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Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I promise, I didn't drink the rum! It was just there! I was dead at the time!

(The link is for fun. Don't ask me how it tastes.)

Monday, July 06, 2009

Fourth of July, Texas style

On Saturday morning, I woke up at 6:30 and went to Mass with Mom, but I was so tired after Mass that I just had to stay up and play Starcraft. The kids came over at about noon or so and they were all cranky. Mary wanted to be the boss (again), Timmy wanted someone to hold him and Mikey wanted some attention too, since Mary and Timmy were crying. Mom put all three down for naps, so AJ and Anya were the only two up, but even they crashed after a little bit. We decided that it would be better to leave around 3PM, and since I had foolishly played away my nap time, I decided that a power nap was better than none at all, so I laid down on the couch -- just in time for AJ and Anya and Mary to all get up and show me all the fireworks that Jimmy had brought over. I got about 5 minutes of skim sleep -- it may have been 2%, but it certainly wasn't whole, and therefore not real.

So we stopped at Sonic on the way out the door and picked up a Route 44 mango soda drink for me and a couple small slushies for AJ and Anya (I'm yawning thinking about this). The drive took an hour and a half, but the kids swear it was longer. I got AJ interested in directions. I told him we were going north on 75, so if we turned left when we exited onto highway 380, then we weren't going north anymore. He was really clever and announced that we were now going west. Anya was also awake, so Mom was pointing out this and that and the kids were oohing and aahing, but the fireworks hadn't even started yet. It was only cornfields and livestock. AJ decided that he was going to live in the country when he grows up.

When we arrived at Emma's family's house, we walked down to where the party was. Sarah had just cut her foot wide open and so Mrs. F was driving her back to get stitches, so everything was pretty well normal. Emma and Mr. F were cleaning up and setting up decorations. I helped for a few minutes, and then the kids discovered the outside toys: slides and tire swings and whatnot. Excitement ensued as they pleaded with Mom, "Grandma please push us on the swings!", "Grandma, watch me slide down the slide!", and other such requests, so she did for a while. I chased Michael around, especially when he discovered the lake. He wanted to run and explore but mean old Uncle Anthony and Grandma wouldn't let him play in the water, so he figured out other methods of getting dirty: cow patties.

Soon enough, AJ and Anya had found that the tire swings weren't much fun when Grandma was watching Mikey and Mary on the slide, so they cajoled (read: begged) their uncle into pushing them. This is where Anthony is the sucker of the Smitha family. "You want me to push you? OK." So, excitedly, they chose their tire swings and I pushed them for a while. AJ wanted the regular tire swing, so he climbed in with a bit of help, and Anya wanted one of the horse tire swings, so I picked her up and put her on it. I was watching the tree branches carefully, so I pushed them slowly at first, but that soon disintegrated into "FASTER!" and "HIGHER!". Caution was thrown to the wind (as far as they were concerned) and they were soon going about 70 degrees from their starting points from the axis of the branch. They were having a blast. Then AJ saw that Anya was having a blast on her horse swing, so he wanted to get on the other one. With a bit of help, he climbed right up, but this was the weakest of the branches (or so it looked), so I couldn't push him as high.

After about 20 minutes on the swings, Mary wanted to get on the now-vacant tire swing. She was just barely big enough to sit in the tire and grab hold on top, so I pushed her gently and she was enjoying herself immensely. So at this point, I had all three of the eldest going on their respective swings, with AJ getting the short end of the stick, because he was a bit too heavy to be pushed high. I was push Anya high, then push Mary gently, then push AJ as high as I dared, and then run back to Anya, because her trajectory had diminished. I was getting quite the run around, because these swing were about 30 feet apart, so my heart rate and breathing rate were almost at treadmill levels. My sweat and smell levels were past the unpleasant stage, I'm sure.

