Thursday, December 30, 2004

Yule at the Boar's Head Inn

We joined my sister and bro-in-law at the Boar's Head Inn in Camlann Medieval Village near Carnation, WA for a nice "Yule Feast" last Sunday night. Since we're up here visiting my folks and they have the dreaded dialup, I'm slow updating my blog, but here's the bare bones report: great site, cool inn, good Medieval-style food (not just "ye turkey leg" Renn Faire caca). For the menu etc. go here. Yum. The above pic is my sister in some olde stuffe of mine, and Todd in some of Gordon's "darkie"(Dark Ages) stuff that I'm making him for Hastings '06. He doesn't normally go back past about 1500, so it's kind of a struggle for him...

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

House Hunting

Today we started the search for property/land up here in Washington by actually speaking to a real estate agent. This is a big deal for me, because I've never done something like this before, something as monumentally adult as actually going through the process of searching for and buying a house or land. It's a big deal for Mr. G as well, because it's going to mean moving away from California for the first time in his life. Luckily, we seem to have found a guy who understands what is meant by "horse property" (eg. they can't be standing in the mud all winter long). He's going to hunt around and see what he can come up with. Our fingers are crossed...

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas!

...and a Happy New Year! It's green and lovely up here in the Puget Sound area. Not cold enough for snow (poo) but still brisk. Going to Camlann Medieval Village tomorrow for a Yule Feast, report to follow. Very much looking forward to sampling a bit of the 14th century...

Monday, December 20, 2004

Anti Snowbirds

It is terribly foggy, drippy, cold and damp right now here in the Central Valley area of California. This would be normal for, say, the Hoh River Valley on the Olympic Peninsula (Washington's coastal rain forest), but for here it's just annoying. I find it highly ironic that my reasons for looking forward to spending Christmas/New Years up in Kitsap County, WA include weather-related ones! Yeah, let's go North for the Winter, where the weather makes some sense! Plus, there's a remote chance of snow, which is always a plus.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Hero Tales

Two more movies; this time both excellent examples of the filmmaker's craft, I'm happy to say. I'll admit that I am totally biased when it comes to certain genres. For instance, I'll take a pretty good war/buddy picture over a bad comedy any day. Bad comedy is not funny, it's a crime against aesthetic sensibilities (see Carrot Top). A so-so war movie at least has gripping action and heroics. Of all my favorite genres (historical drama, war, sci-fi, romantic comedy, etc.) the "hero tale" is way up at the top. At its worst you have some drek like Deathstalker & the Warriors From Hell, which is only watchable in the MST3k version, at its best you have, say, Lord of the Rings. (read entire entry...)

Saturday, December 11, 2004

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Sarah over at Going Jesus is on a roll with her "scary Christmas" theme. It started with goofy nativity scenes but has branched out into a creepy "Jesus doll" as well (am I right? Huh?). If you've been burning the midnight oil wondering how to remove the last remaining vestiges of meaning and dignity from this blessed holiday, look no further. You'll need kleenex if you're a weepy laugher. My favorite (?) so far is the "Chicken Family Creche": gack.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Bangers & Mash (& scones)

Drove up to Sacramento a few days ago to pick up some pike poles from a buddy of hubby's. We met at a cool pub called "Streets of London". If you live anywhere near Sacto and ever have a hankering for solid pub food, go there immediately! The mashed potatoes alone are worth the drive. Yellow, creamy, skins left in, heaps of dark gravy, "Practically their own food group!", to quote a favorite movie character of mine. Hard cider on tap. Did I mention the spuds? On Thursday we had to drive up again for another appointment, and the man decided we must have more spuds. I agreed. It's a good thing this place is an hour away.

Today, another anglophile pal (who just returned from the UK and brought us a spiffy tea towel from the V&A) paid us a visit, and I was inspired to make scones. I love scones. Tea is better with scones. Made with butter, almond meal in place of some of the flour, and eggs from our two goofy chickens, Henrietta & Iris. Raspberry jam from Trader Joe's (I've run out of the blackberry stuff I put up last Summer :-( ). Cool weather makes me hungry, can you tell?

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Dickensian Fun and One Daughter Married Off!

On Friday Gordon's oldest Daughter, Liz, tied the knot with her nifty fiance, Jeremiah. They'll be having a nice wedding ceremony next Spring, but it turned out to be a wise financial move to go ahead and get married before the end of the year (some tax thing). Gordon is very happy: he now has a very cool son-in-law! Liz's sister was able to make it down from Arcata, so Gordon & Liz's mom had a nice time seeing their grandson. For Gordon it was the first time, so especially nice for him as we probably won't be seeing the baby again for awhile (Humbolt County being a bit off the beaten path for us these days among other things).

Saturday we went in to San Francisco for the Dickens Fair at the Cow Palace. I figured I'd better go this year, as we'll probably be moving north sometime before the next one. It was really nice! I was pleasantly surprised. Gordon went as a sailor (I went as a fishwife; first time I've had 19th century clothes on since Gordon and I and a former friend used to model for the San Francisco Academy of Art College about six years ago...). We ran into some soldier friends, and also Col. Wm. "Buffalo Bill" Cody AND the singer Jenny Lind! Score! We actually had tea with Cody & Lind (our friends Patrick & Julie) at a very nice tea shop.

The Dickens Fair had about the same ratio of flakes & nuts to quality re-enactors as the Ren Faire, but for some reason the goofiness factor seems a lot lower. It probably has something to do with the fact that it's easier to throw together 19th century clothing than 16th century clothing if you don't have much of a clue. A shabby attempt at 19th century women's wear just becomes "streetwalker", whereas a lame attempt at 16th century clothing runs the gamut from "fairytale fantasy" to "Victorian bondagewear" to "Celtic knightmare". It just seemed as though it was a lot easier to absorb the atmosphere and play "let's pretend" than at the Ren Faire, where your bubble is popped every time you turn around, whether by some guy in a Conan costume or the fact that for some reason it's 95 f in Merrye Olde Englande. I'd go again for sure!

Monday, November 29, 2004

The Sweater Project

No, I am not knitting a sweater. I have only spun enough yarn to darn a few socks at this point. Felted hats are in my future, but for Kevin, who worked at Marshall's long ago, the project in question started with an adventure in closet cleaning. The result is as good as an episode of Mystery Science Theater, I think. Enjoy...

Good Movie, Bad Movie

Slightly belated, but relevant nonetheless, these are my thoughts on two recent theatrical releases. Well, one recently released on DVD, but this happens so quickly nowadays (especially when the film is less than super-successful at the box office)...but I digress.

My definition of a generally "good" movie is one that, whatever my initial impression of it, I find myself thinking about days, months, even years afterward. By "thinking" I mean in a good way, as in "Wow, that 'gotta' dance' number in Singing in the Rain!" or "Baron von Munchausen's hot-air balloon sailing through the constellations!". Sometimes a really bad movie or unnerving scene in an otherwise good movie gets stuck in one's head, like an evil commercial jingle, but that's another topic. Some become cultural icons, like Lawrence of Arabia or An Affair to Remember; some are kind of culty, like City of Lost Children; some are hero tales that strike a chord, like Alien or Star Wars (IV, if you insist). I just found another one for myself: The Incredibles, Pixar's latest release. About 24 hours after seeing it I finally admitted that I would own the DVD eventually. . . (continue reading... )

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Weekend Update II

We had a nice "tea" on Saturday with some Medieval buddies. This time I took pictures (of a sort). The pretty lady in the Italian dress is the one who's wedding I played for a few weeks ago. She and her hubby (in red, top R) just returned from their honeymoon in the UK. Stinkers. Luckily, they spent some time at museums perusing collections, taking notes and snapping pics (which they will be sharing soon; hint, hint), so the trip wasn't all frivolity. Stinky newleyweds. ;-p
I took the liberty of photoshopping this pic to give Carl a more gnarly artificial leg. The Bionic Man one works great, but lacks style. I felt scrimshaw and turned wood suited better. His wife, in green, won the "most yardage in a gown" award for the day, proving that you don't need to go to the 18th or 19th centuries to load on the fabric. Medieval clothes are just more comfy, too, IMO. Gordo traced a cassock pattern (we were at his friend Nick's house. Nick is about the same size as Gordo, overall), and I traced a hood to copy (worn by lady in pic top R). We're going to Camlann for Yule, and we need some toasty 14th century stuff dontcha know.

