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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hello to Hollywood!

I'm leaving today for Los Angeles, where my brother & sister-in-law live. My parents are flying out there tomorrow from Tennessee. I'll be there until January 2nd. I may be able to write a post or two while I'm there, but if not, I'll be back next year.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2008


It rained all day today. It must be winter.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


In an effort to reduce my belongings, I started rifling through the boxes & boxes of mementos that I have stashed in various places. I'm not a very sentimental person, but for me, my memories are all I have of my life so far.

Since my father was in the military, I grew up moving around, so I don't have a hometown or a place that holds my memories for me, waiting for me to return. I will never be able take a physical walk down memory lane. My whole life is only in the memories that I carry with me, & in my boxes of mementos.

Even so, I thought maybe I could pare it down so that my memories would at least be more portable. I had plans to scan old photographs & post them online so that I could get rid of the photo albums. I was going to throw out all of the movie ticket stubs that I've been saving. I was going to pile the most important things neatly in one or two little boxes, & I was going to let go of the rest of it.

But when I started looking through the mementos, they conjured up memories of all the mistakes that I have made in my life. I got through one box before it became too much to bear. I had to stop.

Perhaps I'll try again later.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I Heart My Mechanic!

My mechanic Rick is a god-send!

For the last few weeks, I've been debating on what I should do about my transportation situation.

My current car needed a new clutch, which the mechanic said would cost around $700 because it's a 4-wheel drive vehicle & it's super complicated to replace. I believe him because he's never ever steered me wrong - ever.

Then I got the insurance money for the bathroom situation. I was thinking that maybe if I saved enough on the bathroom remodel, I might have some money left over to buy a different car.

But then I thought that even if I did use the insurance money to buy a different car, I would only have about $2000 to spend, so I still wouldn't be able to get a decent car. Whatever car I would buy would probably just come with its own problems that needed fixing.

In the end, I decided that, at least with my current car, I know what's wrong with it, & $700 is a lot less than $2000.

So I took the car to the mechanic on Thursday, prepared to spend a hunk o' cash. I got there just before 7:00am, dropped off the car, & headed over to the nearest coffee shop to wait. At 11:00-ish, the mechanic called me to tell me that I didn't need a new clutch after all. I just needed a new cable, which turns out to be a lot less cash-ola.

At noon, I picked up my keys & paid my bill: $150.

I love my mechanic!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I can't believe how hard it is to get someone to do the work in the bathroom!

I bought a fiberglass shower unit last week for $60 at Home Depot. The other shower units that I saw there, or online, started at $250, so $60 is a great price. Apparently the style was discontinued, but there's nothing wrong with it. What a deal!

With the shower unit at home, I called the contractor recommended to me by the insurance company to see what they would charge to re-hang the drywall & install the shower unit. I told the guy that I was looking for the cheapest option possible while still making the finished product look relatively decent. A few days later, he sent me an estimate for $5000 that included cultured marble for the shower, & all kinds of other crazy stuff that I didn't ask for. I felt like writing a whole bunch of "Ha, ha, ha!"s all over the page & sending it back in the SASE that he provided. Instead, I called to try to reason with him. He wasn't in, so I left a message on his voicemail. That was yesterday morning, & he has yet to call me back.

Then I called another contractor recommended to me by my friend Jay. This guy is apparently so booked that he won't even be able to come by to look at the bathroom for another month. I guess *his* economy doesn't need stimulating.

While I was at the rock gym last night, the manager there recommended a third contractor. She says he did a great job on her own bathroom. When I called him, he balked at coming over, saying he would get my number from the manager herself.

The downstairs bathroom has been out of order since before Thanksgiving. It's more than a little frustrating. I'm sure the roommates aren't happy either. But what can I do?

This is what my bathroom looks like right now.

& this is where my toilet is.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thermostat Wars

The Thermostat Wars have begun again.

During the summer months, I had the thermostat set at 85 degrees. That may seem extreme for those of you who do not live in the desert, but in August in the Valley, 85 degrees is still 30 degrees cooler than it is outside.

However, the roommate, whose rent includes utilities, was not concerned with the electric bill. He consistently turned the thermostat down to 78 degrees whenever he got home. Sometimes he'd get up in the middle of the night to turn it down again, after the pre-set program turned the temperature back up to 85. I let him get away with it most of the time, though, because I understand that normal people can't handle an 85-degree home.

