade from the drafty cottage that used to occupy its space (or so I'm told).

I don't know where to begin. The trip was amazing for so many reasons. I have heard about Prospect my whole life from Joan and Charlie and other family members. It always seemed like this magical place, and finally getting to visit was wonderful. [I know I am using a lot of superlatives, so bear with me.] It was great because Joan and Charlie were excited to show us the place that they loved, that helped shape who they are. On top of that, it was so relaxing. We actually did a whole lot on the trip, but we didn't worry about time or plans. We hiked and swam when it was nice out and visited Halifax when it wasn't. In between, we ate copious amounts of delicious seafood (and Charlie's famous country ham).

We arrived Tuesday and took a short hike along the coast and then headed back for some homemade smoked haddock chowder (yum!) followed by a walk through the village.

Wednesday was a bit foggy, but after fortifying ourselves with sourdough blueberry pancakes and country ham, we went on this amazing hike that started at the house, wandered through the heath, and ended along the rocky shoreline. When the sun came out, we headed down to the protected bay and jumped in the chilly water.

Thursday, it rained, so we headed into the charming harbor city of Halifax for a land/water cruise of the city and a visit to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, which featured an interesting exhibit on the Halifax explosion. [While there, we lamented how little we Americans are taught in school about our friendly neighbors to the north.]

Friday started out with a drive to THE tourist spot of Nova Scotia, Peggys Cove. This nice thing about this tourist spot (other than the fact that it is beautiful) is how quaint it still is. There is no McDonalds and the like just a few gift shops, art galleries, and a restaurant. Plus, there are still resident fishermen. On the way back to the house, we stopped for a lunch of clams and chips, which were the best I'd ever had. That afternoon, we headed out on another gorgeous hike, where Andy's keen eye spotted a pilot whale just offshore. Afterward, with a strong wind blowing, Andy managed to jump in the water, but the rest of us steered clear. For dinner, we splurged on crazy delicious fresh lobsters and mussels.

Our plans for the sunny Saturday involved more ocean view hiking close to the house. The ocean put on a display for us with waves crashing against the rocks. We took another short swim in the afternoon. I must say that I was pleased that I proved hardy enough to swim in Nova Scotia (even if I didn't stay in long).

Sunday came, meaning it was the day to head back to landlocked Indiana and away from the beautiful shorelines of Nova Scotia. We had a fantastic trip, getting our (temporary) fill of hiking and seafood (lobster, smoked haddock, fresh salmon, not 1 but 2 types of smoked salmon, scallops, clams, and mussels). Plus Charlie introduced us to a new beer, Keith's ("those who like it like it a lot"), which Andy took an instant shine to. Most of all, we had an unforgettable time visiting a place we came to love.





Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Portland, Oregon's Namesake

Sunday, we returned from a week-long exploration of the northeastern Atlantic coast. First up was a short stint in Maine. We flew into Boston and after a brief detour in the tacky tourist spot of Salem, MA (Andy's teaching The Crucible this year and was hoping for some cool photo ops), we headed north to Vacationland.

Sunday was a foggy day of wandering and tasty eats. We started with breakfast at Hot Suppa, which pleasantly filled our tummies with blueberry pancakes, bacon, and porridge (yes, Andy did order porridge and bacon). We lunched on a lobster roll on the waterfront followed by some of the ever present Maine ice cream. Ice cream and lobster are everywhere in Maine; you'd think that there was a state law requiring that you sell one of the two (if not both). Note: I am not compaining! You can buy lobster rolls from street vendors in Portland! We celebrated my birthday a night early with an amazing dinner at Street and Company. We both had grilled lobster (in the shell) over linguine tossed with olive oil and garlic. It was amazing!

Monday, we headed to Acadia National Park. We drove through a number of seaside towns on the way, including the LL Bean-dominated Freeport, stopping along the way when we spied a sign for old fashioned donuts. Acadia was, as advertised, beautiful, but we didn't see as much of it as we would have liked....due to the crazy fog. We loved the Gorham Mtn/Cadillac Creek hike but sure couldn't see anything from the top. On the way back, we stopped in Bangor (but didn't run into Stephen King) for dinner at the Sea Dog Brewery. Also notable on this day was this hot dog sign outside of Bar Harbor.