Update update: On Sunday Gordon went to the black powder shoot at Lake Chabot and had fun with olde gunnes. Much merriment ensued.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Airport Nazis

In honor of all who are traveling by air during this hectic holiday season, allow me to refer you to this pithy and only slightly exaggerated tale of airport security goofiness from our man in Canada, Halfacanuck. For those in the blogsphere who don't know, the whole "airport security" thing pretty much pegs out my absurd-o-meter.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

At some point it dawns on American kids that this is a holiday unique to the USA. I think it's a great one, because we take the time to give thanks for the blessing in our lives. Things aren't always sunny or perfect, and I remember some years when I really had to struggle to feel thankful. Luckily, my feelings aren't what's important, and no matter how low I've ever been, I've always been able to admit to some pretty spectacular things for which to thank the Creator, such as...
- a body that functions well enough to allow me to run and dance and row boats and ride horses and see the ocean and hear music,
- a great mom & dad who adopted me when I was 8 days old and raised me as wholly their own,
- best of all a loving husband who is truly my best friend.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Weekend Update

I hosted my first hafla ever Saturday night. For those outside the Mid East dance crowd, a "hafla" is a party with food, music & dance (the aforementioned all M Eastern/Oriental/Mediterranean). It was a hoot. Lots more folks brought food than I thought would, so there was plenty to eat. Some old buddies of my husband came over, so they lit a fire in an old brazier and sat on the front porch (one of them smokes) and "cooted" most of the evening. I'll be hosting another one in February, and I'll definitely be changing the invitation/notice from "children not encouraged" to "adults ONLY". One attendee brought three kids along, including a toddler, and our house is NOT kid friendly: aside from the open fireplace, there are candles, lamps, swords, armour with pointy helmets, and many other breakable/dangerous-to-the-uninitiated type things. Once they bailed we could really concentrate on DANCE, which was what we are all about. I think it was a success overall.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Funny Net Character Web Site

Sometimes I go to a wonderful website called MajorGeeks when I have a problem with my computer. The forum there is populated with uber geeks who are always happy to help. Long ago somebody there posted a link to a funny website called "Flame Warriors" run by a talented artist. Sometimes I go there to see if there's anything new and for a quick chuckle. If I need a longer chuckle I go to Of course he has the classics like "Troller" and "Cranous Ferrous", but two of the "flame warriors" seemed particularly amusing to me today: "Ego" and "Target". This is a great place to send people who are new to newslists, BBS, or forums and are mystified by various 'net behaviours. Wacky fun, too.

Find Your Inner Bombshell

I just found this quiz over at Aurorealis' place and couldn't resist. I don't normally put this kind of thing on my blog, but I was so happy with my "score" that I couldn't resist. I just adore Audrey Hepburn...
WORSHIP! You're inner Bombshell is the beautiful Audrey Hepburn. Like her you've been blessed with a "certain something" that no one could describe accurately. You are more reserved than other bombshells, and that shows in your gentle, graceful nature. You like doing things for other people and love volunteering for your favorite charity. Yours is a rare gift in this day and age. You don't need to show a lot of skin to be sexy, all you need is your eyes. To see Audrey at the top of her game watch the movie "Breakfast at Tiffanys".

Who is your inner bombshell?
brought to you by Quizilla

Fresh from the WayBack Machine

Renaissance faires/festivals are generally not great places to try and connect with the history of England or any other country. This is why we were genuinely pleased and surprised last Saturday when, strolling past the booths selling fairy wings, celtic knotwork doublets, S&M gear, and Conan swords we came upon this pleasant domestic vignette (above L). I have been to few reenactments that looked this good, and only rarely viewed such a nice "moment" at any Ren Faire. Yeah, the "scholar"'s robes are cotton...but he's actually playing chess with a lady who looks like a LADY and not a gutter snipe. They get the gold star for a nice impression.
At the other end, literally, of the faire, was a "camp" of "gypsies". Belly dancing has been at Ren Faires since the 70s at least, for some inexplicable reason. It's right up there with Scotsmen in kilts and Meiji period Japanese impersonators, as far as I'm concerned. However, as a belly dancer myself, I enjoy watching a good show. Hahbi 'Ru, who perform at the big N Cal Faire every year, are alone worth the price of admission, IMO. Especially since they project a very folk/native/historical atmosphere. This gang was ok, but really seemed to give more of a 60s/70s nature child Grateful Dead kind of impression. There's nothing wrong with that, but what it's doing at a Ren Faire I really can't fathom. Still, they seemed to be having a good time. I was particularly impressed with the "fire dance".

Monday, November 15, 2004

Coded Message: non FC pls disregard....

You FC guys are cracking me up! Either that or you're cracking up. I just popped in for a bit of a lurk and found I'd been nominated for monarch status. Like George Washington, though, I'd rather stay on my farm. Still, I am amused... :-D

Sunday, November 14, 2004

More Horsiness & Dance

(Is "horsiness" a word? Hm...) Went down to the Henrikan Renaissance Faire in Fresno yesterday to visit with some jousting pals. We were going to take our horses and play, but late Friday night I got a call to perform in Modesto, and it would have been a logistical nightmare to try and "do it all". Paying the bills comes first, so we compromised and then stopped in Modesto on the way home for my gig. The restaurant is run by an ex-pat Iraqi family and most of the patrons are from the same background; really cool folks who all love to sing and dance and celebrate life's little occasions. Between my sets the band played "debke"(line dance) music and they all danced around the restaurant: old, young, men & women & toddlers. Nice folks. My only problem is I'm not really a night owl, so when it went late I really had to struggle to stay sharp. Still, a good time was had by all.
Here's a shot of the Knights of the Azure Cross's quintain. Trying to get ideas together to build our own so poor Henrik can have his quintain back...

Cast your bread upon the waters...

There seems to be a great deal of speculation over at the FC slum as to why MW & BH were conspicuous by their respective absences all day Sat. When hubby and I returned home at 0100 from a day enjoying jousting and an then an evening dance gig (both some distance from home), I found where they’d been: filling my blog with their uniquely pungent bons mots! Unravelling, sorting, and translating the above should prove a challenging exercise, but I will attempt it in the name of clarity…tomorrow (yawn).

Friday, November 12, 2004


Since this is a public blog, I have tried to keep the postings about my personal life pretty low key. Today, I'm going to take a minute to wonder out loud about a situation that is acutely sad, disappointing, and monumentally frustrating to all parties involved, for various reasons. The principal player and impetus behind the tempest is somebody who was a very close, long-time friend of my husband. About 1 1/2 years ago it was discovered that this person had betrayed my husband, his ex-wife, and daughter in various and appallingly spectacular ways. This Svengali should have been banished from the pale never to be tolerated again. Instead, the young girl, under his manipulative control, forgave him his indiscretion (very kind if naive of her) and "threw herself entirely into his power" (to quote Jane Austen, who would have had a field day with this tale). (Wait...maybe this is more Grace Metalious' speed...) But I digress...