For the last several months, we've happily been able to live without the air conditioning. But now it's starting to get cold (if you consider 50 degrees cold). When the weather started cooling off in November, the roommate took it upon himself to turn on the heater. I turned it off again, & it remained that way for several more weeks. But now it's cold every day, so the heater is officially on for the season.

I have the heater set at 70 degrees. I came home a few days ago & the temperature was up at 74 degrees. Hmpf. So the Winter Thermostat Wars have begun. This time, however, I hope to win. It's one thing to expect people to sweat to death in the dead of summer, when there's no relief from the heat. It's an entirely different thing to ask the roommates to find comfort in more clothing.

I found the above LOL Cat, & hung a copy up next to the thermostat. Hopefully this will deter any more mutiny from the roommates.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

International Encounters

While I was out doing some holiday shopping, I stopped at the Ross store at Arizona Mills, where I found quite an international gathering of discount shoppers. There was a corpulent Russian woman talking to herself as she tried on shoes, a seemingly angry Farsi-speaking woman barking into her cell phone, a Mexican family trying out various toys for the niƱos, & a prolific African muslim family patiently waiting at the checkout.

Who says that Phoenix isn't a cosmopolitan city?

Friday, December 12, 2008

No Help for Automakers

An article from

No help for automakers
The proposed $14 billion bailout to prevent the collapse of the US auto industry fell flat on its face on Thursday as it failed to raise the 60 votes it needed to pass the Senate after it was approved by Congress and endorsed by both the White House and the president-elect. The future of Detroit's Big Three (General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC) looks bleak, as CEOs warn that GM and Chrysler may not make it to the end of the year. The jobs of nearly 3 million Americans employed by the carmakers, their suppliers and distributors are now at stake. Stocks for GM and Ford and Chrysler fell by 4.37% to $3.94, 1.59% to $2.48 and 0.45% to $32.85 respectively by close of market today.

Wow. So what do you think they'll do with the $14 billion, then?

La Virgen de Guadalupe

The Virgin of Guadalupe is the patron saint of Mexico. Today is the anniversary of her apparition to San Juan Diego. This is one of many forms that Mary takes in Catholicism. It's amazing how much she is revered, especially in such a male-oriented society.

It's quite an interesting story. You can read about it here in English or Spanish:
Article in English
Article in Spanish

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Prepare to Be Annoyed

My roommates were surely annoyed this morning when the plumber came at 8:00am to start hacking at the drywall, sawing apart the fiberglass shower unit, & jack-hammering the concrete floor. Those things make a LOT of noise.

But anyway, so the plumbing is now fixed ($1650). I just have to put everything back together again. I still have to get someone in to repair the drywall. Then I'm going to try to install a new shower unit & lay ceramic tile by myself. (Thanks to David for the tile!) Finally, the plumber will come back to reposition the toilet. & voila! New bathroom.

Since I have no idea what I'm doing, I welcome any pointers you may have for me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I'm in the Money!

The insurance check came today! The plumbers will start tomorrow on the bathroom. I'm so excited!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Road Trip to Tucson

I went down to Tucson yesterday with my friend Michael to see my other friend Michelle play in her band Kevin Daly's Chicken & Waffles. It was part of the KXCI 25th anniversary celebration happening all month. This event was held at El Casino Ballroom, an old VFW-looking place in the back corner of South Tucson.

When we got to Tucson, we were hungry, so we decided to go in search of grub. In South Tucson, your options are Mexican, Mexican, or Mexican. We found a cute little place near El Casino called Mi Nidito. We waited about 30 minutes for a table, which is apparently a short time for this joint.

While we were waiting, we noticed several photos of famous people who had visited Mi Nidito (my little nest in Spanish), including Bill Clinton. They were so proud that the former president had visited that they placed a plaque with a star on it at the spot where he sat to eat this fine Mexican food, along with several photos of the event. I made sure to pick up a postcard of the occasion for my scrapbook.

Back at El Casino, we sat sipping Dos Equis & listening to the bands on stage. Not many people were in the mood for dancing, except for a gaggle of children, & one couple who did not stop dancing the whole time. Only the surf band stilled their twinkle toes.

On the way back to Phoenix we stopped for gas at a TA truck stop. I was amazed at the offerings inside: showers, a barber shop, an auto parts store, a TV room that doubles as a chapel, & an A&W counter. We decided to order some onion rings to tide us over until we got home. The people in front of us in line said in a lilting southern accent that they wanted "ass cream". Before the counter man could send them over to the pharmacy area of the complex, they pointed at the soft serve machine. Ooooooooooh! Ice cream! Gotcha.

