Monday, October 31, 2005

New Red Shoes

Do you know what I love? New red shoes is what. Particularly if they are also suede and moccasins.

Look, here they are again!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Saturday Morning Lists, 1997

For the past nine years (minus one year where for some reason I didn't keep a list), I've written down all the books I read during the year. Now, I believe, is the time to revisit these lists and see what the hell I've been doing with my time since 1997.

For your viewing pleasure (click to make bigger, of course), page 1:

And, page 2:

What conclusions can we draw from the list of 1997:
1. I was in college, and I was an English major, and more than half of these books were read for class.

2. I was really into Louise Erdrich, none of those were for class and I read four of her books and one book by her (now ex) husband.

3. I love Jane Eyre, I should read that again.

4. I was working at Barnes and Noble, and several of these books were picked up from the free stack in the break room (in particular, The Mutant Message Down Under which I barely remember and She's Come Undone which I think was a Oprah book).

5. Hey, I did read Jacob's Room by Virginia Woolf. I was just looking at that and wondering if I'd read it or if I just thought I'd read it.

6. I had a fascination for the Spanish exploration of the New World which can be seen in my reading of Broken Spears, The Crown of Columbus, The Conquest of America, The Conquest of New Spain, Castaways, and the unfortunately titled When Jesus Came, the Cornmothers Went Away, most of which were not for a class.

7. I have no memory of The Water from the Well by Myra McLarey, but I must have read it since I wrote it down. I will need to look around and see what the hell this book is about. I don't think I read it for a class, and I know I don't have it now...

8. Its a good thing I keep lists because my memory stinks.

Friday, October 28, 2005

British time wasters

The British National Archives has put up a fascinating site of digitized public information films from the 40s and 50s. My favorite so far is Watch Your Meters, but they are all worth watching. Educational and entertaining. Thats edutainment, folks.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Hot Toddy Love Affair

I am still sick. Bleh. The only good thing about being sick is that I make myself lots and lots of hot toddy's. I make mine with bourbon, because that is what I usually have, but you can make them with any whiskey, or even brandy if that is what you are into. Some people brew some tea and put that in there instead of plain hot water, but since half of the point of the hot toddy is to make me sleepy, I try to make mine as caffiene free as possible.

Just look at me before I had my delicious toddy: I am tired, listless, I can't breathe and nothing will make me happy. I tried to take a nice picture of myself post-toddy, but to be honest, I still pretty much looked like crap, although the toddy did give me enough energy to get out of my robe and put some clothes on. The good feelings induced by the toddy can not be conveyed to you in picture form, so you will have to take my word for it. The lemon, the honey, the hot water, and by god the bourbon all made me feel so much better. The only problem with hot toddy's is I want to drink about ten of them, which causes its own host of ill feelings the next day. And getting trashed really isn't that great for curing the common cold either. Sure is fun though.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Which kind of blow job do you prefer?

From the UT Campus Watch report:

Criminal Trespass:  A non-UT subject was found sitting on the south side of the building holding a hair dryer in one hand and a beer in the other hand. The hair dryer was plugged into an electrical outlet on the south side of the building.  The subject was issued a written criminal trespass warning. Occurred on 10-24-05 at 8:00 AM.

2000 Robert Dedman
Driving While Intoxicated:  While on patrol, a UT police officer observed a red Ford 2-door on the side of the road.  The vehicle's engine was running and its lights were turned on.  The officer observed a non-UT subject sitting in the driver's seat with his head back.  The officer also observed a second non-UT subject leaning over the lap of the driver.  As the officer pulled behind the vehicle, the driver put the vehicle into gear and turned the vehicle's wheels in what appeared to be a distracted effort to pull away.  The driver was found to be under the influence of an alcoholic beverage to the point he was driving while intoxicated.  Occurred on 10-25-05 at 2:25 AM.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Sometimes TV blows my mind

Yesterday I was feeling all sick and like doing nothing but watching TV (actually, I feel like that today too...). As I languidly flipped through the stupid Sunday afternoon shows on the 7 channels that come in on the TV in our bedroom, I ran across Twins on the WB. Have you heard of this show? It has three qualities that combine to totally make my mind explode:

1. Melanie Griffith (on TV? on the WB? Zuh?)
2. Sara Gilbert (Darlene! I love her, I think she should do more movie stuff. She should not be on this show as it is pretty dumb).
3. Mark Linn-Baker (Larry! from Perfect Strangers! He is also in Noises Off, which I love. He actually should be on this show. He has great timing, and a way of saying stupid lines so that they come out not as stupid as you would expect.)