The details were pretty much kept within the family, mostly to protect the daughter. However, this gem of chivalry with whom she has chosen to share her life (currently) is a frequent, nay, constant, denizen of a certain web forum where the MO consists mainly of taunts and personal insults (now there's a high quality way to spend your days...not). Here we were, all tiptoeing around, keeping our family woes to ourselves in the interest of good manners, when all along the instigator was running his exploits up the virtual flagpole. Apparently Sven has made a habit of bragging about such things as his sexual conquests (true) and illustrious film career (heavily padded). He also seems to have a habit of posting using other people's names, something which I am in the process of verifying. To his apparent surprise, the other folks at this forum have grown weary of him, and seem to have begun a campaign designed to irritate him enough to get rid of him. Or maybe they're just a bunch of virtual picadores having a lark, which seems more likely.

After a couple of days of watching this flap unfold, I've come to the conclusion that Sven is no mere sociopath, but a virtual S&M junkie. The only reason he would possibly want to return again and again to that forum, spending many hours a day exchanging taunts and ducking virtual rocks, must be that he actually enjoys the abuse! Why else would he flaunt his indiscretion in such a cavalier manner? Did he expect to generate applause?

The person I worry about is the girl in his control, who (of course) doggedly defends his every move. She is (rightly) irate about this whole flap. Unfortunately, she needs to take a good hard look at the cause of it. Her friends and family are ready to "be there" for her when she decides she's had enough of life with Mr. Right Now, but she can figure that out for herself if she's as smart as we hope she is.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Jesus Unplugged

When Ben over at They Will Know Us by Our T-Shirts discovered a database glitch at his bookstore listing Jesus as the artist on a newly released album, he was inspired to pen this "what if" interview with The Man. It's priceless: sharp, witty, and a straight-up commentary on contemporary Christian music (a.k.a. CCM) and the Church. (continue reading...)

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Libs for Secession!

The alert newshounds at Castle Arrgghhh! are keeping track of the hotbed of secessionist foment here in the US of A. It seems that there are some so disgruntled by the presidential election that they've just thrown in the towel and are ready to form their own nation. Do these people ever even crack a history book? Are they as blissfully ignorant as they seem? I like Powerline's alternative solution: Liberal reservations (is that a double entendre?).

Matt over at Infinitely Tortuous adds his two cents quite eloquently, as well:
" this what it's come to? If I don't like it, I'm leaving? I'm taking my ball and going home? Have we become a nation of spoiled brats so accustomed to getting our way that oh my god the world comes to an end when we don't?
...As much as I'd love to join the sore winners' cry of "don't let the door hit you on the way out", it would essentially mean the failure of the American Experiment. These people need to shut up, take a bottle of chill pills, and just sit and think for a good long while."

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Gettin' Medieval

Gordon and I set up Henrik's quintain again today (we will be sad when forced to return it, let me tell you...) and worked the horses a bit. Good old Taxi (see pic) is my default mount these days, and he's an old hand at this stuff. It was my first go at tilting, and I did OK. Actually hit the darned thing a couple of times. I also just had to strap on my sword, which was a bit distracting, but I have to get used to it I suppose. Next time we go out for a bit of a ride I'm going to try to spear some of those weird little paddy melons growing by the canal. Woody did fine for Gordon, and is pretty clearly not terrified of the quintain or anything, although he was distracted by another rider in the ring and went wide a couple of times. He's still getting used to neck reining, but he's learning really quickly. There's a Henry VIII-era Ren Faire next weekend in Fresno, and Cliff Basset of Knights of the Azure Cross has invited us (well, Gordon & squire) down to play, so we're trying to get Woody up to speed, so to speak. Should be interesting...

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Dewey Wins by a Landslide!

Well, we're all under the big W again! Kerry has graciously conceded, which wins him major points in my book. Or is it suspicious? Would it have made a lick of difference if Kerry had won? I know I'm not the only person who thinks that the Dem and Rep presidential candidates are pretty much clones with different uniforms anymore. I didn't vote for either of them. Was that a wasted vote? I don't think so.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Horsing Around Again

Sunday morning Gordon, Morgan and I set up the quintain at the stables and tried Woody out on some tilting practice. Not only did he not "blow up" or run terrified from the scary monster, but he really seemed to get in to it after a few passes. Sometimes he ran a bit wide of the mark, but he never shied away. The lance (closet pole) didn't phase him at all. He'll be a great tilting/jousting/cavalry horse once he gets things figured out. Gordon is very happy, needless to say.

Vote Early, Vote Often!

It's election day. I've put off filling out my absentee ballot until the last minute this time around, so that's next on my list of things to do. For all the latest on the voting frenzy, the place to be today is the Command Post...they have a platoon of bloggers covering the action as it happens: almost as "good" as being in the front lines. (I just tried to get to the CP, and I think they may be getting swamped because I kept getting the dreaded error screen...)

2145: Finally got in at the CP, looks like we're going to have the big W for four more years. He's not perfect, but at least he's not a lefty loony ivory tower bliss ninny...oops, did I say that. Yep, I did.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Last Night's Lunar Eclipse

Somehow we almost missed the total lunar eclipse last night! Alert neighbor Jeff came and pounded on our door around 8:00 to give us a heads up. I haven't seen a TLE since I was a keed living in Vancouver, WA. It was a warmish night, I remember, and the moon looked exactly like it did last night: red, dim, and yet crystal clear...not like a passing cloud obscuring it. I remember using dad's binoculars to look at it, and how strange it was to see the geological features all dim and red, yet still sharp. I'm looking forward to living somewhere with less light pollution, because I love looking at the night sky!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Halloween: the Straight Poop

Does Halloween give you a headache, or is it your favorite time of the year? What's it all about, really? Find out here... It's important to know the straight scoop, especiallly if you have kids.

Update: Before anybody assumes I'm some Puritanical killjoy; I am NOT crying for folks to keep the kids home piously watching "Veggie Tale" (gag) while their friends go trick-or-treating. I am not saying going to a costume party is tantamount to selling your soul to the Horned One. I'm just saying we need to be educated, know our history, and be prepared to discuss what a real witch or ghost really is. I think we need to take care of the message we send to our unsaved friends and neighbors, that's all.

Fixin' Torts

As if to bolster the note below on the state of medicine in the Western world, Medpundit offers this report ("Takin' it to the People": tort reform) on attempt by The People of the USA to slap down the silliness of malpractice lawsuits. Wyoming, Nevada, Oregon, and Florida folks have had it with astronomical awards for malpractice suits. I guess it's beginning to dawn on people that, if you penalize doctors beyond all sense of proportion just to feed the ravenous trial lawyers, there may be a lot fewer practicing doctors down the road. Let's set a good precedent: go People!

Monday, October 25, 2004

Kids Have the Darndest Theology!

This little anecdote from the Jollyblogger almost reads like one of those annoying "cute" joke emails your Aunt Betty sends you twelve times until you want to permanently block her email address as DefCon Level 4 (does it go that high?) virulent spam...only this IS cute and funny. Of course I must warn you that, if you forward it to ANYBODY in the known universe as a joke email, I promise you it will wipe out your hard drive the next time you boot up. I'm not kidding. Please don't make me pull this blog over. :-P

"Election Ennui" and the Joys of Socialized Medicine

Mark Steyn over at the Washington Times pontificates eloquently about his "Election Ennui" and offers some frightening facts about socialized medicine. I'm suffering ennui regarding the upcoming presidential elections, but it's mostly because I feel like I'm being forced to choose between two versions of the same goods creatively packaged to look different. *sigh*

Friday, October 22, 2004

What the "bleep" do we Know?!