We made it back to Tempe by 10:00pm. It was nice to get out of town.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Birth Control

What I won't do for a buck.

I spent Saturday night with a raging three-year-old. She is obviously used to getting her way, so when I tried to exhibit some sense of authority as her babysitter for the evening, she wasn't having any of it. She screamed at the slightest indication that I was in control, throwing an angry tantrum until I gave in to compromise. I tried to get her to play with me in her playroom. "No!", she screamed. "Get down from the counter", I chided. "No!", she replied. "Do you want me to read you a story?" "NO!!", she sneered. (Sigh.)

She was slated to go to bed at 8:30pm. Whatever. After hours of happily wielding her Toddler Power, she finally fell onto her pillow around 10:00pm, exhausted by all the ranting & raving.

When her parents came home, I politely thanked them & left, glad that I don't do this on a regular basis.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Singin' in the Rain

I really feel like loosing it today. But I won't. One of the things that I remember from reading the book Eat, Pray, Love was that you should never break down, never lose it. Because if you do, it'll be that much harder to get a hold of yourself again. So instead, I'm trying very hard to see this as an opportunity to sing in the rain.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy 40th Birthday Donald!

It's my brother's 40th birthday today. I couldn't find a good photo of him, but this one's close enough.

Happy Birthday, Don!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

2001: An Odessey

As you may well know, I love reading books & I love to travel. But when I read a book on travel I tend to take into account when the book was published: Was it pre- or post-2001? The line that separates the past from the present is quite thick. I see much of what was written before 9-11 as amusing travel anecdotes. The books published after 2001 - or better yet, after 2003 - are much more useful in terms of getting the information I need for my own upcoming journey.

In what ways has 9-11 changed your perspective on life?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Michael Crichton Dies

Okay, so I know I'm late on this one (Michael Crichton died on November 4th, 2008), but I still wanted to acknowledge it.

I'm not usually a star-struck kind of person, but I do have to admit that Michael Crichton has influenced me. He'll probably be best remembered for Jurassic Park & ER. But one of my favorite books is his memoir Travels (1988). In it his chronicles his literal as well as spiritual travels. He admits to making a great many stupid mistakes, & details what he has learned from them along the way. The book starts with this line: "It is not easy to cut through a human head with a hacksaw." Awesome!

Learning that he had died made me feel sad, & surprisingly disappointed. I wondered why the death of someone I didn't even know made me feel this way. Perhaps it is because now that he is gone, he can no longer produce great works for me to enjoy. I'm not really sure. But I do know that he has been an important influence on many people. The film-making industry & the book publishing industry will surely miss him.

Here's an article about him from CNN.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Book Booty

I've added more books to my stash. I'm such a sucker for books. I realize that this might seem to go against my goal of reducing my stuff. Aren't books just more stuff? Well, perhaps to another person they would be. But for me they are food for the soul.

But in keeping with my philosophy, I do tend to get rid of them once I have read them. I pass them on so that others can enjoy them, & so that I don't have to find a place to put them. Also, I tend not to re-read books only because there are so many out there that I want to read that I see re-reading a book as a missed opportunity to read something new. If only I could read faster!

So, this weekend I took another pile of books over to Bookman's. They gave me $30 in trade, which I promptly spent. Then I stopped at Goodwill, looking for some shoes. I left with some jeans & a book. I also stopped by the Tempe Public Library in hopes of a job. No dice, but I got a couple of books from their sale corner anyway. All told, I brought home nine books to add to my shelf.

Here are my new additions:

Amy Tan, The Opposite of Fate (2003)
Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang (1975)
Elizabeth Kostova, The Historian (2005)
J. Maarten Troost, Getting Stoned with Savages (2006)
Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner (2003)
Robert Hellenga, The Sixteen Pleasures (1995)
Thalia Zepatos, A Journey of One's Own (1992)
Yann Martel, Life of Pi (2001)
In Search of Adventure, A Wild Travel Anthology (1999)

If you want to see what I'm currently reading, or to read my comments on books I have read, check out my book blog.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Kar is Kaput

I bought this car last March for $2400. The price was high & I knew it at the time, but I was ready to be done with the car search. I had spent several days driving around in my friend Jay's pickup, looking at cars, asking my friends to go with me for their opinions. I was ready to be independent again with my own car.