Coming soon...part 2 of our trip: Nova Scotia.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

No More Mix

As previously posted, our trip to Seattle was great. That said, we did see something disturbing: the replacement of the Green Lake location of our favorite Seattle ice cream place, Mix, with a much more corporate (if relatively environmentally friendly) Ben & Jerry's. We hoped that the original U District location had survived, but alas, after some internet searching, the whole operation is kaput.

Mix was a marble-top ice cream place where you add your own toppings. Unlike Cold Stone, there was no singing and they were never were stingy with the mix-ins (though I found the dudes that worked at night were more generous than the ladies in the daytime). I tended to get "healthy" frozen yogurt and then add cookie dough, twix, and other assorted items. I liked to get Mix and then walk over to Green Lake and eat it in front of all the runners.

Mix, even though you were 2,249 miles away, you will be missed.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ramona Crosses the 'Ultimate Line.'


Of all the bad things Ramona has done since she was a puppy, until Sunday she had never gone into the basement. We had never allowed it, and as far as we knew, she did not even comprehend of the possibility. We were outside doing yard work and I came inside the back door to see Ramona trotting through the basement toward the steps. She had done it! She had crossed the 'ultimate line.' She does not seem to have done anything she shouldn't down there (cat box, extra tennis balls, trash can all seemed unmolested), but it is still not a good sign.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Coast to Coast

It's high time that the picture of my blue foot be removed from the top of our blog, so I'll take this opportunity to blog about our recent trips.

First, we spent the week of July 4th in my home state of North Carolina for Kathy's wedding. We started the week at Wrightsville Beach...


and then headed back to Carrboro/Chapel Hill for the wedding, which was beautiful, happy, and fun, like a wedding should be.
Next up, after being home for a total of 3 days, we took a trip back to our most recent previous home, Seattle, for a quick visit with friends.

We visited old haunts and restaurants including Chinooks (for alder planked king salmon that melts in your mouth), Circa (for brunch, where Andy started the day with a Mannys and a coffee), and Maneki (for some traditional Japanese). We also checked out a new favorite of Shawn and Heather's, the Lunchbox Laboratory, which specializes in truly amazing hamburgers. Check it out, Seattlites!

It was fantastic to see everyone (and meet baby James), but I left with a feeling of homesickness. Our trip was influenced by the fact that I've had a rough time at work recently (mostly because Indiana environmental policy is moving in the wrong direction, even as Obama is pushing EPA forward). Nevertheless, I just can't help but feeling like Seattle fits who I am so much better that anywhere else I've lived, at least as an adult. There are lots of things I love about Indy, and I certainly love being so much closer to family, but I keep feeling this tug westward. We'll see how I feel as time passes...I may post on this again.

For the meantime, though, I am going to focus on our final July trip, Maine and Nova Scotia!

Monday, June 15, 2009

No More Swirls

With Andy out of town*, I decided to tackle a long delayed home project....painting book room. We bought paint for three rooms last April but only ended up painting two. So, opening the paint can (technically plastic jug...) was like a surprise b/c I had more or less forgotten the color we had chosen except that it was blue.

Painting took most of yesterday and nearly turned me into a smurf...but I am happy for our house to be swirl-less.

Before















After (it's not quite as bright as the pictures make it seem)


















*at the National Forensics League (the other NFL) National Tournament. Go Ben Davis!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Music Video Shoot on the Monon

Not surprisingly, the Monon Trail is one of my favorite dog-walking spots. Yesterday, Ramona and I headed out. There's a nice spot north of Broad Ripple where you can go off into the woods and walk beside a creek. Most days, it's uncrowded and Ramona can run free.

Yesterday, I noticed there was a group of people dressed all in white right the south entrance to the wooded trail. So, I stayed on the Monon and decided to head in at the north end. I let Ramona off leash and we were walking along, when all of a sudden I noticed that there were about 8 people all dressed in white Tyvek suits with these odd white cones on their faces, and some of them were carrying what looked like objects from an old timey sci-fi movie. I got Ramona back on her leash before she noticed them (sometimes it's great she's so obtuse). Then, I noticed a camera man and quickly realized we were in their shot. I hopped off the trail (with Ramona) and heard someone yell "Keep Going" to the white-suited folks, one of whom apologized to me (I apologized back). There was a song playing this whole time. Finally, they yelled "Cut," and the suited folks let me by. The production team apologized to me, and I asked what was going on. It turns out they were shooting a music video!