Not much, apparently, if you go by the recently released film of that name (actually titled "What the #$*! do We Know?"). Brian Godawa, on his "movieblog", gives a detailed review of this "hybrid documentary/drama" that is making the rounds of the college campuses spouting half-truths about quantum mechanics and other disciplines. Scroll down about a quarter of the way to reach the review. Says Godawa, "This movie is riddled with more holes of hypocrisy and contradiction than Bonnie and Clyde were with bullets."

Meanwhile, over at Blog and Mablog, Douglas Wilson takes a healthy look at what the reality of human knowledge is and how it works in "Backs to the Future". I particularly like his comments on the nature of scientific knowledge, a concept which the makers of the above film seem to have forgotten, that being "...some of the things that we think are slam-dunk certainties will almost certainly turn out not to be. E.G. Stanley once commented (with some acid in it) that the history of scholarship is the history of error. And was it Max Planck who said that science advances funeral by funeral?"

Update: I was peeking in over at Defective Yeti (my second favorite blog title...the #1 is here) and saw his "Bad Reviews" section, which, not surprisingly, included an excerpt of a bad review for "What the...?", saying "Like being stuck at a science fair, with a 5-year-old on one side asking questions and his hippie parents on the other fumbling to answer them." -- Jon Niccum, LAWRENCE JOURNAL-WORLD

Monday, October 18, 2004

Jon Stewart Socks it to "Crossfire"!

Jon Stewart wasn't really on my radar...until today. An alert blogger over at the Boar's Head Tavern just posted this amazing clip of his reality slam of the Crossfire gang and the news media in general. Silly man, he's convinced the news shows are just entertainment. Where would he get that idea?

Fellowship 9/11

Michael Moore (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) takes on the War of the Ring...

St. Helens Puffiness Update

Hey, all you Hawaii Big Island snooty people (you know who you are), we got us some red hot lava here on the mainland! Of course, this is not necessarily a good thing, but it's exciting nonetheless. For the latest images and updates, and especially the movie clip the above still is from, the place to be is the USGS site.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Horse Tradin' II

About an hour ago we returned from Sylmar in the San Fernando Valley with the new horse! His full name is (are you ready?) "Wilderness Woodsman". Is that perfect for Gordon or what? He trailered so well it brings tears to my eyes. For a guy who hasn't been ridden in a year and has never neck reined he is totally cooperative, as well. I think he's going to be a great horse for Mr. Frye. The pic is from a little trail ride they took this AM down in Sylmar with some SCA folks. Looking forward to turning this .5 Quarter horse/.25 Belgian/.25 Percheron into a cavalry/tilting/war horse!

On an even lighter but somehow related note:
According to the "Which Big Lebowski character are you?" quiz:

Why don't you check it out? Or we cut of your Johnson!

I guess it makes sense that I came out "The Stranger" in the Big Lebowski questionnaire...!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Today's Engrish: happi inconvenience!

This just in from alert brother-in-law Todd at our Kailua-Kona office. OK, my sister sent it several days ago, but I was busy dancing my hinder off and now I hab a code (sniff). This just goes to show how copious politeness can backfire with ESL. Hey, at least they're honest about why they're closed.

The Adventures of Nabila

The continuing saga of my dancing alter-ego...

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Gimli by Zapruder

Yes, I have a cheap old digital camera...but I wanted to share the evidence of the fact that my youngest cat, Gimli, is really a monkey in cat's clothing. He climbs trees just for the heck of it-up and down all day. Big ones and skinny ones. I'll be washing dishes and he'll go darting up the tree outside the window over the sink, blink at me, lay his ears back, and continue upward. I should have named him "Tarzan"...or "Cheetah".

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Quiz o rama

Kiki stumbled on to a fun quiz site, so I tried a few of the little time-wasters. It's kind of a kick:

Oooh! White hair is pretty cool...Storm is cool, too, so I'm happy with my "score". I've always been interested in Super Heroes and have occasionally fantasized about being a sidekick to one or the other. Sometimes I dream I'm Batman's other little buddy, etc....lots of fun!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

St. Helens Getting Puffy

Mt. St. Helens is at it again! The site of one of the most spectacular volcanic events in recorded history is heating up again. I remember the "big blow" of May 1980 very well: I was a wee Sea Scout, we were at the Regional Regatta at Sand Point Naval Air Station (on Lake Washington), marching back to the boat from breakfast. We all heard a loud "sonic boom" (bam-bam!!!) and looked for the offending aircraft. Shortly after that, at the church service, it was announced that all units hailing from the Portland area were going to have to find an alternate road home as the volcano had erupted and I-5 was closed where it crossed the Toutle River! Then, a year and a month later, we were having a little swim party in Liberty Bay (Poulsbo, WA), Sea Scouts again, when we notice a "mushroom cloud" going up to the south: it was the second, though not as explosive, eruption. We motored back to the dock and covered all of the air intakes on the boat in case the ash drifted our way (that stuff played hell with machinery). Luckily it only got as far north as Olympia.

Anyway...the P.I. has a good article on the current situation here. For the straight dope, go to the UW Geology Dept's page here.

Left-Wing Indoctrination Schools

Alert blogger Russell Mann posted a little gem on the plight of a public school teacher in Monmouth Junction, NJ. Seems she had a little bulletin board going with the theme of "government" including an American flag, a copy of the Declaration of Independence, and pictures of past presidents...and our current president. That last item, when she refused to add a picture of John Kerry as well, got her removed from the school! Do these sacks of hammers masquerading as human beings have a time-machine in the janitor's closet? Last time I checked Kerry wasn't a president (yet). In an even more shining example of the duplicity and malice aforethought of the extreme Left, the school officials are denying that she has been fired, to which Ms. Pillai-Diaz replied "...what does it mean then when your boss asks you to hand over the keys and kicks you out of the building?" Hm?

Michelle Malkin (who has links to the latest updates on this fiasco) says, "Will the Democratic political appendage known as the teachers' union defend this rank-and-file teacher or put its fatcat union leaders' partisan interests first? And would there be any question about where the union would have stood if this had been 1992 or 1996 and the teacher in question had been reprimanded for displaying a photo of President Clinton during the campaign season?" I don't think it takes a certified genius to answer that one, which is appalling in itself.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Evocative Autumn

Had to run to Trader Joe's tonight for some enticing fishy catfood for Gimli: he was sick yesterday and still didn't want to eat today. I just love this time of the year. The start of school was always exciting for me as a kid (yes, I was a total nerd). New clothes, cooler weather, BOOKS, the approach of the holidays...a world of anticipation. One happy holiday time memory for me is shopping with my mom in the dark evenings of Fall/Winter. When I run to the store after dark, with all of the colored street lights and the bright shop windows lighting the sidewalks, I get a little jab of childhood sense-memory. There's just something exciting about shopping in the dark (also less prone to get a headache from the glaring heat/sunshine down here in Kalifornia).