In the beginning, I had problems passing emissions, but that was taken care of by my favorite mechanic. In the summer, the AC didn't work when the outside temperature was over 100 degrees (that's a problem here in Arizona). & I've always had a problem with the clutch, occasionally having to get it adjusted.

The last time I got the clutch adjusted, the mechanic said that the next time it starts acting up, I would have to put in a new clutch. Since it's a 4-wheel drive vehicle, that means about $700 for a new clutch.

So now my delimna is this: Do I replace the clutch in a piece of crap car? Do I buy another car? If I buy another car, do I buy another piece of crap car? Do I buy a decent car which will have to be financed? Do I lease a car?

I can't really afford any of these options, so maybe I'll go back to not having a car at all. My roommate does it, & he seems to be able to work it out just fine. With the light rail on its way, maybe I can get away with it until I figure out what I'm doing with the rest of my life.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Stuck Cat

There has been a cat in the tree in my backyard for the last several days. He meows & meows like he really wants some help. The neighbors came over yesterday to try to help get him down. Elva, one of my roommates, climbed up the tree to try to coax him down. But he only moved farther away from her. I guess we're going to have to endure his constant meowing until he gets hungry enough to come down on his own.

Just like everything else in life: No matter how much you want someone else to save you from your mistakes, in the end, you can only save yourself.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I am thankful for:
Loving friends & family
A roof over my head
Food in my belly
A healthy body
The opportunity to make mistakes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Whew! I guess all this excitement has worn me out. I went to bed last night at 9:00 with a headache, which I don't normally get, & didn't get out of bed until this morning at 8:30. Hopefully this weekend will be a restful one.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ridin' in the Back Seat

Because of all this plumbing stuff going on in my house, the downstairs bathroom is, of course, inoperable. As a result, there are four of us using the upstairs bathroom. Good thing my roommates are hardly ever home.

I took a shower in the upstairs bathroom for the first time ever. I've been in the house for four years now & never once took a shower upstairs. It was like riding in the backseat of your own car: odd, but surprisingly satisfying.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Plumbing Update

Today has been quite an interesting day!

I called another plumber to get a second opinion on the bathroom repairs. They came out, took out the toilet, & cut a hole in the drywall to survey the situation. $170 just for that. Turns out it's a cracked drainage pipe in the wall. Another $460 to repair it.

In the meantime, another company came out to set up dehydrators & fans to dry out the water that has seeped into the walls & under the linoleum. They said the fans will have to stay there for three or fours days before it's all dried out. I have no idea how much they're going to charge for that, but it sounds like it will be hundreds of dollars.

Then the insurance adjuster came to the house. He took photos & worked up an estimate for the repairs, as well as the replacement of the tile, drywall, carpet, shower, etc. They estimate that it will cost between $5400 & $7700 - not including the dry-out service - to complete all the work & put my bathroom back in working order. The good news is that they are going to pay for everything minus my $500 deductible.

The only thing that still worries me about this whole thing is: How much will my insurance premium go up after this?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lazy Day Off

I love my days off.

I started the day with a group of girlfriends at Solo Cafe, a coffee shop in Tempe. Then I spent some time studying with Juliana, one of my Chinese tutors. Afterwards, I headed over to Someburros for lunch, where I ran into a former student. We ate our burros together & caught up on each other's news. Then I spent the afternoon at Kiwanis Park, listening to my friends play some really great bluegrass music. The weather was perfect for a lazy day at a music festival.

Now I'm home & I think I'll sit back & read a little of my current book, "The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid" by Bill Bryson.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Park Ranger

I went on the National Park Service website today & applied for all the job openings that I thought I might even sort of qualify for. There is an amazing number of temporary jobs available, from the guy at the visitor booth that takes your entrance fee, to trail maintenance, to interpretive guide. Unfortunately, I have no experience in any of these areas. Maybe they'll let me work for them anyway. I do have lots of enthusiasm!

Friday, November 21, 2008


Wow. Owning a home is great.

There has been some water leaking onto the floor in my bathroom whenever anyone takes a shower. It happens if you take a shower upstairs or down, but the water only accumulates in the bathroom downstairs. Water has also been seeping into the closet of the bedroom next to the bathroom.

So I decided to call a plumber.

The guy came out, took a look at the water on the floor, & said that in order to properly diagnose the problem, he would have to take everything out of the bathroom - the sink, the toilet, & the shower stall. In order to get the shower stall out, they would have to cut it into fours, rendering it useless. So I'd have to get a new shower stall & have them install it, of course. Then there's the replacement of the tile in the bathroom, the floorboard between the bathroom & the bedroom, & the carpet in the closet in the bedroom.

