Friday, June 30, 2006

so i did.

by monty powell and keith urban:

Well I've never been the kind to ever let my feelings show
And I thought that bein' strong meant never losin' your self-control
But I'm just drunk enough to let go of my pain
To hell with my pride
Let it fall like rain, from my eyes
Tonight I wanna cry.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Does This Bike Make My Butt Look Fast?

so... as i said in my last update, i had the rest of the week tightly planned. tuesday, i hung out with mom and we had a fantastic day of r&r. we went to the tejanita seafood restaurant and had shrimp cocktail for brunch (envision a bloody mary with huge boiled gulf shrimp and pico de gallo and limes in it), followed by X-Men 3 in the theater (maybe not as good as x-2,, but overall a good film), followed by salty-lime smoothies (basically, a virgin margarita in a cup the size of Sonic's Route 44 drinks), and then pedicures! yea! then, we rented movies and watched 16 Blocks (Bruce Willis does NOT look like himself in that movie, and Mos Def has a very annoying accent but delivers great acting, as always), followed by The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. i'd heard from other people that it wasn't up to the standard set by the book, but since i read the books when i was in 4th grade, it lived up to the foggy memories i had. it hit all the high points and was beautiful to watch, at any rate.

wednesday, i worked on my fish tank and then had swim-time with a friend of mine. i had bought some new rocks and plants and such for my tank, and i wanted to put them in. the new gravel is a mish-mash of reds, pinks, and purples which goes very well with my plants, which are green and red. i had to get the fish out so i could get the gravel in, so that meant i had to get a bunch of water out, too. i used my gravel vacuum to siphon a bunch of water into my largest cooler. that didn't look like enough, though. not that i didn't think my fish would fit in there, but i had to net all my fish out of the tank. it's easier to chase the little boogers down when they don't have much water to run and hide in. so i had to get the water level pretty low just to make the process of catching them easier. so i got my next-biggest cooler out and used it, as well. then i decided i could get more water into both of the coolers, so i siphoned off a little more. that accounted for about 75% of the water in my 45 gallon tank, and i was very pleased with myself. i should've known, at that point, i'd made a mistake. as they say, though, experience is knowledge you acquire five minutes after you needed it. i netted out the fish and put them all into the big cooler. then i started pulling out the rocks and stuff that were in there. there were also a few adventures with the electricity, the tank lid, the light, the bubbler, and the filter, but they don't make for a good story. i'll just say that i spent some time jacking around with all that gear before i ever got to the good part, which was putting the new stuff in the tank. just before i got to add the new rocks to the tank, i looked over to check on my fish and noticed there was one in the smaller cooler.


i had, as previously stated, put them ALL in the large cooler. and as i was looking over and noticing this stray fish in the small cooler and pondering how he got there, he jumped right out of the small cooler and onto the table it was sitting on. EEP! so i dashed over and caught him gently and replaced him into the large cooler. you'd think at this point that i'd close the lid on the cooler, right? NO! so i added the gravel to the tank, mixed it in, put in the new plants (they look fabulous, btw) and turned around to see a fish on the carpet next to me. *gasp!* i picked him up, pulled the dog hair off him and put him back in the cooler. he was okay, it seemed, as he swam off. i had another adventure adding a new bubbler column to my undergravel filter, seeing as how i was missing a part i needed. i had to improvise some tubing foo, but by this point i'd been on the phone with my swimming buddy a couple of times and i didn't have time to get over to my Local Fish Store (LFS) before i went to swim. i looked over in time to see the SAME FISH leaping again out of the small cooler and onto the table top, so i rescued him again and still failed to close the lid on the cooler. i got all the large, decorative pieces back into the tank and added the new hunk o' driftwood (supah-fly!) and then started putting the water back in.

it's not as easy to siphon water INTO a tank as it is to siphone water OUT of a tank. in fact, unless you have a jackstand, it's nigh impossible to get the water in the cooler up high enough to make a siphon that'll put it back in the tank. so i siphoned the water out of the coolers and into my 3-gallon water-change bucket and poured it back into the tank.
there was a lot of water to be moved. i siphoned out of the big cooler first, hoping to keep any more fish from committing suicide. in the process of getting water back into the tank and getting the filter running, i did find one fish who'd managed to jump out and die and dry off completely before i found him. burial at sea. back to business. so, tank reassembled, electrical power restored, bubbles bubbling, rocks and plants and driftwood and fish all in place, it occurred to me that i might've just buried my snails. oops.