In my bewilderment, I neglected to ask what band it was for. As I was kicking myself on the way home, I realized that I recognized the song but couldn't place it. After talk to Andy, we named off the Indianapolis bands we know and like: Red Light Driver (didn't sound like them), Loretta (broken up), Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos. Andy put Margot on, and 15 seconds into the first song, I said, "this could be it!", and then it kept going, and I excited declared that the song I'd heard was definitely "A Children's Crusade on Acid." So, I am totally disappointed that I didn't talk to them more, but I psyched that they were filming nearby!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What's Six Years of Benzene Releases Among Friends?

BP announced that it had been releasing known carcinogen benzene into the air for the last SIX years. Check out this post from the Huffington Post: BP Has a Deal it Hopes We Can't Refuse. Their argument reported in the Gary Post Tribune article about not causing harm to human health or the environment is particularly frustrating given the amount of time it takes for cancer and other chronic health problems to develop.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jay Bennett

I am a little behind the news, but I was sad to hear that Jay Bennett passed away last weekend. I appreciated what he added to Wilco, and I saw him play a couple times solo, and though the shows were a little weird, they were fun and memorable. He will be missed.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Anything You Can Do, Elijah Wood Can Do Better

I don't like Tobey Maguire. For all those "he was good as Spiderman" people, I might as well share that I really don't like Spiderman. I never have...it has as much to do with how annoying of a character Mary Jane is as anything else, but I digress.

We watched The Good German last night. I generally like Steven Soderbergh, I am a fan of The Cloon, and I like Cate Blanchett a lot, plus the movie is shot in black and white with lots of old timey touches, so I figured I was safe. Then, the movie starts, and Tobey Maguire is "acting" all over the place. He's horrible, worse than usual, and I worry that I'm not going to make it through the movie. "Maybe he'll get killed." I genuinely believe that any role played by Tobey Maguire would be better suited for either (if not both) Topher Grace (frustrating since he also appears in the Spiderman franchise) or Elijah Wood. Andy and I spent much of Maguire's screen time naming actors that would have been better: Andy's dream choice was of course Ryan Gosling, I suggested Shia LeBeouf and Adrian Brody (who Andy declared too old even though he's only 2 years older than Tobey). Heck, there's a pretty good chance that Justin Long would have been better. Luckily, McGuire ended up not being onscreen for the whole movie, and I was able to make it through, but his scenes were painful and distracting. I'll admit that I am okay with Maguire's preformance in Wonder Boys, since he is playing the one role he's capable of (much like Keanu Reeves in Bill and Ted).

By the way, The Good German ended up being just okay. It's worth a watch, espeically if you are into old movies, but it's by no means essential viewing.

Monday, May 11, 2009

(Another) Fox Guarding the Hen House?

IDEM has just released their new Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Legal Counsel. Who is it? Why, it's David Joest, a former registered lobbyist for Peabody Coal. The Post Tribune article provides similar info but (not surprisingly) is more critical. It's another frustrating day for an environmentalist in Indiana.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Message from the CDC

With Indiana reporting 12 new cases of swine flu (ahem, H1N1 flu), I thought now was the perfect time to post this button from the CDC.

Wash your hands with soap and clean running water. Visit www.cdc.gov/h1n1 for more information.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Brothers Bloom

A fellow film-fan and I were talking this evening about how little we were looking forward to the summer movie season. While I am anticipating Funny People and Public Enemies, there is also a bunch of crap I just don't need (see exhibits a, b, and c). That's why I was pretty excited to find that the movie gods have finally put two of my favorites Mark Ruffalo and Adrian Brody together in The Brothers Bloom.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Public Service Announcement

Because of what I do, please frequently ask me what they are supposed to do with their burnt out compact fluorescent light bulbs (or CFLs). By now, most people have gotten the message that you don't want to just throw them out (due to the small amounts of mercury they contain).