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Horsing Around

Yesterday, Oct 2, 2004, Gordon taught a short cavalry class for the West Kingdom, SCA Equestrian event. It was lots of fun. I went along as squire "Bob" to help out and be another experienced (more or less) horse soldier. Taxi was a trooper as always, and even Twister pulled his weight and managed to run the "saber course" without being spooked by the "saracen heads"! He's going to be a fine cav horse for his new owner! I managed to do the "slalom" course with Taxi at the canter, which is a huge improvement in my riding "skills" from last Spring, when a trot was all I could manage. Dancing more, doing Pilates, and riding more have really helped my physical condition.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Horse Tradin'

It's official: my husband, Rittmeister Frye (aka Uber Gordon) is putting his demon horse Twister up for sale. He's not really a demon horse, he's just more horse than we need for what we do. This pony wants to go out and cut cattle and rope steers and run around barrels, etc.. He also needs to be worked more than once or twice a week. His replacement looks to be...Woody (pic above)! A Quarterhorse/ Percheron mix. This guy looks like a warhorse should: nice and sturdy.

It's a Bird, It's a Plane...

Need a quick diversion? Take this Rorschach test...

Also, speaking of birds, Iris (my grey auracana) started laying again! Now we can have green eggs and ham (the other chicken lays pink ones).

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Nabila's New Gig

Nabila, my "belly dancing" alter-ego finally made it onto a poster...of sorts. It's a bit of a drive down to Modesto (about an hour), but it's a job, and the pay is FAR better than my last gig down there. These folks know how the game is played. I danced for the grand opening last Saturday night. It's a very family-oriented place, and I ended up staying there long past my bedtime (heck, the first set alone was past my bedtime!) dancing with some little girls and then trailing along like a feeble white person at the tail end of an impromptu "debke" or other kind of line-dance. I'll be back there next Friday (Oct 8), somebody else can do the Saturday gig this week, I have a cavalry class to help Gordon with and then we're off to El Morocco for good food and MORE "raqs al sharki" (that's "belly dance" to the rest of you)! Our 3rd wedding anniversary is tomorrow, so we're just going to celebrate a couple of days late since I'm teaching (belly dance, of course) tomorrow night. I'm a dancin' fool...

Monday, September 27, 2004

Uber Gordon

Gordon, in his quest to become goal-oriented, went off to the RMS's annual Schuetzenfest (Shooting Festival) with the aim (pun intended) of winning the trophy. Well: he did! When he walked in the door last night, he said, "Guess who's the new Schuetzenkoenig?" and handed me the trophy (pewter stein above). He gets to keep it until somebody can win it away from him (insert evil laugh here). Ah, the joy of early firearms. For a shot (ha) of Gordo firing his pistol, click here.

This just in: Gordon's #1 daughter just plopped a bunch of related pics on her photoblog...

Friday, September 24, 2004

"The Rape Jihad"

For those who still haven't figured out that Islam is not just a colorful, ethnic version of Christianity, I offer the article "The Rape Jihad" by Robert Spencer. Ethical, moral Muslims the world over need to do some serious soul-searching and think about what kind of God they want to serve.

I'm not surprised that this entry has stimulated the first real storm of comments on this blog. People the world over are wondering about Islam and related topics. The nature of God, truth, and religion should be the big topics of the day. Russell Mann has been dealing with the same topic, with some of the same comment contributors.

“Memogate” and the (ongoing) Disgrace of the Left

Something that causes me mental tailspins on occasion is the sad fact that the people and movements who seemed so idealistic, creative, progressive, and full of moral loftiness in the 60s are now the overbearing, self-righteous, controlling, power-hungry establishment they used to rail against. Was it all show? Was it always “the end justifies the means”? Maybe it just boils down to Winston Churchill’s oft-quoted truism, “Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.” This must explain why so many young academics are still buying into the lies and hypocrisy of the oh-so-self-righteous Left.

Over at the National Review, Victor Davis Hanson, in an article entitled "The Fall", writes of the long downward slide of Liberal journalism, citing the current Dan Rather FUBAR as a possible turning point in the future of alphabet network (the big three) news:

“Hypocrisy and aristocratic smugness are drawing the ancient regime to its death. Rather's now-ossified generation came of age in the heady Vietnam era, on the apparent premise that Main Street, USA, and the Kiwanis had given us Vietnam, Watergate, racism, and the other isms and phobias — and that only hip, swashbuckling 60s-types could tell the American people the ‘truth’ about what
the ‘establishment’ was up to.

“Ever so incrementally along this inevitable road to Rathergate, John Kerry's searing ambodia-patrol story, and Kitty Kelley's Reagan and Bush pseudographies, many Americans began to worry about the ends-justifying-the-means culture of the sanctimonious Left. The counterculture was defended on the dubious premise that the activists needed to fight fire with fire as they exposed everything from Nixon's lies to the embarrassing Pentagon Papers.

“But in the process there also began a professional devolution, as questionable legal and ethical methods were excused in the name of the greater good.” (entire article here)

Thursday, September 23, 2004

World o' Birds

On the avian front, Iris is finally growing her tail feathers back (she molted and quit laying a month ago). She no longer resembles a giant Guinea Hen. This morning at first light the local gang of rogue feral parrots swarmed our end of the street, squawking and hooting and calling maniacally to each other for about a half hour. Gordon says the crows were a bit befuddled by it all. Unless you were raised in a jungle, it's pretty near impossible to sleep through such a racket. I didn't. Gimli sat out in the front yard looking up in to the parrot infested trees with a stunned expression.

Monday, September 20, 2004

World o' Katz

Sad day, today; we sent Spot, one of the feral cats, off to the kitty great beyond, courtesy of the local animal shelter. We were only able to catch him because one of his back legs was so far-gone from infection that he looked like a refugee from a Wes Craven horror flick. He was bitten by something a month or so ago, but I didn't catch him in time to deal with abscesses, etc., plus he was just SO wild that I'm not sure I would have been able to help him, anyway. He's beyond suffering, now, and although it breaks me up to have to euthanize any creature I am TOTALLY against prolonging suffering unecessarily. RIP, Spotty! :-(

On a happier note, over the weekend we had a visit from little cousin 'Stella (now adopted by Gordon's oldest, Lizzie), whom Gimli adores. Well, he likes to wrassle and torment her, but that's ok because she's even more of a monkey than he is. For starters, she's the ONLY cat who will stand up to Iris (our grey auracana chicken). This is the chicken who chases our alpha cat, Eric the Red (16 lbs). Tiny little 'Stella gets endless amusement out of lying in wait for Iris then jumping out and sending her straight up into the air, gobbling like a turkey. Whee! She also seems to like rolls of paper towels and was shredding one behind my back while I attempted a little tidying up. Gimli (pictured under the wheelbarrow) is the real paper shredder, though. He can reduce a brown grocery bag to compost in under five minutes. Need documents shredded? He's on the job.

The News: Rather Odd

I won't mince words: what passes for "news" here in the USA isn't, on the whole, honest reportage. OK, I minced just a little. What I mean to say is: mainstream "news" in the USA is about as honest as an episode of "Survivor". If that puzzles any of you, let me be the first to enlighten (or "break the story", as they say in the news biz) on the workings of those so-called reality show: they are carefully produced, heavily stage-managed id-gratification from start to finish. They are about as spontaneous as a NASA rocket launch. But I digress.

Even with my attempts to avoid contact with the latest hoo-hah in the Bush/Kerry, a dogged pen-pal of mine managed to slip me an article that I think sums up the whole "memogate" thing quite nicely. So here I go, joining the buzz of bloggers commenting on the amazing sham that is mainstream news reporting. It's pretty obvious to most sentient beings that the memos are frauds, so why are CBS (and others) stubbornly clinging to their weak and inconsequential claims? Mark Steyn, writing for the Chicago Sun Times yesterday (9-19-04), opines thusly:
As the network put it last week, ''In accordance with longstanding journalistic ethics, CBS News is not prepared to reveal its confidential sources or the method by which '60 Minutes' Wednesday received the documents.'' But, once they admit the documents are fake, they can no longer claim ''journalistic ethics'' as an excuse to protect their source. There's no legal or First Amendment protection afforded to a man who peddles a fraud. You'd think CBS would be mad as hell to find whoever it was who stitched them up and made them look idiots.