Total estimated cost of the job: $5000

So I called my insurance company to see if I'm covered. I have a $500 deductible, but it sounds like they will pay for almost everything after that. All that's left to do is for the insurance company & the plumber to do some bargaining before they can start on the job.

However, I will have to wait until Monday for anything to happen. No one at the insurance company works on the weekends, apparently.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Flat Iron

I went with my friend Laura today to hike Flat Iron. I hadn't been up there since the spring. We couldn't have had a more perfect hike. The weather was beautiful, it wasn't windy like it can be up there, there were no insects, & there was practically no one but us on the trail.

It was a great day.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sign Spinner

I worked my first gig as a sign spinner today - or a "human directional" as it's known in the industry. I only worked for two hours, but man, it's harder than you think.

My arms got really tired just holding the sign up for that length of time. Then, I was supposed to "spin" the thing too - the sign was supposed to be moving constantly. That's hard work. Not to mention standing in practically the same spot the whole time. I don't know how people do it for more than a couple of hours at a time. Maybe you get used to it.

The good thing is that I got some Chinese studying in. I brought my MP3 player with me & listened to a couple of lessons while I was honing my spinning skills. At my next gig, maybe I'll bring a book-on-tape with me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I am coming to learn that knowledge & experience do not necessarily ensure wisdom. It doesn't matter what you have in your head if your heart is empty. But I'm still hanging on to the idea that with age comes experience, & with that comes wisdom. Apparently this is not so. I have met some very wise young people & some very naive older people. Perhaps this realization is an important element of my own developing wisdom.

(If you are wondering where the above painting came from, click here.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Things still look bleak for the studio. Even after I cut the prices in half, very few people are coming to classes. I've moved out of my own bedroom in order to rent it out, giving me a total of three roommates. I don't go out with friends anymore. My house repairs are going unchecked. I don't even shop at the thrift store anymore. But it's still not enough. So I'm looking for another job.

But so far, it's been difficult to get people to take me seriously for low-paying jobs. They see that I have a masters degree & that I own a business, & they think I'm just playing around. I'm over qualified, as they say. So I decided to leave the masters degree & the "owner" title off the job applications to see if that helps.

I applied at a hotel here in Tempe for the overnight shift at the front desk. I don't know how much it pays, but I'm thinking it can't be more than $10 per hour. But it won't interrupt my schedule at the studio, which is good for now.

I also applied for a sign spinner position - you know, the guys who stand on the side of the road with a big arrow that says "$199 Move-In" or "Furniture Clearance". I figure I can get some "reading" in by loading up my MP3 player with some books-on-tape & listening while I twirl the sign.

I should know yay or nay for both by the end of the week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Date with Laura

One of my students who works for the Phoenix Suns (basketball, in case you didn't know) gave me tickets for the game last night. So I invited my friend Laura to join me. We had a great time watching the game & the people, eating big soft pretzels with mustard, sipping beer, & just hanging out.

During the game, I found myself watching the details: the security crew rotated positions every so often; one of the sexy Suns-ettes spent the game happily chatting with a couple of cute guys while the rest of her counterparts sat looking bored; one of the mascots shoved one of the security guards in jest, but the guard didn't think it was so funny; there was a guy whose job it was to pick up all the sweaty towels that the players had used & put them in a laundry bag; & there was another guy whose job it was to mop up the sweat after the players "fell" (you know they were just acting).

Meanwhile, the game was going on. It was pretty close all night, but the Suns won in the end.

Thanks, Laura, for a great date!

Monday, November 10, 2008

All Souls Procession

I went to the All Souls Procession in Tucson yesterday.I had been wanting to go for several years, but never got around to it. The procession is an outcropping of the traditional Day of the Dead celebration, which stems from Latino culture, but is becoming more & more popular among Anglos in the US, especially in areas with large Latino populations.

It was fun to watch all the people going by all dressed up in their best skeletal forms. But it looks like the best part was probably the fire show at the end, which we missed in favor of eating since we were all very hungry.

I guess I'll just have to go back next year.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Practicing Tolerance at the Dentist

Wow. I really don't like my dentist. I mean, most people don't like *going* to the dentist because it is painful or uncomfortable, but the dentist is usually a decent enough person. I, on the other hand, just don't like my dentist.