The easiest way to dispose of them is to take them to any Home Depot store (here's their store finder). They have partnered with EPA to start a CFL recycling program. You should also be able to take them to your local municipal waste collection, but you should investigate when they are open (you can start at EPA's website or here).

So, what do you do if you break a CFL? Here's EPA's take. You don't need to call a Haz Waste crew (though I do have my 40-hr Hazardous Waste Operator training up to date), but you should take some precautions.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

...it's just like a mini-mall...

This has been spotted various places, but in case you haven't seen it, it is certainly worth two minutes.

And if it tickles your fancy, this spooky remix is pretty solid.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

National Champions!



New Blog

Check out Graham's Portland blog (PDX Lost & Found)...it has been added to our friend's blogs list.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

How Many Tys Does it Take to Win the National Championship?

I'm really hoping the answer is three.

1. Tyler Zeller (looking much tougher than he usually does)

2. Tywan Lawson (on the left)
and of course
3. Tyler "Pyscho T" Hansbrough
Obama's bracket hasn't worked out as well as he hoped. That's okay by me because his champion is still in the mix. I definitely enjoyed the decisive win over Oklahoma last weekend.

I am definitely nervous about tonight's game. Can Carolina beat all of the remaining teams? Definitely. Are they the best team of the bunch? Probably. Does that mean they will win? Certainly not. Last year's debacle was proof enough that even a really good team can collapse.

I am not counting out Villanova---they have some great guards, and we are going to be on top of our game to keep up with them. If we manage to get by them, I think I may be more nervous about Michigan State than UConn....mostly for psychological reasons. We beat MSU earlier in the year in this same venue by 35 points, so I should not be nervous, right? Well, for one, MSU was without key player Suton. For another, Carolina might get lazy, assuming this game will be easy. MSU has gotten much better over the season, and we could be in trouble. But enough talk of the still hypothetical title game. We have to beat a great team to even get there.

Unfortunately I am not going to get to see all of the game tonight because we are going to see Minneapolis rockers The Hold Steady tonight. I suspect I may be hanging out in the bar, and I think The Hold Steady would be okay with that.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Cold Tail

Now that life is settling down again, I'm back to blogging. I must say I am glad to see March is ending. These past couple months have been rough. March certainly isn't going out like a lamb, though; as I write this, snowflakes are falling.

Thursday, we got a scare. Andy stayed home from work and partway through the morning, Ramona started acting really strange. She was extra clingy, and her tail wouldn't wag. Those of you who know Ramona know that she is an extremely waggly dog, so it was a pretty extraordinary situation. When I got home from work, she tried to wag, yelped in pain, and more or less fell down. All in all, it was terrible! BUT there's good news. Her ailment, it turns out, was a temporary one known as cold tail (more info here). It turns out this is fairly common in hunting dogs and is generally caused by overexertion, frequently in cold water. We had taken Ramona to the creek on Wednesday for her first water of the year. Apparently, she overdid it. Ramona was back wagging the next morning and was up to 100% by Saturday.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Obama picks Carolina


In other Obama-related news, check out the new Obama-themed German frozen food product.

***Sorry for the lack of posting lately...life has been a little crazy this month.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dubs

The University of Washington introduced a new mascot. The Huskies have their 11th Malamute (um...). You know you want to follow that link...there's video of a puppy!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Road to Ft. Awesome

It's hard to believe that it's been a year since our big move. At this time last year, we were driving like crazy heading from Santa Fe to Carrboro in record time. Perhaps this is somewhat cheap, but I really enjoyed reading these posts again and thought I'd share them with any who didn't seen them the first time or just want to take a second look.

Crossing the Border

Backtracking
Grand Vegas
The Hoover Dam

High Desert

What's so great about the plains, anyway?

Hoosiers Again

Cat Out of the Bag

While I am not itching for another cross country trip, I must admit that reading these posts is making me antsy for some outdoors to explore. Our weather has improved (the high today is 55!), but we're not yet to hiking weather.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

74-47

I know that it's not nice to gloat about team's losses, but when Duke scores fewer than 50 points in a 27-point loss, I can't help but be gleeful. Did I mention that Duke lost? By a lot? They did. Last night. So did Wake Forest. By a lot.