There were more guests around, including the McD family from St. Louis (Mr. and Mrs. McD, Allison, Lindi, Micah and Will), so I managed to talk to them for a little while. AJ started playing with several of the other boys. One of them saw me running between Anya and Mary and offered to help, so he took over pushing Anya. She said, "My uncle is better than you are." Ouch. That's some thanks. So he took over pushed Mary very gently, and I pushed Anya again. Eventually, the swinging ended, but not for long. Mary wanted to ride on the horse swing when Anya got off, so I pushed her there. She felt much more safe that way, as did I. After a few minutes of this, Anya came back and wanted more horse swing time, so she and Mary rode together. It was a little cramped, so Anya got off again, and Mary just wanted to keep swinging. I'll give her credit: she knows English well enough to know that I was trying to get her to stop, so she answered all of my "Do you want to get off/Do you want to stay on" questions very adeptly.

Dinner was chicken and corn on the cob and potato salad and pasta salad and all sorts of yummy stuff. Michael got his hands on some chicken that we got for him, and devoured it just in time for me to get a plate. But when I sat down to eat, after a bite or so, he was through and took off. So I ran after him. We explored the area next to the lake and around the lake, and in the tall grass, and all that stuff, and he wasn't interested in food until dessert rolled around. Emma was nice enough to keep the dogs away from my food (maybe they licked it a little) but when I got to it, I had just enough time to grab a couple bites and then run after Michael again. He had his dessert and was wired to go again. This time, Mom took over pretty quickly, and she eventually put him on the bench between Mr. F and me. It didn't take him long to figure out a means of escape, but he did so again, only to be reigned in my Mom for more food. This time he discovered corn on the cob, and went through a couple pieces of it.

By this point, fireworks were beginning to be set off. This was just the crackers and other noisemakers, so all the kids were exploring. AJ and Anya loved beign up close. Mary thought she did until she heard one of the explosions at 10 feet away. "GRAMMA!" came the cry and she came stumbling back, tears in her eyes, arms outstretched for the protective embrace. The people around all laughed at the pitiful sight, and I giggled as well. So Mom, who had been holding Mikey, gave him to me and picked up Mary.

I should say that we also brought Timmy. He was in estrogen heaven -- all the girls held him at some point, so he was totally happy up until he wanted food. Then the fireworks scared him, so Mom took him and Mary back to the house.

I held Mikey and Emma sat down next to me, and we lead the National Anthem and "America the Beautiful". After that, she started the soprano lien to If Ye Love Me, so I asked her to start again and I joined her with the bass line. Mrs. McD liked it. After that, there was a lot of oohing and aahing at the fireworks show. Lindi came and sat down next to us as well, and we had a small conversation about how hot I was. OK, so you saw through that one -- we talked about what a bad uncle I was.

After wrapping everything up, we drove back to the house and Mom and I and the kids left around 10PM. When we got onto 380, we stopped at a Sonic -- Mom wanted a tea and I wanted something to keep me going, so I ordered a Route 44 Coke. When that stopped working, Mary started fussing. No reason, she was just tired. But it got me going, and all of a sudden, I was becoming the Anthony you don't like. I told Mom that it makes absolutely no sense to me why anyone, baby or not, wouldn't have the sense to go to sleep when exhausted. Mom then told me that it never happened with me and Elizabeth because we were never out so late to let it happen, and she always put us to bed at a decent hour. That shed rays of hopefulness upon my future, because if she could do it, so can I.

A little over half-way back, Mary was just crying for Gramma -- don't know why, but instead of fussing, she was full-blown crying. We stopped the van to give her a blanket (Liz's shawl), and that settled her down for all of about 30 seconds, just enough time to let Timmy wake up. Then he joined the chorus, so I was getting mad at her, because she woke up Timmy. But I managed to keep it more-or-less under wraps, until Mikey heard the choirs of "angels" singing and added the tenor line. So, Mom managed to give Timmy his bottle and he settled down. Hearing the boy soprano quit whining, the tenor decided that he didn't want to sing with just the alto, so he left off, and Mary decided that he solo wasn't loud enough, and voiced her disapproval that Grandma was taking care of anyone else but not her. I love that little girl, but she can be soooo trying on my patience.