i know i mentioned that i had two snails. i got them as a kind of bonus when i bought my day-glo tetras. what i've noticed since then is that i have FOUR snails. this leads me to the conclusion that some of my snails are reproducing. i know for absolute certain fact that i've only put two in there, but i also know beyond any shade of doubt that there are four snails in there now, at least. there's a giant brown one, a medium brown one, a tiny brown one, and a spotted one. i hoped that i hadn't killed them and went off to swim.

swam. yea! good times visiting and swimming, even though it was cut short by a call to duty. my friend went to work, and i stopped by the LFS to get the part i was missing for my second bubbler column. parts purchased, i went on home and rigged up my second bubbler. yea! found another pescicide victim. i have to assume he jumped of his own accord and wasn't thrown out of the cooler by his buddies, but he was dead and dry and looking kinda like something you'd find in a plastic baggie in an ethnic grocery store by the time i found him. still no snails. burial at sea. good night's sleep.

woke up early and hit the road for my motorcycle safety class. yee-haw! i learned how to drive a motorcycle! two days of class. i had a great time, i only dropped the bike once, and i passed the test. i survived the early morning starts (i had to BE THERE, ready to go, at 7 am. feel my pain.) with the assistance of good coffee and a good sense of humor. the class was great, i recommend it highly. ( that afternoon, i went down to the dps office, took my written test, and got my M endorsement on my driver's license. yea! the only bad thing is that i DID have helmet-hair for my picture. ah, well. at least i'm not wearing the same plaid shirt that i've had on in my last three license photos. the license always expires in january, on my birthday, and for the last three photos i've been wearing the same red plaid flannel shirt. as mild as the winters are here, it doesn't get much wear, but once i realized that i'd worn it in three consecutive license pictures, i retired the shirt. it's gone.

anyway, after two days of intense concentration in the summer sun, i was wiped out. so i took a nap. when i woke up, i went and checked on my tank and found -- my snails! yea! i saw all four of them at various points in the evening. i did find that one of my fish had died and been caught on the filter intake. or got caught on the filter intake and died, not sure what order it happened in. i think it was probably the guy who got dog hair stuck to him. fish are notoriously fragile and that sort of trauma is usually deadly. i managed, with some considerable effort, to net him out of the tank and bury him at sea, as well. i also checked my mail and discovered that my new work gear had arrived. i've got an all-in-one print-fax-scanner thingie, a wireless router, and a laptop. whee! cool new toys!

saturday, i spent the day shopping for motorcycles. i found three that really "fit" well... A Honda VTX1300C, a Yamaha RoadStar, and a Suzuki Boulevard C90T. Also notable were the Yamaha Stratoliner and RoyalStar, and of course the one I drool for but have yet to straddle, the Honda Valkyrie. i haven't gotten to sit on it because it's been discontinued and i haven't found a used one yet that i could flirt myself into the saddle of. i'm working on it, though. i've definitely got the bug and want to buy something, but i'm waiting to get the new job situation settled and finances straight before i do it. and i need to sit on a valk so i can get it out of my system. either i'll sit on it and love it and go buy one, or it won't fit right and won't be comfortable and i can then move on to one that does fit me.

saturday night, my girlfriend and i went to see "Turtles and Tuna" at the Majestic in downtown Dallas. WOW!!! that was a funny show. it was the Turtle Creek Chorale as backup singers for Joe Sears and Jaston Williams, the "Greater Tuna" actors. they did a sendup of all things smalltown and southern, with an emphasis on the local Dallas flavor of the thing. highlights: the cattle stampede, the Strangerettes tryout, and the "Baptist On The Roof" spoof of "Fiddler On The Roof". yee-haw!

sunday, i slept. a lot. and i ate. and then i slept some more. wrapped up the night with a rousing game of WoW and then i slept some more.

today, i start the new job. wish me luck!

Monday, June 19, 2006


Gosh, I'm behind on the blog. So, the people that called and asked how I wanted my name spelled in my e-mail did make a formal offer. So, I've got a new job. Last week was my last on the old job and I did the transition with the new guy and everything. The nice thing about leaving is that I don't really like the new guy. This is unusual for me, because I get on well and easily with almost everybody I've ever met. He seems to be trying too hard, though, and he aggravates me. So, between the new guy and the fact that I was bored off my bum in the old position, I'm really keen on starting the new one.

