Thursday, December 23, 2010

Proud of the Lame Duck Congress

I'd be lying if I said the mid term elections didn't get me down, and I really did not expect much from the lame duck congress but boy was I pleasantly surprised. I was in agreement with most democrats when I thought that the tax cut and unemployment extension was a bit too much of a compromise, but I think I've come around to see that it was an acceptable agreement. I'm certainly in the minority in thinking that the tax cuts have run their course and need to end. But I was shocked and so pleased when Congress passed the repeal of don't ask don't tell, and even more so by the role Joe Lieberman played in passing this legislature. A very special thank you to those Republicans who crossed the isle for this vote:

Sens. Scott Brown (Mass.), Susan Collins (Maine), Olympia Snowe (Maine), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), John Ensign (Nev.), Richard Burr (N.C.) and George Voinovich (Ohio)

Yesterday Congress passed a $4.3 billion health care bill for ground zero workers (unanimously in the Senate!! Granted Tom Coburn made them shave $2 billion off but at least he didn't filibuster. Christmas miracles indeed!)

And the START treaty was ratified, which means that Russia and the US will be reducing their nuclear warhead arsenal by half and submitting to inspections. Mind you Jon Kyl and McCain managed to put in some little provision of their own, with something like $85 billion going to modernizations of nuclear facilities and missile defense systems. Still, "yeah!" to bipartisanship.

Thanks go out to Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Robert Bennett (Utah), Scott Brown (Mass.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Susan Collins (Maine), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Judd Gregg (N.H.) Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Mike Johanns (Neb.), Richard Lugar (Ind.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska.), Olympia Snowe (Maine.), and George Voinovich (Ohio) who crossed the isle on this one.

I think I like that Massachusetts fella more and more.

In fact the only bill that didn't pass was the Dream Act, which stands as much chance as a snowflake in hell. With Congress now adjourned I feel that the Democrats that were voted out this fall went out with a bang, and I couldn't be more pleased. Let's hope the new Congress manages to do half as well and be half as bipartisan as this past session. What a breath of fresh air.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

30 day song challenge - in ONE day

I'm back from Russia, hurray! I'm also sick at the moment, so I will write about it later. In the meantime, I've been wanting to do this 30-day song challenge for a while now, but I'm not sure I have the patience to do this for a month, so I figure I'll do all 30 of them at once and get it over with.

Day 01 - Your favorite song [at the moment anyway]
Ryan Star "Brand New Day"


Day 02 - Your least favorite song
Paul Young "Every time you go away". It does not deserve a video.

Day 03 - A song that makes you happy
Sukhwinder Singh and Sapna Awasthi "Chaiyya Chaiyya"


Day 04 - A song that makes you sad
k.d. lang "Barefoot"


Day 05 - A song that reminds you of someone
Since I just came back from visiting my grandpa's grave for the first time (and he passed away 14 years ago) here is a song he used to sing to us a lot "Надежда" [Hope]


Day 06 - A song that reminds you of somewhere
Sublime "Summertime"


Day 07 - A song that reminds you of a certain event
Phoenix "1901"


Day 08 - A song that you know all the words to
Fleetwood Mac "Go your own way"


Day 09 - A song that you can dance to
I'll shake my booty to just about anything, but here is one that I'm liking at the moment - Flo Rida "Club Can't Handle Me Right Now"


Day 10 - A song that makes you fall asleep
Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros "Mondo Bongo". It's not that it makes me fall asleep, it's just that it's nice to fall asleep to.


Day 11 - A song from your favorite band
Delerium "Silence". Not sure that they are my favorite, but I do really like their work.


Day 12 - A song from a band you hate
I really hate the Ramones but I love this song ("Needles and Pins")


Day 13 - A song that is a guilty pleasure
Britney Spears "Break the Ice"


Day 14 - A song that no one would expect you to love
I don't think people would expect me to like Nirvana, so here's "The Man Who Sold the World"


Day 15 - A song that describes you
Phish "Waste"



Day 16 - A song that you used to love but now hate
Nelly Furtado's "Promiscuous"


Day 17 - A song that you hear often on the radio
Rolling Stones "Sympathy for the Devil"


Day 18 - A song that you wish you heard on the radio
Gogol Bordello "Through the Roof and Underground"


Day 19 - A song from your favorite album
Dido "Here with Me". I used to really love this album.


Day 20 - A song that you listen to when you’re angry
I don't get angry much, and when I do I am certainly not in the mood for music. But I think this song would really cheer me up and want to kick ass: Lady Gaga "Poker Face"


Day 21 - A song that you listen to when you’re happy
Madonna "Love Profusion"


Day 22 - A song that you listen to when you’re sad
Placebo "Running up the Hill"


Day 23 - A song that you want to play at your wedding
How about a song I MEANT to play at my wedding but didn't? Scorpions "Are you the One?"


Day 24 - A song that you want to play at your funeral
Israel Kamakawiwo'ole "Over the Rainbow"


Day 25 - A song that makes you laugh
Harry Nilsson "Coconut"


Day 26 - A song that you can play on an instrument

can't play anything at all.

