Saturday, May 21, 2005

Wine country tour today!

We're off for a tour of the Oregon Wine Country today with stops at three different wineries for tasting. (Don't worry, we're on a bus with a bunch of other vaguely bibulous tourists.)

I need to go pack a lunch. TTFN!


Friday, May 20, 2005

For the wordsmiths and linguists

My favorite person just pointed out a great There are some amazing word games there. Start with Strike a Match and go from there. You'll want to register, but basic registration is free.

I'm debriding parts of the house, then I'm off to bed. Cleaning lady comes Friday am early and the house shall sparkle after she's been here. Huzzah!


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Really bad day but not without its merits

Just a whole lotta garbage today--relative in hospital, other problems. Bleah. But I got a reasonably acceptable offer on the next book contract and the plants are growing, so that's something. I'm going to eat some kind of food and go to bed and pull the covers over my head. {snivel} Better day tomorrow, I'm sure.

But here's something interesting: for someone who's as curious about our trip through life as I am, here's a photo ager. You can upload your photo... or someone else's... and it'll give you an idea of what you'll look like in 10, 20, 30, or 40 years.


Monday, May 16, 2005

I bought a new banjo... and it's my first

I've just gotten a very special banjo: it's an old Kay banjo, a five-string with a mahogany neck and a rosewood fingerboard.

The head is probably some kind of plastic although it looks like skin--not likely a skin head would be this tight and would last this long. It's got a resonator on it, but I've taken it off--I want the open back sound to it.

Here's a picture from the back. You can see the nice flame pattern in the neck.

The pegs are metal and solid. They're rather unusual, as most of the straight-through pegs you find have some kind of plastic knob on 'em. Finding a Kay banjo with this particular feature has been something of a challenge, as most of them have the ivory-colored plastic.

Okay, it looks nice, it's in really good condition, and it's sturdy (although I do have to make some adjustments to the neck to get it just perfect), but what makes this banjo really special? Easy: this is the make and model of banjo that I started playing on, lo! these many moons ago, in 1971. I bought it from a very nice man through eBay and it just came today. Just pulling it out of the box and looking at it brought back a million memories of being in high school in Tucson and learning to play banjo and guitar.

There's nothing really special about this banjo of itself. It's like any of thousands of other low-end basic banjos. But save for a missing decal at the top of the peghead, it's the spitting image of the one I had. Even better, when I got it strung up with new strings, the tone was the same as the one I used to have Way Back When! It's a slightly different tone from any of my other banjos (this one's number #5 in the house) and I recall walking around Tucson, playing the banjo and singing songs. Gawd, I just well up with happiness at recovering a part of my youth. {deep and happy sigh}


I'm being monitored

Yang doesn't always sleep on the monitor. Sometimes he sits on top of it and watches me. His attention span is limited, though, and he usually falls asleep relatively quickly, so I can get back to work.


Sunday, May 15, 2005

Photos now and more photos soon

After almost losing my cell phone's phonebook and pix and games and whatnot last week, I've ordered interface software and a cable for the phone. I'll be able to pull photos out of the phone without spending a fortune to send them to my email address, making it a convenient low-end digital camera. Blogs are so much nicer with pictures!

Meanwhile, I'm going to have to add pictures manually here and there from my files. Fortunately, I've got big files of stuff. Here are a few scanned photos my father sent me of his parents and grandparents.

This is a picture of my paternal grandfather Herman ("Harry"), a bunch of his siblings (my great-aunts and great-uncles), and my patrilineal great-grandparents as follows. The back row is George, Paul, and Fred. Next is Matilda ("Tillee") and Helena ("Lena"). Herman ("Harry") and Ferdinand, Jr., are in the next row, center. In front are Margaret (my g'grandmother), Herbert, and Ferdinand (my g'grandfather). This was probably taken in Excelsior, MN, around 1915, give or take a few years.

This is a picture of my paternal grandfather in his early 20s. He looks a lot like my father and me. (The family genes bear a strong imprint on both sides--I like that!)

A photo of Corinne Kipp Hedtke, my paternal grandmother, as a very young woman. This is probably from 1918.


Carl's, Jr. : good food but bad ads

For fast food, I'm very fond of Carl's, Jr. Unfortunately, they've got a lousy creative director. The last big ad was a small, mean-spirited thing with a baby near term threaten to cause internal damage if he didn't get jalapeno poppers; now they've got Paris Hilton as a spokesperson.

The problems with using Paris Hilton is that she's not very good-looking, she's got the IQ of a small soap dish, her voice tends to pit glass, and she's just basically trashy. I accidentally caught her show on the toob several months ago and it's clear that she's a whiny, self-absorbed bitch. Her only real claim to fame... well, notoriety, is her appearance in an amateur porn video. I've seen some of it and, honestly, she's not very good at that either. (Life is hard when you're too dumb to f***, I guess.)

Carl's, Jr., has a great product but lousy ads. With any kind of luck, they'll dump their creative director and their ad agency and do ads that have some actual appeal to them.

[end soapbox mode]

Addendum, 6/6/2010: I stumbled over this post when adding labels to the blog posts and I need to add that it turns out that Carl's, Jr., isn't worth eating at for any reason. Carl Karcher, the founder of Carl's, Jr., makes personal donations to anti-choice organizations. His choice to do so and the chain itself isn't making these, but some portion of the profits will go to Carl K., who will give some of this money to anti-choice organizations. He can do that, of course, but it's also my choice to not support this activity with my custom. Here's an article from that gives more detail on this and also on Domino's Pizza.


It worked out the way I'd hoped

I peered out the window and saw that it had indeed rained a little last night. Everything got watered, spreading the liquid fertilizer around nicely. I just went outside to see and all the plants are singing. The squashes and melons that I'd planted in containers are showing a lot of growth already. One of them has even thrown out its first true leaf last night, so they're happy with their new homes. The row of tomato plants is all standing up straight and tall without any transplant shock. And the beds of impatiens are showing new blooms and new buds. Hitting everyone with a shot of fertilizer was clearly the way to go. What really makes me feel good is that I hung up the big bass windchime. Hearing the gentle plongs in the morning when it's cool and sweet and green-smelling makes me happy.

I've been looking at podcasting sources and online references to get ready for the new book. The field's starting to explode! Huzzah!

And for those of you who haven't yet gone there in person or online yet, go, go! to the Seattle Teacup. While I was there a week ago, I replenished tea stocks and got half a dozen new flavors that I've been wallowing in since I got home. I'm drinking Pampelmousse Bleu right now, a light French tea with hints of grapefruit (okay, it sounds strange if you're not used to this, but trust me, it's a wonderful breakfast tea!). Yesterday, I had Aristocrat blend, an Empress Hotel knockoff, and an English Breakfast decaf later in the day. The day before, I had looooooots of Lychee Congou, one of my favorites: black tea with lychee juice so that it has body and a rich fragrance. All of these are in my new teapot, which holds three pints of tea at least.

It's all working out the way I'd hoped.