So why aren't they? The only reasonable conclusion is that the source -- or trail of sources -- is even more incriminating than the fake documents. Why else would Heyward and Rather allow the CBS news division to commit slow, public suicide? (entire article)
For my money, it's a good summary of this latest newsmedia diversionary tactic to distract us from actual news. Meanwhile, Michelle Malkin weighs in as well, noting the media's slippery use of buzz words like "candor" and "confident" when the facts are somewhat less than factual.

Sunday, September 19, 2004


A few days ago the weather finally turned the corner from "late Summer" to "almost Fall", and today we actually have rain (a bit, anyway). What a relief. Cooler temperatures mean I'll actually feel motivated to DO things around here. Hopefully we won't have the phenomenon that I've experienced in other regions (Japan, the Carolinas, etc.) where they go from sweltering Summer to bitter cold in less than two weeks. As they say, anything could happen.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Ready to go home

Here's Cheryl, ready to get out of the hospital. We're now back at the nice hotel.

Today's Engrish: a tad bitter

The Japanese seem to be into niche marketing with this one. Is it racial profiling? Don't ask me, I'm bitter... This one was my discovery. Want more Engrish fun? Click this link.

Miyako Hotel

This is our room at the Miyako. I'll be bringing Cheryl back here today to sleep and watch movies. I doubt she'll be up for much else. It has everything but tatami mats! Nice shoji screen window shutters and solid panels instead of curtains. I'd like to take the bathroom home with me...

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Nurse Neb

Here's Nurse Neb, from yet another episode of "World's Astonishing News" or whatever they're calling it in Japan these days. It's supposed to be the 1930s; I tried my best with the hair and makeup. The "skirt" is a bedsheet; they tried to put me in pants but I explained that women didn't wear trousers in the '30s. Not to work, anyway. Hey, at least I wasn't a cop this time (was starting to feel typecast...).

Mini Japan Vacation

I'm not really in Japan, but it's darn close. My sister is in San Francisco for a surgery, and I've driven over to hang with her and help her out if she feels too "urpy" afterward. We're staying a few blocks from the hospital at the Radisson Miyako, and it's very Japanese. I'm having major Japan flashbacks. I just wish Gordon were here to enjoy it with me! Cheryl stays at the hospital tonight and I have the place to myself. I may wander down to the Marrakech to say "hi" to Nader & the gang and boogie a bit, but it's a long walk and I can't afford a cab. I'm just having fun exploring Japan Town and drinking in all the Engrish. Our room has a Japanese-styl bathroom. The toilet is in a separate room AS IT SHOULD BE. I had a "peel & press" seaweed rice ball for lunch, and the store across the street sells musubis and "Crunky" bars. Life is good.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

9/11 3rd Anniversary

Don't have time today to sit and type, but I didn't want to let this day go by without remembrance of the most significant terrorist action on US soil. For a nice piece that sums it up for me, see Adrian Warnock's entry for today.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Dynamic Duo

Found some kind of gaming website where you can build your own superhero, so I "built" Gordon and me as a crimefighting team. Kind of fun...

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The Four Plagues

The next 12 months are going to bring some big changes in my life. I'd lay a wager on it. Somehow I think that Satan is working overtime to pound me and soften me up so I'll be too tired to cope. For starters, this has been the buggiest year I've ever experienced outside or Texas or the Carolinas. First there are the mosquitos. I worked in the bush in Alaska last year, and I have more mosquito bites right now than I had my whole two months up there! We've had to put netting over our bed so we can get some peace at night, and when I go out to water in the evening I'm swarmed!

Second, there's been the plague of spiders: I can't keep up with the daddy-long-legs in the house. I appreciate the little monsters, really I do, but do I really need one in every 5 feet of ceiling/wall interface? Then there are the nasty spiders. I'm getting bites, I guess during the night, that can't be anything but spider bites, which creeps me out. This morning I followed the buzzing outside and found a big black wood bee trapped in the web of a BLACK WIDOW! Outside in broad daylight! Under my kitchen window! The BW is now a smear on the patio (after being stunned by my trusty bug zapper racket). Anybody who knows BW spiders knows they like quiet, dark places. I have NEVER seen one out like that, but then I ran into (almost literally) one out in the pool house a month or so ago when I hadn't been out there for awhile which was unnerving in itself.

The third plague is fleas. Not an unusual plague, mind you, but I've never had a problem like this here in Stockton. We have no wall-to-wall carpeting, and so it's easy to keep the buggage to a minimum. Plus, I treat all the cats with Frontline. Yet I'm still finding little "blood spots" on our bed sheets from flea dirt on the cats, and Gordon is getting flea bites on his feet. It's nuts.

Fourthly, and I'm pushing it here; it's just dang hot. You can see my local weather on the little "weather bug" at the bottom of this page. The weather people keep taunting me with predictions of falling temps...then it suddenly bounces back up to 100f. So much for getting yardwork (or anything else, for that matter) done during daylight hours.

Well, just thought I gripe a bit.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Getting Their Knickers in a Twist: "Code Pink"

As an example of how many so called "peace" activists are anything but peaceable, I often cite a story that my friend Floyd told me about the years he lived in Santa "Nuclear Free" Cruz, CA. It seems there was, and likely still is, a contingent of very vocal anti-gun activists in this sleepy (drug use will do that to you) little beach community. Seems their fearless leader disagreed so strongly with the local NRA honcho that one night, are you ready for this?, he lobbed a rock through a window in the guy’s house. Go peaceniks!

In keeping with this spirit of “peace”, there has arisen a contingent of women calling themselves “Code Pink” (frankly, I would have picked a different name: Nyuk, nyuk. Wink), who seem to be quite skilled in the “Personal Assaults for Peace” arena. Michele Malkin has her finger on the pulse of this gang of plucky protestors…

Thursday, September 02, 2004

UN Ends Global Terrorism! (aka Empty Orders)

The UN strikes again! Doing what they do best: shaking their heads admonishing us all to "just get along". Michelle Malkin points out the obvious: the UN are "a load of useless bloody loonies"*:

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday strongly condemned terrorist attacks in Israel and Russia and the gruesome murder of 12 Nepalese civilians in
Iraq. The UN Security Council condemned the Israeli suicide bombings and “all other acts of terrorism.”
*Ford Prefect to the Galgafrynchan (sp) middle managers,
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Just My Type

The Proverbial Wife is putting a Christian twist on personality typing! What is this, you may ask? Well, back in the late '80s, when I hit the bottom of my depression trough and sought professional help, the book Please Understand Me was recommended by a very good counsellor. It offers a way to break down the components of your personality in a fairly useful way, so you can understand yourself and others better. I found it very instructive and helpful at the time, and periodically re-do the test (we all change as we mature...hopefully). It turns out there's a new, improved version out these days, Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence . She even has a link to a site that carries the test...

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I'm a Redhead

...although I was born a brunette. I showed up via King County Adoptive Services at eight days old with a shock of dark brown hair, kind of a baby "Calvin" but brunette. If only it had stayed so nice and dark, but, alas, 40 years later it's a kind of mousy brown. So I've turned, over the years, to various methods of enhancing the color.