The new job starts next week, so I'm off for this one. So I spent the weekend visiting my godsons, which was awesome. I love those boys. The baby is starting to talk, and he is terribly amusing. He calls Molly by name, such as his pronunciation is, but their two family dogs he simply calls "dog". He's a little unclear on the concept of "fetch" and when he throws the ball to Molly, he chases after her declaring loudly: RUN!!! As she gets to the ball and turns around and runs past him, he giggles and follows, again crying: RUN!!! He lets you know you need to catch him by declaring "JUMP" just before he launches himself into the air from wherever he's perched. The middle one is a stereotypical redhead. He's a total kamikaze, and loves nothing more than to be picked up and thrown around the room. I was bummed to have had back trouble the whole preceding week, because it made it difficult for me to swing him around. Regardless, we managed to have fun. He loves to play imagination-games, and I usually end up sitting still and asking a few questions to move things along while he spins an entire world of fantasy around me. The oldest is almost as big a geek as I am. I love it! He's planning to be George Washington for Halloween. How cool is that?!?! I sat and watched him play video games and he explained to me how to kill Geonosians (the insect-like bad guys from Star Wars, Episode II: Attack Of The Clones) and the finer points of earning merit badges in the Veggie Tales Cub Sprouts game. It was an enlightening weekend!

Then I went to see my baby sister in Austin and we assembled the furniture she'd bought at Ikea. That was fun, and we only made two mistakes. Once, we put a drawer-slide on the wrong supporting leg, but that was easy to fix. The other mistake was going from the wrong direction with screws that fixed the drawer to the rails, so the drawer wouldn't close. She figured out how to pull the screws out while I fussed with the keyboard tray and we got it all sorted out. We ended up having to perform some percussive adjustments (with a hammer) to other parts of the thing to get it all put together right, but we did it. Nothing broke, and it all worked. Of course, I've received reports that there was a good deal of percussive adjustment required in the assembly of the bench that went along with the desk. I hope it holds together when she tries to sit on it!

We wound up the night at Poodie's Hilltop Bar and Grill in Spicewood, TX watching game 4 of the NBA finals. Wow, was that a nail-biter, or what?!?! As my friend said, the officiating was total crap. We were accosted by a very drunk cowboy who was either a Bull Rider, Retired Bull Rider or Rodeo Clown and was somewhere between 32 and 52 years old. He introduced himself variously as all of those things at one point or another in that conversation. He managed to dance once or twice with my sister before he was thrown out of the bar, and we came to the conclusion that one should NEVER miss the opportunity to be ugly to a drunk rodeo clown. We also met some zany Hawaiians who also had a house there in Spicewood. Anyone who has a Humuhumunukunukuapua'a tattooed on their butt is probably good people. However, if they'll hike up their shorts and show it to you in a bar, you should probably question their sobriety. The really funny part of that encounter was that the husband of the tattooed woman decided that he had my sister and I figured out, based on the 15 minutes he'd spent talking to us. He declared that my baby sister was obviously the Smart One, and Good With Numbers; I was the Crazy One. We played along with him for the moment and giggled to each other for the rest of the night. If anyone with a modicum of knowlege about my sisters and I were ever asked to classify us, I can absolutely guarantee that I'd be "The Smart One" and my baby sister would be "The Crazy One". The middle sister would probably be either "The Tough One" or "The Sensible One". She's damn amazing, and I'd call her "The Pretty One" but I might offend the baby sister if I did that. Can't wait to see which of them I get comments from first after that. :)

So, the weekend past, I made my way down to my folks' house and hung out with Mom. Dad's working out of town and I probably won't get to see him while I'm down here. Anyway, Mom and I are having a good time. I'm blogging from her laptop right now, drinking red wine and watching Comedy Central. This is kinda like carbs for the Atkins-dieter in my head. I've been cable-free for so long that watching it is both a huge rush and a bit shameful.

Well, I've got the rest of the week and weekend tightly planned. Hopefully, I'll get to blog about it more sometime soon. Until then, I'm off to have more of the wine and the cable. Hopefully I don't sink into a sugar coma.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

camping foo!

i had such an outstandingly good weekend last weekend, it's just taken me a couple of days to process the photos and get around to writing it up.

friday night was our last softball game of the season. what's that you say? you didn't know i was playing softball? aha! i'm a woman of many secret talents... /me trails off mysteriously
anyway, i played 2nd base, as i always do. the thing that has flummoxed me over and over this season has been the infield fly. i know... they're easy. and i ALWAYS get under them and i ALWAYS catch them, but either because of bad technique, or bad luck, or a stiff glove or one of a million other reasons that's been suggested to me by many wise and caring onlookers, i USUALLY drop them. the ball hits the pocket of my glove, bounces out, and hits the ground. this happened to me TWICE!!!! during friday's game.

now, we play co-ed city league with some rule variations that are intended to facilitate a league schedule, and some that are intended to level the playing field for men and women. we play with a clock, for one thing. whenever time runs out, you finish that inning and then the game is over, no matter how many innings you have (or haven't) completed.