This show should be seen to be believed. From what I can tell, the plot has Sara Gilbert and this blond girl as twin sisters -- blondie is the "pretty one" and Gilbert is the "smart one." Griffith and Linn-Baker are their parents, Griffith is an ex-model and I think the dad owns the design company where they all work and where most of the show is staged. The twins are apparently working there too, the blond one as a model and Gilbert as a designer or business woman of some kind. Not that exciting of a plot, but somehow the strangeness of the cast makes it enthralling.

While watching the WB I also saw part of a show with Jennie Garth on it and another show starting Reba McEntire. What will those WB dudes think of next...

Obviously I need to watch some more TV.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Suspending Belief

Its a little hard to see in this shot, but a young man wearing suspenders came again during the course of my weekend. Yes folks, its Freddy from Return of the Living Dead, who wears suspenders with a tank top throughout the film (later he puts a jacket on top of it, as he gets real cold once the zombie gas hits him). I wouldn't say the suspenders really look that great, but they don't hurt the movie one bit. Go see this now.

Snotty Sunday

I have been awake for an hour and a half, and blown my nose at least 20 times. The nose blows have all been preceeded by a series of massive sneezes. Post nose blow I usually come up with some sad little coughs.

I blame Josh who put cold germs all over the apartment earlier this week and also made me kiss germs.

Don't kiss germs everybody, that is my public service message for the weekend.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Proven Wrong

I get home from work and Josh has this picture of Tim Roth from Made in Britain as his desktop wallpaper. It blows my whole suspender theory out the window.

Mysterious equations of life

Old man + suspenders = cute

Young man + suspenders = stupid

Nostalgia or Creep-out, the Avian version

I couldn't decide between this fine drawing:
[which is the Medowlark, and happens to be the Nebraska state bird and the mascot of my elementary school, the May Morley Medowlarks]

Or this one:
[which is obvioulsy an awesome scary scavenger eating the head of a deer]

Whatever your style, you will find something to ooh and ah over in the online version of Audubon's Birds of America. Its even fun to just look at the bird names, which are often hilarious. I also like the scetches of interior bird anatomy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Open letter

To assholes with headlights:

If you are parked somewhere at night, or early the morning, and your headlights are pointing right into someones window, the polite thing to do is turn them off. This goes for the guy in the giant truck that woke me up at 2 am with an extended headlight blast that lit up the entire room like it was on the surface of the sun, and the dude parked outside my work right now with his headlights facing me for the past 5 minutes. Just turn them off folks, there is nothing to see here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Pigtail Experiment 2005

If you leave me alone in the apartment for too long, I put my hair in pigtails and take pictures of myself. You've been warned.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Sci-Fi Fantasy Blast

This picture, which is of some of the failed Ripley-clones from Alien Resurrection (if you haven't seen it, it is much more awesome than you would expect it to be. I love the Alien movies, and if I don't stop myself I will get carried away in describing my love for them. Probably best to save that for another post), doesn't have very much at all to do with Ursula K. Le Guin's collection of short stories entitled The Wind's Twelve Quarters (there is a bit of a connection though, just stay with me). This collection of stories spans the first ten years of Le Guin's career (1962-1974). Its the first of her books I've read (I also have The Left Hand of Darkness), and it made me want to read more, although some of the stories can get a little too fantasy-myth-like and not enough science-fictiony-like.

One of the stories that had no dragons or magic and took place in outer-space (all good story elements), and which also happened to be one of my favorite in the book, was "Nine Lives." Its the story of an exploratory mining crew that is sent out to super distant worlds (so distant that by the time they go there and get back to earth, pretty much everyone they know back home will be dead). Two guys are on this volcanic mineral planet, getting kind of sick of each other and figuring out where the uranium is. The ship with their support crew arrives, and ten people climb out -- ten copies of the same person that is (that's right! clones! now the picture makes sense!). There are five women and five men, all made from the DNA of one super smart guy (they just took the boy chromosomes off for the girls). They all act independently and (sort of) have their own personalities. They generally wake up at the same time, go to bed at the same time, have sex with each other (masturbation or incest? Its an interesting question). But what happens to the one clone left behind when the other nine die in a mining accident?