When we made it home, all the kids swore up and down that they weren't tired and the 3-part dissonant harmony we heard in the car turned into a 5-part Britten opera, but not even 2 minutes after AJ, Anya, Mary and Mikey's heads hit their respective pillows did the dirge end. I had begun the process of feeding Timmy, but he didn't want his bottle, so I just held him and he threw his head around, attempting to get comfortable, and smashing up my head (and comfort) in the process. Mom then discovered that the formula in his bottle had gone bad -- which would be why he didn't care for it. So she fixed him a new bottle and he chowed with the greatest eaters of history. Then he also went to bed and all choirs were silent for 8 hours.

I think that's the first time that Mom has gotten a full night's sleep in some time when all 5 kids are here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Home in TX: Day 3 of the 28.5 day stay.

So I'm at home in TX for several days -- OK, a full month. Anyway life is really busy. Here's a excerpt from an e-mail that I typed up describing the kids here. Maybe it'll be funny in a few years.
You may think I'm counting down the days. In a sense, yes. But in a sense, no. This is a good experience for me. Spending a month dealing with 5 kids all under 8 and all related to me is a good experience. It's not the most fun I've ever had, but it looks like it will become a lot more fun.

If I had to predict what these kids will be when they are grown up, here's what I'd say:

AJ will be some form of show off. Whether that means an actor, entertainer, lawyer, salesman, or some form of public speaker, I'm still trying to figure it out. He's very melodramatic and tells all sorts of stories with greeeeeeat big loooooooooooooooooooooong vowels and opennnnnnnnnnnnn connnnnnnnnnnsonents to reeeeeeeeally enhaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnce the story, all the while being JUST so exCITed (using the wrong inflection at times) AAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnd being soooooooooo so so so soooooooooooooooo eager to tell you EVerythinggggggggggggg. Oh, and he's glad to be the oldest, too. He's in charge.

Anya will be the real leader. She's strong and determined, and she knows what she wants. AJ has asserted his authority so much that she's becoming a little bit of a follower, but she knows her place in the chain of command. She's not as dramatic as AJ (but she can be), but she can also be every bit as stubborn. She is a fantastic reader (better than AJ, I think), and she could very easily be the genius in the family. She will be the intellectual who will probably invent new methods of learning, all the while maintaining a business as an artist on the side.

Mary is little Miss Independence, now that she's got her braces on and she can walk flat-footed. She tried to run but it's more of a plod, but it's OK, because she's cute as anything. When she falls down (which she does often enough), she will cry and scream and demand attention (very much unlike Michael), and when you pick her up again, she usually runs off again. She is very protective of her things and if she thinks that someone shouldn't be playing with something, she'll take it away from them and hide it, much to their dismay. But she also expects no retaliation, so when they take away her toys, the hurricane of tears and the mother of all fits breaks loose upon the world. If you've heard random screams in VA, that's Mary. She's cute and she knows it and she's a flirt and she's spoiled rotten (or really tries to be, and thus only pulls of "brat" pretty well, and I don't mean the ind you throw on the grill that's made of piggy). She'll grow up to be a heartbreaker, and possibly a model as well.

Michael will be the powerhouse. He'll go for the sports. He bulls through everything and everyone -- unintentionally for now, because he's just so happy to see them that he runs right at them. He's also quite the chunk, so when he runs at you, he could probably knock you over. He's at least a solid 25 pounds and he's faster (and heavier) than Mary -- I think he's as heavy as Kenny, and would give him a run for his money for strength. Jimmy, Liz's husband and these kids' father, plays really rough with him, and Mikey loves every second of it and comes back for more. He loves being outside. He's a Daddy's boy bar-none. He's also a flirt, bar-none. He makes eyes at all the girls, and not just the pretty girls: all of them. They, in turn, eat it up, and flirt right back with him. Then when he sees that his charms have taken hold of them, he giggles and runs away, thus instituting a game of tag. Mom (and Liz and AJ) all refer to him as the Energizer Bunny on steriods (or the Energize Bunny times 10 or some form of extreme Energizer Bunny), and it's true. He just keeps going and going and going...