friday, we were up by 4 with three minutes on the clock when what should've been our last at-bat came around. we tried (unsuccessfully) to run the clock out, but there was still about a minute left when i was thrown out at first base for our 3rd out of the inning. so we had to take another inning in the field. our right-fielder made a really bad error wherein she ran down a ball after it landed near her and rolled off (afraid of the ball, doesn't attempt to catch it) and threw it backward (is too nervous to throw overhand, tries an underhand pitch to first) over her own head. by the time she'd recoverd the ball and managed to get it in to first, what should've been a single was a 3-run homer, and we were only up by 1. somewhere in there we got two outs, and with the clock dead if we can get a third out before they score again we win. at this point, an infield fly comes to me at second base... do you have ANY idea how bad i wanted to catch and hold that damn fly ball? well, as these things go, i DID catch it and hold it. i must've had the most triumphant look on my face, i probably looked like i'd just won an oscar or accepted the enemy general's surrender or something... everyone cheered, people clapped me on the back... it was great.

so then i went home to pack for camping. yea!

p and i got up (fairly) early in the morning and loaded up my truck with coolers, tent, sleeping bags, dog, and selves. we drove up to lake murray in oklahoma (not far from turner falls) and met up with some lother chicks to camp out. our site was literally atop a cliff overlooking the lake, with an easy boulderfall path down to the water, so we ambled down there and molly fetched her fool head off. some of the other women had brought their (older) dogs who were doing their all just to get down to the water and prance along the shore. molly, on the other hand, didn't stop swimming until nightfall. she was blissfully exhausted.

around sunset a guy who'd been fishing a little ways down decided to pull up and go home, so he offered us his catch: a catfish and two bluegill. i spoke up for them, but then that meant i had to clean them! i went looking for a fish-cleaning station, but none was in sight. one of the couples we were with had given me their big cutting knife, which was utterly unsuitable for the task. the blade was too flexible and too dull. if it'd been that dull and pretty stiff, i coulda used it ok. if it'd been flexible and sharp, it woulda been perfect. anyway, i was having so much trouble with the catfish, i eventually took p's swiss army pocket knife and finished the job with it. i'll spare you the gory details, but i got the fish cleaned on top of a flat rock, by the light of a coleman lantern, using a swiss army knife. i felt so dyke-y i could've popped!Triumph!

we had delightful kabobs with marinated chicken and peppers and onions. we roasted marshmallows over the fire and smooshed them atop homemade brownies (the knife-providing couple had brought them from home. we didn't actually bake over our campfire). we told stories and drank beer until all of 10:30 when sunbaked exhaustion and full bellies and early rises took their toll and we all crawled off to our sheets.

so sunday dawned and i woke to find coffee brewed (in a percolator over the fire!!) and "mess" made. "mess" is some kind of breakfast mashup made from grits, eggs, and bacon. it was great! thank you, s, for making coffee and making breakfast and for letting us all sleep until a decent hour. in short, thanks for being a morning person, and for realizing that not everyone shares that particular orientation.

we struck camp and went down to the marina to rent canoes. we canoed out with the dogs and paddled around for about an hour. we played a little "bumper canoes" and had some adventures when molly decided to jump out and swim. she had a hard time getting back in, of course, and ended up swimming to shore. everyone (but me) was afraid she was going to try to kill the fledgling geese that were on the shore, but she ignored them utterly and went over to a picnicking family to lick them and see if they had any gooshyfood. they didn't, so she came back to the boat and i hauled her in. p managed to keep us balanced so we didn't flip over while i did that, and i kept a foot firmly planted on molly's leash for the rest of the ride. no more swimming for her!

we lunched and drove back home in time to clean up, nap, wash dishes, and fry up those fish! (you'd already forgotten about the fish, hadn't you?) they were yummy! and now, my girlfriend knows how to fry catfish.

many thanks to my dad for the tip on frying the bluegill whole and lifting the filets off after they were cooked. it worked perfectly!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Phantom Meme!

You scored as Christine Daee. Christine Daee is the sweet, young and beautiful new soprano at the Opera Populaire. She thinks that the voice teaching her to sing in her head is an Angel of Music, sent by her dead father from heaven. Soon, she learns that this mysterious tutor is the Phantom of the Opera, who dwells beneath the Opera House and is madly in love with her. She is horrified by his mutated face and brutal murders, but she feels sorry for him. Soon, her childhood boyfriend Raoul turns up as the Opera Populaire's patron, and he doesn't like the mesmerizing power that the Phantom holds over her, the Phantom doesn't like how Raoul tries to turn her away from him, and thus the love triangle forms.

Christine Daee


The Vicomte de Chagny




La Carlotta


Who Are You In The Phantom of the Opera?
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