Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday, Random Sunday

Random thoughts from a Sunday afternoon.

Newest favorite snack food:
Cayenne Pretzels
20 oz pretzels (I used a 15 oz bag of the waffle shaped ones from Kroger)
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I think I used a little extra, it spilled while I was measuring it)
1 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
Pour pretzels into shallow baking pan or jelly pan (I used a 9x13 pan).
Mix everything else together and pour over pretzels.
Mix pretzels until well coated.
Bake for one hour, stirring every 15(ish) minutes.
Turn out onto paper towels to cool.

I found this recipe on the web back before Christmas but didn't get around to trying it until this weekend.  These things are amazing.  It's like extra spicy chex mix only better.  I need to make up a batch of these and send it to my brother-in-law.

Random thoughts from some friends' wedding I went to last night during which I got to see some friends I haven't seen in a while, some in years.
When did her hair get so big?
Wow he looks a lot I look that old?
He looks just like the last time I saw him.  Maybe I DON'T look any older either.
When did we all grow up?  And why does it seem like everyone has so many kids?
I guess it's okay that I forgot her name, she didn't remember mine either.
I've become pretty good at dealing with awkward situations head-on and by making a joke about the awkwardness of the situation.
Whoo-Hoo!  I got an aisle seat.
"The wheel never stops turning.  You're up.  You're down.  It doesn't change who you are."
Some things change...some things really do stay the same.
There's little more moving than a grown man crying while talking to and about his own mom at his wedding.

In other news, the cats have accepted the futon.  I think they might like it better than the couch it replaced.  At least they can get under the futon.  I haven't found a cover for it yet.  I refuse to pay more for a cover than I paid for the whole futon.  Internet searching will be done in the near future.

We had our first mission trip meeting after church today.  For those I haven't told, I'm a confirmed member of the India 2008 team.  I'll be in India the last week in June and the first week in July.  I'll miss the 4th of July here (probably my favorite holiday), but I'll be back by my birthday.  I'm really excited about the trip and you're sure to hear more about it both from me in person and on this blog (and look for my support letters, coming to your mail or inbox soon).  Support raising starts soon.  If anyone has any odd jobs they would like me to do in exchange for a charitable donation to the church that will go towards paying for my trip, please let me know.  I'll do just about anything and, if needed, can provide many of my own tools (and I've got a truck.  I can haul and move stuff.).

I'm also a little bummed that I not going to be able to go in the other mission trip that my church is taking.  That team is headed back to Reynosa (where we went last summer).  That was a really great trip, the food was amazing, the work was rewarding, the people down there are great.  It looks like it's going to be a great team going there as well.  I wish I could do both.  But, I had to choose between Reynosa and RYM Colorado with the high school kids.  And, since RYM has, consistently been the best week of my year the past two years (yes, even better than Space Camp, but only just...scuba diving almost pushed Space Camp over the edge), it wasn't really a hard decision.  I'm looking forward to RYM too.  With the group of kids who are talking about signing up, it looks like we're going to have a large and very cool group going there as well.

I watched Superman Returns over the weekend thanks to a loan of the DVD from my former cubemate Jeremy.  I wasn't that impressed.  Part of that could have been due to the mood I was in Friday night when I watched it (on the melancholy side of mellow) but I wasn't impressed.  But it did do some things right.  It provided enough information for the Superman newbie to get caught up quickly (and without a lot of "this is the backstory so that everyone can get caught up" exposition).  They also make it very much about the super hero (Superman in this case) rather than about the villian(s).  Kevin Spacey did an excellent job as Lex Luthor.  I especially enjoyed his hyperactive rantings as he exposited on his plans for anyone (and the audience) to listen to.  That said, the science was horrible, even for a comic book movie.  I'm sorry but the minute you put winglets on a space shuttle, you've completely lost me in terms of the science.  The whole sequence with the airplane and the shuttle were just silly and so far from believable it would have been laughable if I was in a laughing mood.  *Spoiler Alart* I figured that the kid was Superman's about three seconds after his existence was introduced (spend a lot of time with the hero brooding about being the last one of his kind...introduce a former love who has a kid about the right age and, yeah, not a big suprise there). */Spoiler Alert*  By the time Superman got around to saving the earth, I just didn't really care anymore.  I'm glad that I saw it, but I'm also glad that I didn't see pay to see it in the theater.  Now I just gotta find someone who's going to by Cloverfield so I can borrow that one.  I wouldn't mind going to see it in theaters, but since I sometimes have motion sickness issues, I'm not willing to spend money if I'm going to get sick.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Moving up the furniture food chain

As of this morning, I have officially taken a step up the used furniture food chain!