Timothy is the stoic one of the group. Granted, he's only 2 months old. But when I mean stoic, I really do mean stoic. He just looks at you with this face (well, there is no stoic google face expression, so this will have to do ), except he is trying to look down his nose at you. Again, though, he's only 2 months old, so he's still working on the whole neck-muscle/head-control thing, so it could be due to the fact that his head just kinda flops backwards, like Anthony Scrivener's did when he was a baby. He has a rather large double chin and looks like the kind of face you'd expect to see in the role of, "This court is now in session: Honorable Timothy Freiberg presiding". Well, he's stoic until he feels neglected. Then he has this mournful, "I'm so alone, and no one loves me..." kind of pitiful, pathetic cry. He usually breaks this out just to keep poor Mom (my Mom, his Grandmother) up until all hours of the night patting his bottom and holding him and telling him it's all right, etc.
Any questions class?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Laura Baron

Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

No more Todd...

It turns out that one of my dogs passed away. Mom is on vacation so my brother-in-law was taking care of the dogs and cats. When he went outside to see the dogs, Todd (the beagle in a tuxedo) was lying on the ground and didn't get up. I don't really know the story, but he was at least 14 years old, so it was inevitable. I feel like a Requiem, but it would be useless. He was a (pretty) good dog. Unfortunately, this means that Loki will be alone, but she's probably too old to really accept a new companion.

Not that it really matters, but I hope he died peacefully.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Get Smart TV Series

I'm on season 4. Agent 86's jokes are getting really old. Agent 99 is getting really annoying. The Chief is about the only one not annoying. This might be a TV series that I just can't finish.

But I refuse to succumb. I will finish -- I just might be taking a loooong break...

Friday, May 15, 2009

I H8 PaulE

He didn't think the new Star Trek movie was all that great.  I think he needs new glasses.  Until he changes his opinion, I don't think I can ever talk to him again.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Of all the things to happen...

Yeah, so yesterday was fun -- in a most sarcastic way. I've been going jogging during the day recently. It's a great way to get some fresh air in the middle of the day, and I feel pretty good when I'm done. Also, when I get back to the computer to keep working, I'm refreshed and work doesn't seem nearly as tedious, because I've come back after thinking, so I've got some new ideas.

Anyway, so the day before yesterday, I jogged my 2.1mi circuit and made it about 1/3 of the way without stopping, then I slowed down from a jog 3-4 more times. Not bad, but I need to do better. On the way back, I checked Christine's and my cars: the Meadows has a bad habit of ticketing cars for not having a permit -- even when in unmarked visitor spots. I can understand ticketing them if they don't move, but these cars moved quite a bit. They were clean. I went back inside and went back to work.

Yesterday, I went to jog again and I noticed that Christine's car was gone. Upon closer inspection, it was clear that it had been towed. !!!! Normally, there's a 48-hour waiting period -- not this time. Sometime in the 24hr window, they had ticketed and towed her car, which is not their normal procedure. So that had to be rescued. My car had a ticket with a 48hr warning on it. I'm not sure what's up with why hers would have been towed...

Anyway, so I also joined AAA a couple weeks ago, when all this trouble started with my car. I got my papers in the mail yesterday, and called a locksmith out to unlock my car. (When all this trouble started with my car, it was towed, and the tow truck company or the driver lost my keys. I had a spare ignition key, but not a key to unlock my car. Nissan didn't have my car on file, so I had to work with a locksmith.) He came by in about an hour, and made quick work of unlocking my car and making a new key -- $150 later, I can now lock my car again.

So after this, he left, and I moved my car to the street. I went back inside my house -- or tried to. I had locked myself out of my house. Ironic, to say the least, that the locksmith had unlocked my car, but I had now locked myself out of my house. I searched for the spare key, but it was gone. I tried a couple things, but I was about fed up with my luck for the day.