In the '80s I would go to the cosmetology school in the "U" district and get a "cellophane" in a nice cinnamon brown color. Later, I discovered the joys of henna, and that's my MO these days. I like it because I know what it is (ground-up leaves of the lawsonia shrub), it goes back to pre-history as a home-made cosmetic, and it smells great! Plus, I can play with additives to keep the color subdued. I add walnut hull powder, clove oil, olive oil, and use coffee instead of water. Did I mention it smells great?

Last night I hennaed my hair and I can still smell it. Oh, and it's also mildly astringent, so it's great for your scalp in hot weather (like right now). Once, a few years ago, I decided to treat myself and actually go to a salon and have somebody else do it. The well-meaning gal who worked on me took the henna mixture...and added some nasty-smelling over-perfumed conditioner to the paste. The lovely green, spicy-smelling henna now smelled like a perfume counter. Bleh. Talk about "unclear on the concept." Anyway, I feel better now.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

The Limitations of "Secular Only" History

From the Boar's Head Tavern courtesy of M Spencer:

"George Eldon Ladd. Simple. Brilliant.:
"The secular historian feels bound to interpret all ancient records, sacred and secular, in terms of known observable human experience, historical causality and analogy. In history as thus defined, there is no room for the acting of God, for God belongs to the theological category, not to that of observable human experience. However, the biblical records bear witness that God has acted in history, especially in Jesus of Nazareth, that in him God has disclosed his kingly rule. If this is a true claim, the secular historian has no critical tools for recognizing it, for his very presuppositions eliminate the possibility of God acting in history. Therefore, the secular approach cannot understand the Bible. A method must be employed which allows the interpreter to understand the New Testament as the record of God’s act in the Jesus of history."
This is something that has been rattling around in my brain for a few years. I needed somebody else to sum it up so nicely.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Spiritual War - Texas theater: calling in fire

Just this minute got a call from our buddy Darrell MacAlexander down in Houston, TX. Darrell is one of Gordon's movie cavalry buds, and has been his bugler on a number of pictures (Ride with the Devil, The Patriot, etc.) . I know many men talk about their ex-wife as "the woman from Hell", but in this case it may be pretty close to reality. "Psycho" is a euphamism. "Vindictive" is kind. "Self-serving" is generous. The divorce, which happened not long after we finished Patriot four years ago, was not benign, and their son (a minor at the time) became the object of a bitter custody battle...which the mother won. Against the desires of the son.

The boy is 17 yrs old. He is wheelchair-bound with a number of maladies. I believe MS is the biggie, but to add to his misery he also has scoliosis. So what was the call about? Against the wishes of this 17 year old boy, they carted him to the hospital and had the radical "steel rod up the spine" surgery. He has not been doing well, to put it mildly. Among other things, he has suffered a stroke and struggles with lucidity. The mother has gone all out to try to keep Darrell away from his son, and he's only been able to gain access to him a few times, during which visits he holds his hand and reads to him from the Bible and prays over him (activities which, needless to say, are not on the mother's menu).

The prayer chain is large and some big guns are being called in. Please join the strike force and pray for this situation. For healing for the son (also named Darrell), and for victory in the legal tangles that are plaguing this situation. It has been my impression that this woman has used this boy over the last four years purely as a weapon against his father, to twit him any way she can. The wishes, feelings, and well-being of this kid don't seem to mean squat to her. Let's get some artillery fire on this LZ before it gets even uglier. Thanks.

Friday, August 27, 2004

What I did today...

I cleaned the catboxes. I only mention it because it was the one thing I did that was actually on my list of things to do. Of note is the fact that I finally got paid for that Japanese TV show (July 13) I did over a month ago. this enabled me to do some major shopping yesterday and today: flour, cornmeal, brown rice, hamburger, chicken...lots of staples.

Looks like I may have to buy eggs for the first time in months, because Iris (grey chicken) hasn't laid for days. Looks like she's molting, too. I'm gathering quite a collection of feathers for the fly fisherman across the street. It comes of being crabby, I think. She won't let me catch her anymore for "love", while Henrietta (red chicken) is always happy for a pat on the back.

Other than that...Gimli is turning into the Tasmanian Devil. As soon as I have the cash he's going in for the operation. Today he climbed a "tree" about 1 1/2" in diameter and hung swaying about 7' off the ground swatting at me while I talked to a neighbor. He's special.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Angels & Demons & Codes; oh my!

Finished reading Angels & Demons last night in a typical late night page turning frenzy. Once I got past the first 240 pages, chock full of church/Christian/faith-bashing, it settled into being an amusing, if not particularly elegently-written, adventure thriller. I'll be curious to see what Brown cranks out next, because A&D and Da Vinci Code are virtually the same novel...


Back in the Saddle

One month after his high-speed encounter with rocky hardpan on Mt. Diablo (see "Weekend Warriors" 1 & 2) courtesy of Twister the Amazingly Touchy Horse (aka the prince & the pea), Gordon drove us out to the stables to "see the ponies". We actually saddled up and rode in the arena for a few minutes, which was good for them and us. Gordon, wisely, didn't push things. Even after only 2o min or so his ribs (separated) were starting to ache. Plus, Twister has lost his rear left shoe somewhere. Kids.

Sword Discussion: weapon, tool & symbol of faith

Alert surfer Gordon gave me a heads up on this interesting discussion over at My Armory on the sword as symbol and tool. Is the image of the knight kneeling with his sword held in front of him like a cross mere Victorian romanticism, or does it have some basis in fact? I suspect Victorianism/pre-Raphaelite-ism, but this may be an outgrowth of the 14th century Cult of Chivalry nonsense.

Regaining Our Sense of Quality

A friend of Gordon's loaned us his DVD boxed set of Hallmark's Lonesome Dove collection: Dead Man's Walk, Lonesome Dove, and Streets of Laredo. We started the first one today(well, technically yesterday since I'm up waaay too late), but only made it about 15 minutes in before chucking in the towel. Bad history and material culture faux pas aside, it was just bad filmmaking. When Gordon walks away from a western you know it's bad. The thing of it is, a year ago he probably would have stuck with it. Why? He said it before I could: our standards are higher because we don't watch TV anymore. More accurately, the only time we turn on the tube is to watch a movie or something else pre-recorded. We don't get cable, satellite, or even local broadcast these days...and we don't miss it.

What does watching the shlock that passes for entertainment do to people? It dulls them to the point that they think mediocre movies are worth watching. Watch enough drivel and even an Adam Sandler movie becomes bearable (by comparison, I guess). My time is too precious. I would have sat through the Larry McMurtry train wreck just to be sociable for my hubby, but luckily he lost patience pretty quickly. Lonesome Dove is pretty well-made, but neither of us were up for that depression-filled epic just now, so we went back to our books...


I logged out (don't ask why) and now can't get back in!!! I'm posting this from Gordon's computer. I've tried everything: clearing cookies, clearing cache, making sure Java was enabled (it was)...this is nuts! I even uninstalled SpyBot...all to no avail. I've emailed the service folks at Blogger but just keep getting a notice to clear my!

Update: I finally cleared my "blocked cookies" file and life is back to normal. I must have been in a blocking frenzy one day and blocked something I shouldn't have. Duh...

Friday, August 20, 2004

What Purpose College?