But wait, there's more. Indiana won!! Their first Big Ten win of the year. There is a lot of hope surrounding Indiana basketball. We went to a game a couple of weeks ago, and the crowd was fantastic. Though it was fairly annoying that the middle-aged lady sitting next to me kept yelling "Miss it!" when Minnesota had the ball and "c'mon Tom!" (referring to Pritchard in this case), I definitely appreciated her enthusiasm. IU is on the way back up. We are through with the nonsense of the last few years, and we can move forward. This win, while not important in terms of IU's record, was needed for the pyche of Indiana fans. Also, Duke lost!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Website

I stumbled across this website that seems like it could turn into something amusing:

indydouchebags.com

I don't really care for the automatically playing music on most pages, but the general concept is pretty awesome.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Best of 2008

As advertised, here are my top ten songs of 2008.

10. "Cherry Tulips" The Headlights
9. "In the New Year" The Walkmen
8. "You Don't Know Me" Ben Folds (feat. Regina Spektor)
7. "Dig, Lazarus, Dig" Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
6. "Always a Friend" Alejandro Escovedo
5. "Walcott" Vampire Weekend
4. "Drive On, Driver" The Magnetic Fields
3. "Punches" Colin Herring
2. "Buildings & Mountains" The Republic Tigers
1. "Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?" She & Him

Looking over this list makes me realize that working so much in the second half of the year has severely cut back on the attention paid to my music collection. Three of the songs in the top ten are from artist I have only heard that one song from (The Headlights, Nick Cave, and The Republic Tigers). I guess I've heard other Nick Cave, but not from this album, and we saw The Republic Tigers open for Nada Surf, but I haven't investigated them further.

Also, since Josh requested, I'll talk about one more new band. The band that I am into most right now (though I just found out about them about 6 weeks ago, so they didn't make the list) is called Titus Andronicus. It's kind of like a cross between the Thermals & Bright Eyes. And that's a winning combo. Check them out!

*As I'm posting this, I see that Titus Andronicus is playing in Bloomington on Monday, Feb. 9th. That will be tough, but I may try to go...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Commercial From 1981

One of my students directed me to this unfortunately named diet product from the early 80s.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Last Year's Songs

I've been so absent in my blogging that it has taken back to back snow days for me to get around to posting on the music of 2008. Using the same criteria as last year, here's what Lazerbeak (my ipod) tells me I've been listening to:

25. "Say Back Something" - Tapes 'n Tapes (22)
24. "23" - Blonde Redhead (22)
23. "Girls Who Play Guitars" - Maximo Park (23)
22. "You! Me! Dancing!" - Los Campesinos! (23)
21. "Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe" - Okkervil River (24)
20. "White Winter Hymnal" - Fleet Foxes (24)
19. "Always a Friend" - Alejandro Escovedo (24)
18. "Rooks" - Shearwater (25)
17. "Are You Lightening" - Nada Surf (25)
16. "Falling Slowly" - Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova (25)
15. "Bodysnatchers" - Radiohead (26)
14. "Paper Planes" - M.I.A. (26)
13. "Buildings and Mountains" - The Republic Tigers (27)
12. "The Modern Leper" - Frightened Rabbit (27)
11. "No Sunlight" - Death Cab For Cutie (27)
10. "Old Song" - AM (27)
9. "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors" - Editors (30)
8. "Big Kid Table" - Thao Nguyen (31)
7. "Tamacun" - Rodrigo y Gabriela (31)
6. "Dig, Lazarus, Dig" - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (32)
5. "Northwestern Girls" - Say Hi to Your Mom (34)
4. "Cherry Tulips" - Headlights (34)
3. "Punches" - Colin Herring (37)
2. "Walcott" - Vampire Weekend (40)
1. "Drop Me Off" - Pela (41)

That's all for now, my top ten of the year forthcoming.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Big Snow

Central and southern Indiana got drilled with snow over the last 36 hours. Elizabeth claims it's the most snow she's ever been in, and I think it may be the case for me, as well (excluding ski resorts). Indianapolis got right around 12 inches of snow. It took the two of us around three hours combined to dig our cars out. School was canceled in Wayne Township today, and has already been canceled tomorrow. I think this is the first time they've canceled school in three years.