I drove my newly-unlocked car out to Eric's workplace, just up the road. He drove back with me to our place. On the way back, my car died. I was hoping that wouldn't happen, but it did. So I was following Eric, and then I had to swerve out of the flow of traffic and park on a neighborhood street for about 45 minutes for my car to start again. By this point, I was actually mad. I was so steamed that I fell asleep -- which was better than staying awake at that point. I was already tired, so I just shut down for a few minutes. I'm not sure how long I was out total, but I drifted in and out of sleep for an hour or so, each time, trying my luck with the car. It wasn't more than an hour, at least I hope not. My patience for these games was wearing thin, and I still had to get back to my house. Jonathan said that he would drive me out to pick up Christine's car, and it's rude to keep people waiting (it's also hypocritical of me to say that, being the guy who is perpetually late).

Now, I should add that my cell phone has gone missing since last Thursday. I can't call people or receive calls. So I couldn't receive Eric's call when he noticed that I was no longer following him from the office, nor could I receive Jonathan's call when he called to make sure I was home. Alternately, I couldn't call AAA to send a tow truck to get my car back home.

I finally made it back home and I was so frustrated with the whole affair that I signed off work (I was late for my scheduled departure anyway) but I couldn't just put in half a day's work. I would have to come back later. I had a voice lesson with Julia at 6PM (which I called and cancelled for today: I wasn't in the mood to sing, and she understood), I had to go rescue Christine's car before they start charging me a bunch of daily holding fees, and I had to get to Tim's place to rehearse for the Collegium Cantorum concert in June.

So I made it to Battlefield Towing, and paid another $150 to get Christine's car away from them. Talk about an expensive day. If I were a dishonest man, I'm sure I could have gotten the car for nothing, but I don't think that dishonestly.

On a side note, I've discovered one of the least-liked services rendered by one man to another: the enforced towing of another man's car by one man at the other man's expense. It's a racket. I didn't ask for a tow truck. The place I live at decided to set me up with some extra bills this month. So nice and thoughtful of them. Good thing I have those piles of money just waiting to be spent.

So I signed back into work at about 11PM, and I'm still working -- I'm just taking a break to rant. I need to get this off my chest.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Obama's speech

So I was listening to the radio yesterday, and I heard a speech given by our current president, Barack Obama. It was his speech on what to expect for the next 100 days in office. While I appreciate a good joke, his speech was absolutely full of jokes, most of which were as predictable as they come. The quality of his speech (as an action, not as a thing) was amazing. He is very charismatic, and when he's just talking and telling jokes, he's fun to hear. It's no wonder that people like him. He's articulate (when he's on the cue cards), he is able to make fun of himself and those working for him without being offensive, and he generally puts a positive spin on everything. People like positivity and charisma, and he's definitely got it. (Click the title of this post or click here for a transcript of the speech.)

That's all I'll say, because as far as everything else goes, I don't think he's remotely qualified to be our president, and his telling jokes won't change that. Neither he nor his team know what they are doing, and their agenda is killing the United States of America. Of course, it's also just as likely that they know exactly what they are doing, and they continue to do it anyway because they finally have power and are trying to "prove" that their "system" can work better than anything else the world has ever seen.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

My day so far, with car troubles

I had my written final today. The oral/aural half was on Tuesday. On the way back home from the test, my car stopped running again as I was about to exit onto I-66 from 50. After I let the car sit for about 30 minutes, I drove home without incident.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Bacon Vodka

I just put this alcoholic delight into the freezer. It should be ready for tasting either this evening or tomorrow. Anyone interested in joining me for a sampling?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Recent life

So my Nissan is in the shop again. On Thursday, as I was driving on highway 50, and traffic around me was doing between 60-70mph, my engine just turned off. The car kept moving, and I only noticed it when I applied the gas pedal and got no response. I shifted the car into neutral, and turned the key, but it didn't start. I put my hazards on and attempted to coast into a parking lot. No worries, really, as I was still doing about 50, and I was nearing my destination. I slowed and entered the parking lot, and attempted to start my car again. It fired up, fortunately. I was doing about 10mph, so had I needed to accelerate again, I would have been in trouble.