This morning my dentist asked me, "How's the teaching business?" I said it was slow. He replied, "Well, after yesterday's results, it won't be Spanish that we'll all have to learn - it'll be Arabic. & women will have to start wearing veils everywhere." Just like that. As a dentist, this was a very unprofessional thing to say. As a person, it was very single-minded. But that's my dentist.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Haunted Canyon Photos

See more photos from the weekend here.

I had a great weekend in the Superstition Mountains. I went backpacking with my friends from the Hiking Hikers Hiking Group (3H).

Friday night, we drove out to the trailhead where we camped next to ATV's & generators going all night long. It was pretty chilly out, but there were still some meteors falling overhead.

Saturday, we hiked through Haunted Canyon (it was Halloween weekend, you know), through a mostly dry stream bed. We saw lots of fall colors, yellows & reds. It was really pretty. We camped Saturday night at a cabin about 7 miles in. We had a fire, but no ghost stories. We saw a few more meteors before turning in. It got down to 40 degrees overnight. Brrr!

Sunday we hiked out a different way, finishing off the Haunted Canyon trail. It was up, up, up through lots of cat claw, & then down, down, down over tons of scree. When we made it to the road, we still had 4 miles to go, so the group decided to speed walk back to the cars.

On the way home, we stopped at Edwardo's Pizzeria in Superior. I had a pretty tasty pizza, & the rest looked like they enjoyed their meal as well.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Gone Camping

I'm going backpacking this weekend in Haunted Canyon. I hope everyone has some good ghost stories.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Whew! Yoga was hard today. I wound up by the door, which I don't usually like, so I'm not sure if my chi was off or what, but I was off balance a lot, I got tired in easy poses, & I was sweating like I was in a Bikram yoga class. I needed Sweaty Bands!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Me Talk Pretty One Day

My Chinese tutor was so impressed with me today.

I went hiking on South Mountain this morning. Since I knew I'd be out here for a while, I brought along my MP3 player so that I could listen to my Chinese lessons. I hiked for about three hours, so by the end of it, I was full of all kinds of useful phrases in Mandarin. When I met with my Chinese tutor, I showed off my new skills. She was utterly dazzled.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Choppin' Broc-o-laaaay!

I stopped by Baker Nursery yesterday after having coffee with the Cool Chix & bought some broccoli starts, as well as some strawberries. I planted four of the six broccoli plants, which I think will produce plenty of broccoli for me. I have two plants left over if anyone wants them.

This will be my third attempt at strawberries. The first time, I think I planted them in too much shade. The second time, it was in the spring time. I planted them in the sun, but they didn't last long enough through the heat of summer to produce any berries. This time, they're in the sun, & they should have plenty of time to grow & grow before the spring harvest. That is, unless they die in the cold. But they told me at Baker's that they'll do fine. Only time will tell.

Anyway, now I feel that my garden is complete. It's all over but the waiting.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Muy Interesante

I was reading one of my favorite magazines "Muy Interesante" today. There was an article about birds & how some species can recognize themselves in the mirror. How do the scientists know? Well, they put a powder mark on a spot on the birds' heads that they can't see unless they look in a mirror. When the birds saw their reflection, they noticed the spot & cleaned it off. Pretty amazing. Looks like birds don't get as much credit as they deserve.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Empty Pockets

Looks like people are starting to change their priorities. Attendance at the studio has dropped considerably. Maybe learning Spanish is a luxury, not a necessity. I'm curious to see if the trend continues.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Meteor Shower

I'm heading out to watch the meteor shower tonight. I'm hoping it will look like this:

But I'm pretty sure it will look more like this:

Either way I'm sure it'll be really cool.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Itty Bitty Teeny Weeny Laptop

I went to Best Buy today to check out the mini laptop. They only carry the 8GB version, but they confirmed that it does come with up to a 360GB hard drive.

I spent some time typing on both the mini & the regular-sized laptops to see how much different they are. The mini is definitely harder to type on, especially if you're typing fast. I had to slow down quite a bit & concentrate to be able to type legibly on the mini. I'm not sure if that is just a matter of getting used to it or if it will be a persistent problem.

While I was there, I saw the new super thin, ultra light MacBook laptop. It was soooo cool, but with a price tag of over $1500, it's way out of my league.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Check It Out!

In case you didn't notice, I've started two new blogs with the ever so creative titles: "My Reading List" & "My Movie List". You can find the links over there in the right-hand column. Check out what I'm reading & watching - & post your comments!