I won't tell you. I will loan you the book if you want, though.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Eat it, Sucker: Its the Saturday Morning Restaurant Review!

Have any of you ever been to the restaurant that used to be the Piccolo Cafe and is now Tony's Italian Vineyard over on 29th street just down from Vulcan and across from Texas French Bread? Because seriously, whenever I go in there (except one time for dinner) there are only one or two other occupied tables. And with their new expanded hours of 11 am to midnight every single day, there really isn't any reason for you not to check them out.

The menu seems to be about the same, and the food is always very delicious. The servers are adorabley serious, because this is a pretty nice restaurant, but its not that expensive (there are expensive things on the menu, but it ranges from maybe $6-$15 for most entrees -- and there is plenty of good stuff under $10), and its in the middle of a student neighborhood, so they don't seem to get a really high end clientele. They are also just the right amount of attentive, without going overboard, as some "nice" restaurants do.

And speaking of sandwiches (which I do a lot), Josh got one of their panini sandwiches the last time we were there and it was soooooooo good. It also comes with a big serving of homemade thick potato chips. All that for only six bucks. So if you work by campus and want a new lunch spot, or if you need a fancy/casual place for your next date, check out this tasty spot.

[Also, I don't know anything about wine at all, but they certainly have a lot of it. I've had the house wine a few times, and it certainly satisfied me. Plus its fun to order half a carafe of wine. Just try it. Even if you are at McDonald's or something. Ask for half a carafe of orange drink. It will be fun!]

Friday, October 14, 2005

The DBs

Joolie's post about douchebags (and accompanying awesome illustration) reminded me of the very first time I ever heard the word "douchebag." I was a young junior high girl and after some kind of theatre set building evening at school, me and a few friends went to the local Village Inn (which is kind of like a Perkins or a Denny's, I don't think they have them in Texas). As was our usual custom, we ordered bottomless pots of coffee and one order of french fries with a side of brown gravy for the whole table. We then proceeded to stay in the restaurant for 2 or 3 hours on our three dollar check and be pretty obnoxious as you might imagine a booth full of junior high theatre dorks with bottomless cups of coffee and nowhere to go could be.

After we really made a mess of the table by playing tricks with the creamers and making weird beverage concoctions out of sugar packets, ketchup, and ice cubes, the manager came over and told us to cool it or else we'd have to leave. We said sorry and after he left started giggling a bit, then the guy at the booth behind us turns around, leans in toward our table and loudly says "Man, what a douchebag!" We then broke into unadulterated pure junior high giggle fits and really did have to leave the restaurant, but on our own volition in order to get away from the "douchebag" guy so we could really really start laughing.

Douchebag. It still makes me giggle...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Morning Art Time

I found a link to this online Heath Robinson Exhibit in an email from my dad this morning and I just love it. Go and make sure you also take a gander at "Stout members of the sixth column dislodge an enemy machine gun post on the dome of St Paul's," because it is my favorite.


If you are in Austin and up right this second, the sunrise is pretty nice. Not spectacular, but subtle and interesting.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

What's bad

Coming to work at one's usual time (6:45), being here for 5 minutes, and then having all the fire alarms in the building go off at the same time. I called the campus police and it seems they are testing them. I just shut my door and turned up the music, but the buzzing still drove me crazy. After about 5 minutes, they turned off, but my head is still ringing. Not the way to start the day folks. (Also we were out of cereal this morning and I forgot my favorite tea cup at work so I had to make tea in a cup that tastes like plastic and coffee. Bleh.)

Monday, October 10, 2005


Silas Marner by George Eliot is another one of those Scholastic bookclub books I bought back in elementary school, moved around with me for 18 years or so, and then finally got around to reading. How could I have resisted this cover for so long? (check out the back as well, complete with nifty cobwebs.)

This story involves the weaver Silas Marner, wronged by his friends and forced to leave his hometown to take up his trade amongst strangers. He isn't very sociable, and turns toward the gold he earns from weaving for comfort, slowly hording it up and gaining a reputation as a miser. But then one night, Silas comes home and finds that all his precious gold has been stolen! This changes everything for Silas and the village in a whole variety of ways. This is a pretty moralistic and romantic tale (it is George Eliot after all), but its filled with lots of comeuppance, apt description, and funny bits as well. Here are a few of my favorites (sorry there are so many, I was really into this one...)