Those who know me and know my house know that most of my furniture had a life between manufacturing and living with me.  With the exception of one couch and a few piece of Target pressed board furniture (or maybe Walmart, but most of it is from Target), I think all of my furniture (and about half my appliances) was given to me by friend, left to me by grandparents, kicked out of my parents house or purchased from rummage sales, friends or (most often) British coworkers returning home.  For me, it works out well.  My tastes tend toward classic style, my decor style is somewhere between "comfortable casual" and "late grad student" and I have a furniture budget to match.  For the people I purchase or receive the items from, it works out well too.  They get a bit of money (or at least good feeling) and someone to haul away the stuff they're done with.  We can all claim that we're keeping things out of landfills and I don't get upset if one of the cats adds a new scratch, dent or other "mark of character".  Everyone's a winner!
But, this morning, I moved a half a step higher on the used furniture food chain ladder thingie whatever.  A while back, I received a couch from some friends.  The couch had come with the house they bought, but they didn't need or have room for another nor did it match their decor.  So, it had been sitting in their garage until they gave it to me.  It was a nice couch, almost brand new.  And, while it wasn't something that I would have picked out if I was going to buy some furniture, it more or less matched the color scheme I have going in my living room and it definitely matched my furniture budget (can't get better than free...especially if it comes with the offer of two guys to do all the heavy lifting for you).  The couch was a welcome addition to my living room and the cats even quickly took a liking to it.  Unfortunately, they also took a liking to scratching it.  And, the upholstery wasn't quite up for that.  I had been thinking about possible ways to make a repair for a while when I got an email announcing another homebound British coworker having a repatriation sale.  Most of the Brits who come over to work with us not only plan on staying just a couple of years but also have houses or at least storage units full of furniture.  And they're only allowed so much weight/space to take things back home.  Add to that the difference in electrical power systems and at least a couple of times a year I have an opportunity to purchase gently used home furnishings and electronics at bargain basement prices.  This time, I picked up a very nice flat screen (although not flat panel) computer monitor (also a few inches bigger than my 17 inch dinosaur that I bought back in like 1999) and a very nice futon.  The futon, hopefully, will be less of a scratching post for the cats and, with the addition of a cover (to be purchased later) should provide some comfy seating as well as sleeping for any overnight guests I might host.  But, the influx of the futon meant that the green couch had to go.  Finding a new home wasn't hard, especially when I charged the low, low price of free and helping me move the futon and the couch.  And I know that the recent college grad I passed it off to was grateful.  I hope it provides him and his friends many comfy hours of gaming and movie watching experience.
And, best of all, this means I'm no longer at the bottom of the used furniture food chain!
Anyone need a computer monitor?  Or know of someone selling a dining room table?

Monday, January 14, 2008

In which I talk about music and give a heads up of things to come!

Among the wide variety of music on my Ipod, is some celtic stuff.  And a lot of it is by two groups both with the word Bards in the name.  The first is the Brobdingnagian Bards.  The second is the Bedlam Bards.  While I'm not entirely certain where I first discovered these groups, I'm pretty sure it was somehow related to Firefly filk.  I've downloaded a bunch of the songs that they've offered and bought some albums.  And I've enjoyed almost all of it.  I've also enjoyed some of the work done by Marc Gunn, one half of the Brobdingnagian Bards (type that three times fast...and no, I didn't copy and paste either time).  He's got a great CD of Irish drinking songs rewritten with feline lyrics.  Irish drinking songs for cat lovers.  Mom enjoys the copy of that CD that I got her for Christmas a few years back.  There's just something about Celtic music that strikes me.  I especially enjoy the more upbeat jigs (is that the right word?  Probably not.) and the humor of the songs.

And now, I've been given an opportunity to review the latest CD Marc has put together (and, full disclosure, get a free copy of it), the Renaissance Festival Podcast Compilation.  There's some stuff that looks interesting on the disc.  Some I've heard before, some I haven't.  A few artists I'm familiar with, many I'm not.  I'm looking forward to enjoying it.  Hopefully it will make the long hours of documenting databases, onboard models and probably some other stuff that is my life at work right now be a little less tedius.  And (as part of my obligation that comes along with the free copy) look for my review of it sometime in the next week or so.

Monday, January 7, 2008

In which I show a picture of one of my unusual talents

Saturday evening, Bill took a picture of my sugar packet "card house".
This morning, he sent me a copy.

Cell phone cameras can come in kinda handy at times.
If someone got a picture of me juggling dinos, I'll try to remember to post it here.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

In which I demonstrate my unusual talents

I've got a number of unusual talents and I got to display a number of them this weekend.

Saturday evening, waiting for dinner at Chili's with Bill and Keith, I demonstrated my talent for building "card houses" out of sugar packets (fake sugar is easier than real sugar).  

This evening, at the epiphany party I got to entertain the kids by juggling dinosaurs.  They were the first thing I could find three of.  Not terribly easy to juggle, especially since I have small hands.  But people applauded, so I guess it went okay.  

And, then, later, I continued with my talent of spouting obscure quotes from movies that aren't as well known as you'd think.  At least Kathryn chuckled.  "Mostly dead is different than all dead."  Her youngerest brother, didn't even blink.  I'm thinking perhaps he's too young to have seen The Princess Bride enough times to be able to quote at least the beginning of the sword fight. (And I do mean the actual sword fight, not the dialogue.  Why yes, I am a child of the '80's, why do you ask?)

It's been a short weekend, but, overall, a pretty good one.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Random blurb about spelling

There are certain times in my life when I just have trouble spelling certain words.  In high school, I always wanted to put extra letters into schedule.  A few years ago, I had trouble remembering that traveling only has one "l".  Currently, I keep wanting to put an extra "i" after the "l" in similar.  Fortunately, once I get it through my brain that a certain word is spelled a certain way, it doesn't take terribly long for the message to get down to my fingers and then I don't have any more problems with that word.  But then a new spelling issue comes up.  Thank goodness for spell check.