I drove it the rest of the evening without incident.

Friday morning, bright and early, I drive to the office. I have some errands to run in Tyson's Corner, so I got there at about 7AM, so that I could have my work done in plenty of time to run my errands. Noon rolls around, and I take off to run my errands and then get back home, as I'm supposed to ride with Michael C out to Front Royal to sing at the Tridentine Latin Mass for the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. After running the errands, I'm leaving the parking lot to get onto highway 7, and my car doesn't move when I apply the gas. It's not running. I turn the key, hoping it will start up. Nothing. Of course, there's a line of cars behind me...

After signaling the 5 cars behind me that they need to go around, I push my car out of the way, and make some phone calls. No one really knows exactly what it is, but the primary question is, "Do you have gas?" Of course, I have gas. I have half a tank. I just filled it up the day before...

So, I look around, and as luck would have it, there's a service center in the same parking lot. It's a Mr. Tire/Goodyear, so I'm not sure if they do diagnostics. I leave the hazard lights on and walk over. As it turns out, they do diagnostics, so they help me push my car from one end of the parking lot to their building, and we put it in the shop.

After a couple hours, they can't find anything wrong with the vehicle. Their first inclination is that it's water in the gas tank, so I should fill it up the rest of the way and hope that's enough to dilute the gas/water ratio. So I take it back and fill it up. I get onto 495 and as I'm exiting 495 to get onto 66 (see location), the car dies again. So I call a tow truck, and they tow the car back to the shop. Again, they can't find anything wrong, except that the tow truck driver didn't give them the keys, so they are good as lost, because I don't have them anymore.

That evening, Michael and I sang at St. John's for the Mass as planned. After Mass, we went to dinner with Fr. C, who said Mass, and then out to Christendom. I had a small role in the latest Mirandum Pictures film, and Michael had a dance to attend. We left about midnight.

Saturday rolls around, and Michael and I head over to Tyson's Corner to talk to the mechanics. No keys have shown up, so Michael drives me to the Nissan dealership and we find that we can get new keys made for $8. I just need a copy of my insurance card. I had a spare key for the ignition, so I brought it to them and asked them to not lock the car. They began working on it, and the car performed just fine for them. They took it for a 45-minute drive and it never had any problems. They said that they would keep it through Sunday and drive it around, trying to get it to stall.

On the way back home, I asked Michael to drop me off at St. Andrew's so I can catch confession. He reminded me that I'd have to walk home, but that didn't bug me too much. He drops me at home first so I could drop off my laptop and pick up the umbrella (and a pipe -- it's a long walk), as it was overcast. After confession, I fired up the pipe and walked back home (about 4.5 miles), which took me about 1.5 hours, walking at good pace. I stopped a couple times for pipe maintenance, and once to check my voice mail on my cell phone, but aside from that, I made pretty good time, overall. I'm sure I was quite the sight: my corncob pipe in my left hand, my long walking umbrella in my right, but pointed up and resting on my shoulder as though it was a rifle. I was walking at a decent clip, so I'm sure people were thinking that I was either a former army boy or just a wierdo looking for attention. Of course, the latter was true...

So I made it back home and then went to the gym where I killed my arms. They are still a little sore, but it's a good kind of sore...

Anyway, so on Sunday, after Mass, Michael and I went to Paul E's Easter Season Party. After a while, I went outside to smoke a pipe, and Michael came with me. Earlier in the day, I had filled the Zippo lighter with fuel, and closed it, but it had been slightly overfilled, so a little bit spilled out onto my hand, so when I tested the lighter, the lighter lit up, and my hand also torched. It didn't hurt at all -- I just felt the warmth of fire and then shook my hand off, and it extinguished itself. Last time I had overfilled the lighter, the entire lighter (outside as well) had gone up in flames and I had dropped the lighter pretty quickly. I didn't fill it that full this time, so the lighter behaved normally -- well, aside from lighting my hand on fire...