Ramona seems to be the big winner in this deal. She loves the snow, and has been begging to go outside (which she never does). She particularly likes losing her tennis ball then spending 10 minutes plunging her head into the snow looking for it. I have to admit that it's pretty cute.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A New Day at EPA

I know my last post was about Obama's promise to return science to decision-making, but I can't resist a second one. Today, I received an EPA newsletter that included the poem below written by an EPA scientist, who seems even more excited than me about the new direction. This poem was in an official EPA newsletter that included these topics: "Summary of National Forum on Vapor Intrusion" and "Reducing Subsurface Hexavalent Chromium to Harmless Trivalent Chromium Through Injection of Ferrous Iron."

An Ode to Science at EPA
By Mike Gill*
"We will restore science to its rightful place......." - President Barack Obama, January 20, 2009

Now that Barack is on our side
Let's rethink those apps for pesticides
Again, it's all about compliance
Enforcement, clean air, and yes, it's SCIENCE!

This President, he makes no bones
About our health, clean water, and homes
He knows that citizens are his clients
Not industry, no! It's about the SCIENCE!

That's right, Obama knows the score
About kids and bugs and bunnies, for sure
No longer do we have to act in defiance
When we make our decisions based on SCIENCE!

* Mike Gill
ORD Superfund and Technology Liaison
US EPA Region 9 / SFD-84

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bringing Science Back

We have a new president!!!!

Today was very exciting. I took a half day and came home to watch it all live. My favorite part of the speech: "We will restore science to its rightful place." Yea for science!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Contact Your Senator

Attention all Hoosiers! Please consider contacting your state senators about some legislation in the works. It will be a disaster for a state that already ranks 49th in the environment and has this official position on global warming.

Senate Bill 79 would create an oversight board to ensure that Indiana can't have laws stricter than the federal government. This is BAD! Federal laws are intended to be broad and cannot cover all state-related issues. Indiana is so far behind on the environment already; we do not need to move even farther behind.

Please, please contact your senator.

Sorry for the political plea that is this post, but I had to do it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Silent Film Era

From The Onion

Man Gets Into Mess Usually Reserved For Stars Of Silent Film Era

January 16, 2009

BOWLING GREEN, KY—Stumbling around his study with a large metal bucket lodged firmly over his head, area accountant and father of three Michael Dewley once again found himself in a situation traditionally reserved for film stars of the early 20th century.

Man On Pole

Dewley attempts to mail some letters last March.

Dewley, who works at a local investment firm and once mistook two men inside of a horse costume for the genuine article, got himself in his latest fix early Monday morning. According to sources, this is the fifth time in as many weeks that the 43-year-old has experienced the sort of bumbling mishap usually portrayed in silent American comedies.

"It's always something with Michael," said longtime friend and former business associate Phillip Bowman. "Either the poor bastard is getting smacked in the face with a plank of wood, or he's tumbling head over heels down a long spiral staircase."

Added Bowman, "I don't think I've ever been out with the guy and not seen him end up covered in feathers."

Over the course of his life, Dewley has reportedly fallen from a 20-foot barn ladder on seven separate occasions, slipped into a giant vat of fresh cream at least three times, and once, while vacationing with his family in Egypt, managed to stir a 5,000-year-old mummy from its restful slumber.

While the accidents were amusing and even entertaining at first, sources close to Dewley said that watching him repeatedly hammer his own thumb and hop around the room in excruciating pain has grown difficult over time.

"It used to be funny—you know, in a broad sort of way—but now I just feel bad for him," brother-in-law Peter Havemeyer said. "I mean, how many times can you watch someone get punched in the face by a trained kangaroo before it starts to get to you? Poor Michael. The man is just covered in welts."

Dewley's blunders have reportedly taken a tremendous toll on his physical well-being. In April, the 43-year-old was disfigured beyond all recognition after walking into a plate-glass window, while earlier this month, Dewley had to be rushed into surgery following a bloody encounter with a rolling-pin-wielding matron.