Helpful, real-world discussion going on over at the Boar's Head re. college and whether it's worth it or not. Lots of good input, but I like this post by Jack Heald ("'Education' and 'School' are not necessarily the same thing...) the best.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Hot Weather Bites

Just checked the forecast...and we're going to drop 10-15 degrees in the next few days! Wooo! I guess the whole West coast has been plagued with unusual heat...which is NOT unusual down here, usually. This poor little house (ca. 1946) has NO insulation to speak of, and leaky windows; so we roast on hot afternoons until it's cool enough to open the few screened windows and doors we have. Erk. Anyway...put in an application at Trader Joe's yesterday, too.
Manager: "Why do you want to work here?"
"Well, I shop here constantly...and it's three blocks from my house." To which the food sample girl chimes in, "So she won't always be late like me!!" :-D

Also, I think I'm going to bite the bullet and start holding small dance classes in the front room. This will force me to clean house at least once a week (the horror). Plus it will get me off my hinder and back in shape. We'll see what the man has to say. I'm guessing anything that generates income will be approved.

Monday, August 16, 2004

First Application...

...Barnes & Noble. Books are good. You can't eat them...but can you have too many?

Pounding the Pavement

Money is tight. Gordon has been pretty much laid up since his horse wreck. I'm going to look for a part-time job. Since I hate working outside the house, I'm going to look for work at places I like to go, like book stores and Trader Joe's. Stay tuned...

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Missing Stella

My youngest cat, 7 mo. old Gimli, is missing his little "cousin" Estella, who was visiting all last week. Just now he found an old collar of hers (blue, with a little bell). He is carrying it around and crying pitifully. I hate to anthropomorphize, but I really think he misses his little friend :-( Eric (the alpha) will need to be on his guard...

Friday, August 13, 2004

Ben Stein Testifies!

This just in from my pal Wm. Dunniway: "Subject: Ben Stein's Final Article I never really gave Ben Stein too much thought, other than I considered him one of the premier dry witted comics. His article is truly one to be reasoned with. Reading it puts the 'rich and famous' of Hollywood on notice. For many years Ben Stein has written a biweekly column for the online website called Monday Night At Morton's. Now, Ben is terminating the column to move on to other things in his life. Reading his final column is worth a few minutes of your time because it praises the most unselfish among us; our military personnel and others who protect us daily and portrays a valuable lesson learned in his life." Read article...

Robert Farrar Capon: my first go

There is much discussion of the writings of Robert Farrar Capon at any given time over at the Boar's Head Tavern, so I thought I'd give him a look-see. The local library didn't have much, so I'm trying Health, Money, and Love: And Why We Don't Enjoy Them. I feel like a bit of a Philistine, because I'm not "taking" to it right away, but once I get used to his style I'm sure the quality of his subject matter will shine through. Am I just an anti-Ent, or does he seem to take a long while to get to the point? Hoom hom...

This just in: "American Prophecies"

cover The American Prophecies Debuts at #10 on NYT List
BRENTWOOD, Tenn., Aug 6, 2004 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --

"Tremendous pre-sale demand has put the recently published, The American Prophecies (Warner Faith Hardcover/August 2004), on the New York Times bestseller list before its official release date- a nearly unheard of feat for any book. The American Prophecies will debut at No. 10 on the August 15 List, just days after its official release on August 9.

"In his latest book, noted Middle East analyst Michael D. Evans sheds light on political events from a prophetic perspective. He reveals how the hatred from the Arab world for the West, and toward America in particular, can be traced entirely to this nation's identification with Israel. 'America flirts with danger,' Evans says, 'when it accommodates the Arab world merely for the sake of oil.' According to Evans, hatred for America began long before September 11, 2001. America is targeted because of its friendship with Israel, its foundation on a Judeo-Christian system, and its basis in democracy. All of these factors contribute to the enmity of terrorist groups and, he suggests, the attacks will continue."

A Nice Visit

Gordon's oldest, Lizzie, spent the week on a temp job here in town and camping out with us (with her terrorist kitten :-O). It was kind of fun getting to know her a bit better (she's been away at college or in Oakland with her fiance since before her dad and I finally married). She's good people and seems to have her head on straight. She's a pretty typical college-aged person who is asking the questions she should and finding out who she is...but atypical in that she already seems to have her life partner picked out. Hey, not everybody is cut out for the "Ranger" existence I fell into early on, with a long perilous quest and nomadic lifestyle before finally finding a fellow warrior to hook up with.

It's interesting to hear her talk about her future in-laws, a very "high strung" set of intellectual over-achievers and academics. She feels a bit sub-standard around them at times, which she shouldn't, but I understand her position and can empathize. When I was her age I was peripherally part of a group of friends by way of my best girlfriend Angela. Not only was I a middle-class, Protestant, tea-totaller undergrad while they were (mostly) Catholic, upper-crusty, graduate types, but I was also the youngest by far. Even now, when I see this gang on occasional visits to Seattle, I still feel like a "poor relation" in the culture, intellect, and social status departments. When we would go to movies or on other outings I was forever in fear of committing some faux pas or another, and much of their conversation was outside of my experience. It's totally irrational, because if they had seen me as some kind of misfit they wouldn't have invited me along when they did. Nevertheless, I still felt oafish much of the time.

It sounds trite, but she's marrying in to a family who loves her for what she is, not what she isn't. Most of this family are well into high-power careers, and she is fresh out of a four-year degree. Frankly, it sounds like she has a lot to offer them, as well, in terms of just, well, lightening up a bit. I'm sure her future husband seems a bit "type-A" at times, but this can be a very good thing if channelled in constructive ways. Trust me, it's harder to channel a lack of enthusiasm...I speak from personal experience.


As you can see, I'm getting a handle on posting (or rather "linking to") pictures and adding content to the sidebar. It's starting to be the kind of page I like. Have I mentioned I'm a WYSIWYG* weenie? I hate HTML code...I just haven't used it enough for it to make sense to me, so it's a lot of copying what I think is the right code, then tweaking it until it finally does something close to what I want (read: it's a pain in the patootie).

* "What you see is what you get" or "graphic interface (GUI)"

Learning this new blog thing

Well, a short while ago I started this new blog, and I'm still struggling with formatting it. I'm having a heckuva time trying to figure out how to link to pictures so I can put one in my profile and in the text of my entries. I've just noticed that it's 0100!!!! I started this a couple of hours ago and now I have a headache. Time to crash...

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Patrick Gaul runs the arquebusiers through their drill Posted by Hello

Nicholas Worthington schools the company of Foote Posted by Hello

Dame Juliana presides over the Military camp Posted by Hello

A Visit to Ye Faire...

We made the (almost) annual pilgrimage to the N Cal Ren Faire last Saturday. It was our only window of opportunity for this year, and so, of course, it was the hottest day of the faire this year! I am fated to never visit a Ren Faire in California and be comfortable. The idea of re-enacting the Renaissance in Summer in California is ludicrous to begin with, but, there it is. As usual, I have pictures of other people, but not me...and not even Gordon (oops!). The sun fried my brain and I became the Incredible Stupid Melted Person after a very short while.
I did manage to catch Hahbi 'Ru's early show (before I turned completely to slag), and it alone was worth the price of admission. They are pretty much without reservation my favorite troupe of ME dancers! If I lived closer to the Bay Area you can bet I'd be auditioning for them. Probably wouldn't make the cut, but then I'd have a good excuse to take classes from one of them! Anyway...they opened with a nifty Tunisian number (see pic above) which was SO REFRESHING after Suhaila (bless her heart) and her "solid gold dancer" choreographies. Don't get me wrong, Suhaila's troupe (pic above) is hot...but not really olde tyme dancing. Anyway...when I see a truly outstanding live performance it can literally bring tears to my eyes, and I did some significant sniffling at this show!