So at Paul's place, I wanted to do that trick again. So Michael (who took the picture), Bridget, Jonathan and Draper were watching as I poured a little lighter fluid onto my hand, and attempted to light it on fire. I waited a little too long, because the fluid had all evaporated, and there was nothing left. So I doused my hand a little heavier and spread it around, and this time it caught. I waved my hand around for a quick second, and then shook off the fire. Except that I didn't shake off the fire -- it kept burning, and the harder I shook my hand, the more it burned, because I was feeding it oxygen, so it burned hotter. After a second shake of the hand, I realized that it wasn't going out as easy as it had before, so I ended up having to essentially wipe it off on my pants. Fortunately, they were made of heavy flame-resistant material.

For the first 2 seconds or so, it didn't hurt. For the last 3 seconds or so, it did. But my hand is fine, with only some minor blistering and a lesson learned. Wanna know that lesson? Next time I do that trick, have a bucket of water handy. Alternately, use less oil and spread it around instead of keeping it focused in the palm of my hand (so that it burns quickly and is done). Better yet, use rubbing alcohol, which burns cooler (blue) and doesn't stick to your hand like oil.

So now it's Monday, and the guys at the shop still can't find out what's wrong with the car, because it's not acting up for them. I piked it up and it runs fine.

I've spent nearly $1000 since last Monday. Last Monday, I dropped about $700 into a total fluid flush. Friday, I spent $120 on a system diagnostic and today, I spent another $120 on an hour of miscellaneous labor (dropping the tank so they could test the gas). So much for paying off that credit card this month...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

D&D Character

There's been a lot of D&D discussion here. I decided to see what was what...

I Am A: Lawful Good Human Ranger (4th Level)

Ability Scores:







Lawful Good A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. He combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. He tells the truth, keeps his word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished. Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion. However, lawful good can be a dangerous alignment because it restricts freedom and criminalizes self-interest.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Rangers are skilled stalkers and hunters who make their home in the woods. Their martial skill is nearly the equal of the fighter, but they lack the latter's dedication to the craft of fighting. Instead, the ranger focuses his skills and training on a specific enemy a type of creature he bears a vengeful grudge against and hunts above all others. Rangers often accept the role of protector, aiding those who live in or travel through the woods. His skills allow him to move quietly and stick to the shadows, especially in natural settings, and he also has special knowledge of certain types of creatures. Finally, an experienced ranger has such a tie to nature that he can actually draw on natural power to cast divine spells, much as a druid does, and like a druid he is often accompanied by animal companions. A ranger's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that he can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Have you ever...

...Q-tipped the inside of your ears and felt it at the back of your throat? That tickles! I could have sworn that it had gone through everything and was poking into my larynx...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Why can't I think of anything to say?

I even sat down to just write for a while and get the creative juices flowing. I've got nothing for you. Sorry...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

"Running all the way around the winery"

So I was telling Christine that I had kept pretty busy today and this came out. After about 5 tries, I actually got it.

Well, we laughed at it.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Music Theory 111

Dr. N was giving us musical references to help us remember intervals. He played selections from West Side Story, Star Wars, and really popular classical pieces that I can't remember off the top of my head. One of the pieces that he played was Mary Had A Little Lamb. And I started grinning. He asked us if anyone knew what it was, and I piped right up, "That's Mary Had A Little Lamb! I sing it to myself every day!" And I looked around, wondering what the reaction would be, and just as I had hoped, people were just staring, not really sure if I was serious. So I brought on the blush and said, "I shouldn't have said that, huh? Yeah, shutting up." So, I shrunk into my seat as best as I could, and the whole place, even Dr. N, laughed. It was quite fun.

I love being a ham.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Eye Heart...

...Windows 7 Ultimate Beta. Eye heart it so much more than Windows Vista Ultimate.