The perfect description of moving to a new place where you don't know anyone: “Even people whose lives have been made various by learning, sometimes find it hard to keep a fast hold on their habitual views of life, on their faith in the Invisible, nay, on the sense that their past joys and sorrows are a real experience, when they are suddenly transported to a new land, where the beings around them know nothing of their history, and share none of their ideas -- where their mother earth shows another lap, and human life has other forms than those on which their souls have been nourished.”

I know these people: “Assuredly, among these flushed and dull-eyed men there were some whom -- thanks to their native human-kindness -- even riot could never drive into brutality; men who, when their cheeks were fresh, had felt the keen point of sorrow or remorse, had been pierced by the reeds they leaned on, or had lightly put their limbs in fetters from which no struggle could loose them; and under these sad circumstances, common to us all, their thoughts could find no resting-place outside the ever-trodden round of their own petty history.”

Aren't all parties kind of like this at the beginning?: “The conversation, which was at a high pitch of animation when Silas approached the door of the Rainbow, had, as usual, been slow and intermittent when the company first assembled. The pipes began to be puffed in a silence which had an air of severity; the more important customers, who drank spirits and sat nearest the fire, staring at each other as if a bet were depending on the first man who winked; while the beer-drinkers, chiefly men in fustian jackets and smock-frocks, kept their eyelids down and rubbed their hands across their mouths, as if their draughts of beer were a funereal duty attended with embarrassing sadness.”

Sunday, October 09, 2005


I just bought three books, a potato masher, a white belt, and a nice red milk crate at the estate sale by my house for $1.17. Also, I resisted all the adorable cocktail glasses, wine goblets, plates, tea cups, and knick-knacks that I am usually tempted to buy. I am totally pleased with myself.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

walk north, use stick, get geeky

Here's a geek-out confession for you guys -- I love freeware adventure games. Love them. When I was a kid, my parents would never buy us an Atari or Nintendo, but my dad would let us each pick one game each from this shareware floppy disk catalog he would get. Mine would always be text-based adventure games. No graphics, just lines of text and a blinking cursor. In case you aren't familiar with these, the basic format is that you are a character put somewhere that has to do something and/or find something. As you "walk" around the game (be it an island or a castle, or some haunted ruins), you make a map of where you have been so you can go back again. You type things like "walk west" or "look rock" or "take key" or "use stick" and most of the time you get a message like "I don't understand" or "You can't do that" but occassionally you get a "The stick has dislodged the emerald from the ancient statue. You have broken the spell and saved the day!" Sometimes you would get a little musical jingle at the end as a reward for all your work.

Of course, now one can download freeware games with awesome/awful graphics from all kinds of sources. In the point-and-click adventure game you can usually do a combination of looking, walking, talking, and picking up/using in worlds where every character makes bad jokes and strange objects are left lying around. You spend your time walking around and picking up everything that the game will let you get your hands on (and lots of time clicking around on the walls and any pixel that looks like it might be hairpin or something you'll need later). After you have a bunch of stuff and have been talking to people, it becomes clear (sometimes) that you have to use some of the stuff on some of the other stuff and then give it to the right person, or show the right object to the right guard to get into a new room. Oh it is exciting. There is also usually a really fun MIDI soundtrack.

So, in case you want to enter the addictive and entertaining world of point-and-click 2D adventure games, here are a few of my favorites:

The Treasure of Drunk Island is the most recent one I've played. This one took me a few hours to get through, and it has enough twists that I had to check the walkthrough a couple of times to move forward. The graphics are really goofy, and the dialogue is hilarious. Plus you get to walk around drunk island, which is fun.

5 Days a Stranger and 7 Days a Skeptic (from which the screenshot above is taken) are both done by the same game author and are two of the most challenging and creative games on my little list. They involve a more serious murder mystery and space mystery respectively, and unlike most of these other games, you want to save often because you can make a wrong move and die or totally mess up your game. Its actually pretty amazing how affecting these two games are (particuarly 7 Days...) considering the relatively low-fi graphics and music. Good writing and neat twists.