According to doctors at Greenview Regional Hospital, if Dewley trips on one more discarded banana peel or is struck in the face by one more malfunctioning Murphy bed, he runs the risk of suffering permanent brain damage.

"We've been banned from every opera house in town, and pretty much any hotel with a bellhop or, God forbid, a revolving door," wife Sheila Dewley said. "It's getting to be too much. Please don't tell him, but I'm seriously thinking of taking the kids and just leaving."

In addition to the strain they have put on his marriage, Dewley's mishaps have reportedly ruined his personal finances. Three small children, stacked in a teetering column and concealed beneath a full-length trench coat, sold the accountant nearly $6,500 worth of life insurance in November.

Making matters worse, Dewley was laid off from work late last week after mistakenly wrestling his boss's wife, a dignified woman in a large peacock-feather hat, to the ground.

"I heard they were going to have to sell their home and maybe move in with Sheila's parents," former coworker Robert Daverson said. "With everything that's happened, it's hard to even look at Michael these days. Especially when his pants fall down in front of large groups of people."

According to those closest to him, Dewley may have reached the end of his rope. He frequently breaks down at the sight of seltzer water and often experiences crippling nightmares in which he is chased by a giant bicycle horn. Friends are worried the unemployed family man may be on the verge of a complete mental collapse.

"Please make it stop," said Dewley, his legs slowly sinking in a patch of fresh cement. "I beg you, please, just make it all stop. I'll do anything—anything!"

As of press time, a strange shadow roughly the size and shape of a concert grand piano, was growing around Dewley's feet.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Coldest Ever

I know I know, another post about the cold, but seriously, it is absurdly cold. The NWS says it's -7 with a -25 wind chill right now. Indianapolis Public Schools are canceled because of the cold. Many other schools were on a delay but really should have been called off. When your temperature increases from -12 to -10 during the 2 hours of delay, I am not sure how much good it does. Yesterday, it actually got COLDER during the delay (IPS was smart again and had no delay). One of Andy's students got frostbite yesterday, and today's worse. It is going to get "better," as it is supposed to get up to 7 today (as opposed to yesterday's 1).

All of this cold got me thinking (b/c really all I am thinking about is how cold it is), and it occurred to me that I have never been in weather this cold. I grew up in NC, and I can't remember a time where the high temperature was right around 0. I have lived in Indiana before, but it was never this cold. So, this is officially my coldest weather EVER!

I can't wait for tomorrow's high of 26!!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cold enough for ya?

The temperatures this week are taking a nosedive. The low Thursday night is -8 F. On Friday, we may get up to 9 F.

I realize I live in Indiana, and that it is winter, but I really feel that the high temperature should get out of single digits, and I am quite disturbed by the National Weather Service's pictorial forecast. This image of "cold" is so distressing....a man struggling to keep upright against the bitter wind...as if I wasn't disturbed enough.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Poem of the Month

Check it out! A poem by my Mom was featured by the North Carolina Poetry Society as the Poem of the Month for December.

What Next?

Woman
In the mirror,
Where did you come from? You
Seem so old, yet still you whisper
What next?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

What was Morgan Freeman Thinking?

This is an oldie (2002) but holds up well. This video is hilarious to this day. And it's hard to imagine what information Steve Azar has on Morgan Freeman that compelled him to do this video.

The embedding option on you tube has been "disabled by request" (harrumph!) so you'll have to follow the link.

Plus, check out this comment on youtube: "Great song...still love it to this day. Great video...how fantastic is Morgan Freeman. Great arms? How did I not notice those before, Steve?"

Saturday, January 3, 2009

News Flash...Ramona likes the Beach!

Part of our holiday trip to NC was spent in Wrightsville Beach (the site of our wedding!). It was Ramona's first trip to the ocean, and not surprisingly, she had a fantastic time. The weather was amazing (in the 60s and sunny), and Ramona crashed through the waves until we made her stop. She was a bit of a brat, refusing to fetch her new Christmas present of a water toy holding out for a tennis ball.

Into the waves

Back triumphant

Throw it again!!

Some sort of sea monster emerging from the water


video
Ramona in action