No, seriously, this post is about apples. I went to the store today to get food, and this is what I saw. I saw the McIntosh apple for $1.29/lb and the Honey Crisp for $2.99/lb. Naturally, my curiosity got the best of me.

So this first picture is a picture of two apples, a McIntosh on the right of the picture (the redder of the two), and a Honey Crisp on the left. To me, they both look good. I like apples -- red, green, yellow, I like them all. So why is it that the redder of the two is less than half the price of the other?

Seriously, I'm all about buying the expensive stuff if it really does taste better. I've moved from whole milk to "organic" whole milk (which we all know isn't the real stuff, but it's as close to it as you can get these days without owning a cow, goat, or sheep). It's about $1-$1.50 more per gallon, but it tastes a lot better. I even made the mistake of buying "organic" skim milk (can it even be organic when it's skim?) and it's sooooooooooo much better than regular skim milk, but I wouldn't buy it again, because it's skim and skim is blasphemy.

Back to the apples: Perhaps if I cut into it, there'll be something awesome, like honeycomb inside the Honey Crisp! But I did, and there's no honeycomb. It's a friggin' apple. I will say that the Honey Crisp felt a little firmer than the McIntosh, so that's bonus points for the Honey Crisp. I love a crisp apple. But that's not nearly enough bonus points to warrant +$1.70/lb.

All sliced up, the Honey Crisp looks better. It's all purdy 'n' stuff. But who cares about looks when you're going to put it in your mouth, chew it up, swallow it, and let the inner workings of your digestive system work on it? Was that a little too much? It probably was. Anyway. So I added an naval orange and a banana to the mix and this is breakfast.

Upon eating the McIntosh, it's what I would expect a red apple to be. It's softer than a green apple (one of my favorites) but sweeter -- still tart, but not over the top. Quite good. I ate a slice of the Honey Crisp. It was not as sweet as the McIntosh, but it was still good. On the crispness level, it was up there with the green apples, but it wasn't as sweet as the McIntosh, definitely tart. In a sense, there was actually less taste in it than in the McIntosh, but it was good.

So, in a game of comparing apples to apples, your tastes will be different than mine. But in my opinion, McIntosh wins in the price category and the edibility category. It's not as good looking as the Honey Crisp apple, so if you're making a dish that's designed to be a feast for the eyes as well, then the Honey Crisp is the better of the two. But this bachelor thinks that the less expensive apple is just dandy.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bush Farewell Speech

Mr. Bush, I salute you. I can only hope that our new president isn't as bad as I believe him to be.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dr. Pepper Pot Luck

Hah! It's delicious! I really like it!!! :)

Dr. Pepper Pot Roast

So, after yesterday's post, I absolutely had to try it. But I switched from Pepsi to Dr. Pepper. It smells great. I'll let you know how it tastes in about an hour...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Pepsi Pot Roast?!

So, I got a slow cooker for Christmas (thank you, Ken and Alaina!) and a book of recipes (thank you, Alex and Ashley!), and I'm flipping through the book today, thinking, "Now, what should I cook for dinner?  Or possibly lunch tomorrow?"

Get this...

Pepsi Pot Roast

Mrs. D-- M------

Fairbank, IA

Makes 12 servings
(Ideal for slow-cooker size: 5- or 6-quart)

3-lb pot roast
2 103/4-oz. cans of fat-free, low-sodium cream of mushroom soup
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
2 16-oz. bottles diet cola

  1. Place meat in slow cooker.
  2. In large bowl mix together mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix, and cola. Pour over roast in cooker.
  3. Cover. Cook on high for 6 hours

Per Serving: 170 calories (60 calories from fat), 7g total fat (2g saturated, 0.5g trans), 70mg cholesterol, 430mg sodium, 4g total carbohydrate (0g fiber, 0g sugar), 23g protein, 0%DV vitamin A, 0%DV vitamin C, 2%DV calcium, 15%DV iron.


Actually now that I've typed it all up, I'm all hungry...