Out of Order is one of the most fun games of this type I've run into.

It takes quite a few hours to work your way through the game, there are multiple areas and puzzles to solve, the characters are funny without being overly annoying, and the solutions are clever and satisfying. Plus it has a really weird ending. Absolutely worth downloading and spending some time with.

Finally, there is the Reality on the Norm collective, a group effort of 50+ individual games (some short, some long, some challenging, some just silly) that build on each other using the same characters and locations. Anyone who wants to can design a game, add new characters, locations, or situations, and upload it to the site. They started back in 2001 and are still adding games to this day. Every game is entertaining, especially once you get into the characters -- they really do build on each other. I'm not quite geeky enough to get all of the old DOS programs to run on my XP operating system, but most of them work without a hitch. The fact that this exists makes me indescribably happy. I've played the first seven or eight games and enjoyed every one.

How could you not love these guys....

Friday, October 07, 2005

I can't get no respect...

My favorite math quote of the day: "Orthogonal polynomials are the Rodney Dangerfield of analysis."

[From the article "OPUC on one foot" by Barry Simon in the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, Vol. 42, Number 4, Pages 421-460 in case, you know, you want to read the whole thing...]

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Gypsy Groovy

After Josh's report on the quest to taste the top ten best sandwiches in Austin (according to a food critic at the Austin American Statesman), the two of us went to one of our favorite sandwich shops, one that didn't make the list: Foodheads. I'd been there a bunch of times before, but I'd never had the menu staple that Josh swore was the best sandwich on earth: The Gypsy Grove. This marvelous concoction consists of marinated and grilled pork tenderloin and grilled ham on garlic toasted baguette with Swiss cheese, cherry peppers, tabasco slaw, and a fried egg. Its not very good for you, and honestly, the fried egg is the reason I hadn't ordered it before. An egg on top of all that just seemed like too much. Oh my god, I was wrong. This sandwich is pure heaven, and if you live within 100 miles of Austin, drive to Foodheads right now and sample it. I swear.

Of course, if you are a vegetarian, not into eggs, or just want to sample something different, pretty much everything at Foodheads is to-die-for-wonderful. Their onion soup is some of the best in town, their specials are always unique and tasty, and the atmosphere (its in an old house with lots of cooking magazines and cookbooks on the shelves to browse while you eat indoors or out) is relaxing.

Go ye forth and eat, my friends, go ye forth and eat.

[photo borrowed from an Austin Chronicle review.]

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Scare town


[Actually, this one might even be scarier...]

Monday, October 03, 2005

Superbly Sci-Fi

Posted by Picasa
Behold the rather abstract and yet fascinating cover for Damon Knight's 1963 book, Beyond the Barrier, which I just finished reading last night. Yet another find from the Literacy Austin Book Sale earlier this year. And if you'd like to see a cover that is a little more straightforward (and yet somehow equally as cool), check here. And feel free to read the back cover of the book as well.

This was one of those books that I bought because I thought it would be a silly read with a cool cover, and instead it ended up being a really engaging read with a cool cover. The plot of the book is well constructed, with just enough science to be satisfying. There are cool aliens, people who are not what they seem, and a narrator who only remembers the past four years of his life. There is also a bunch of 1980 and 20,000 years in the future, both as imagined in 1963. One of my favorite scenes happens when the narrator (due to a variety of difficult to explain circumstances) finds himself in an experimental machine that cuts through matter when it is turned on, but which has no steering capabilities. He naturally ends up falling through the Earth at the speed of gravity and, having been a physics professor for the past four years that he can remember, he spends his time calculating how long it should take him to pop out the other side, where exactly he should pop out, and if there is any chance he might survive.

As promised by the Edmonton Journal on the front of the book, the "final twist is well hidden and adds spice to the conclusion." I like to think of myself as someone who usually sees through the "surprise" in most books, but I honestly didn't see this one coming until a few paragraphs before it was revealed.

Seven thumbs up.


In other news, here are some archives findings of the day: An amazingly cool book cover, a disturbingly cute chick stamp, and weightlifting overload.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Better than Martha

I amused myself the other day by changing around a bunch of the things hanging on our walls and sitting on our shelves and then taking pictures of them. Perhaps you would like to amuse yourself by looking at the pictures of my decorating genius? Of course you would.