Day 27 - A song that you wish you could play
Bob Dylan "One more cup of coffee"
video impossible to find... but here is a "how to" video:


Day 28 - A song that makes you feel guilty
Lady Gaga "Bad Romance"


Day 29 - A song from your childhood
"Kukushka", originally by Victor Zoj of the band Kino, here performed by Zemfira. Ignore the weird video, it's from some Joan of Arc movie.


Day 30 - Your favorite song at this time last year
Jason Mraz "I'm Yours"

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mmm, delicious....

I was recently inspired by Alyssa Monks to try some super realistic painting. Foolishly, I decided on the weekend before we leave for Russia, and have spent the full two days painting. But it's finally done and I'm very pleased with it. It's acrylic on paper, and I'm calling it "Coconut Water" for now. This will be my fourth piece in the water themed show in October (here are pieces one, two, and three). I had a hard time photographing it in the dark room, but I just couldn't wait till tomorrow!


Another view to get the colors a little less washed out by the light


And a detail...


Still, I feel that there is some serious room for improvement in my work. More and more I feel that my art has no point, that the paintings are dull and static. My challenge for this winter is to break out of this rut and dish out something more juicy!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cherry Blossom Hair Ornament

Here are a few shots of the now completed hair piece(s) for my friends wedding hair. She will be getting married October 2nd to the man she's been in love with for over nine years now, and I won't be there because I will be in Russia. Thankfully, she asked me to do her hair ornament, and I really hope she likes what I made (she says she does, but then again I am her friend :)
These are cherry blossoms, made with polymer clay and some anthers for cake decorating. The leaves I bought pre made on etsy.com. You can find some if you search for filigree leaves. There are also little crystal droplets in there, which I particularly enjoy. The combs I also purchased on etsy.

I can't wait to see pictures of my friend on her wedding day with the veil and dress and these flowers. Let's hope they stay put!
























Painting of a Gorge

I don't like this painting. I don't know why. Could be the monotone colors. Could be the poor job I did on the top and bottom parts of the painting (the cliffs with plant life and the water fall thingy). I do feel ok about the middle. Still, it is rare for me to feel dislike towards a completed painting. I almost threw it away half way through.... Perhaps tomorrow I will feel differently. Till then, I hope at least you will enjoy:

"Still Gorges"

























Thursday, September 2, 2010

2010 Election Cycle

The midterms are almost upon us, and the latest polls show Republicans overall ahead by 10%. As it stands now, Dems will probably keep the Senate majority (51 to 49) but the House is up for grabs. This is sad news indeed. And to be honest, I don't entirely understand the reason why Republicans are favored. So here is my post about why Dems are better than Republicans for the future of this country. (But mostly it's me being really mad).

The economy and jobs situation in the US is still pretty shitty. Unemployment rates are high, banks that profited from the bailout aren't lending, corporations are turning a profit but not hiring. Little guy on the street gets screwed. Surely this is bad, but has everyone forgotten WHY we are in this mess???? Did we forget the Bush tax cuts and pointless wars that depleted the treasury? Did we forget the deregulation of the banks that allowed this entire subprime-mortgage/housing bubble, economy-downturn thing to happen in the first place?

The bail out and taxes deserve their own little paragraph. Republican's bailed out the banks (upper class). Democrats bailed out the car industry (middle class). Bush cut taxes for the rich (still in effect!), Obama cut taxes for the low/middle class AND is trying to cut taxes for small business which the Republicans in Congress are blocking. And don't even get me started on all the shit the Republicans blocked these past few years, including health coverage for 9/11 rescue workers! And they are upset about a community center!??!?!?

Here is a little list of the Dems major accomplishments lately from USA today:

-- American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: The $862 billion "stimulus bill" invested in transportation and energy projects, tax cuts and education grants.

-- Affordable Health Care for America Act: The law $940 billion in the first 10 years will create new health care exchanges, expand insurance coverage to 32 million people who have gone without, close gaps in Medicare prescription-drug coverage and forbid insurance companies from rejecting people for pre-existing conditions.

-- The HIRE Act: A jobs bill that provided $18 billion in tax breaks for small businesses to spur hiring and $20 billion for transit and highways programs.

-- Auto companies bailout: Billions of dollars in government loans to struggling Detroit automakers Chrysler, General Motors and GMAC.

But it adds to the deficit people complain! Where were your complaints when Bush was waging a ludicrously expensive war in Iraq for NO REASON???? And it was off the books too! The 3 trillion dollars, that's TRILLION DOLLARS spent by using emergency approrpriation bills rather than putting it on a budget. That's 12 billion a month in Iraq, 16 billion a month if include Afghanistan. And why? Because Saddam Hussein oppressed his people? Do the oppressed people in Sudan, North Korea and Iran not count? Shall we go around liberating everyone? And why is it more important than the unemployed of THIS country???

Then there is the whole Obama is a Muslim thing, or he respects Muslim people more than he does his own citizens (latest Newsweek poll says most Republicans believe this shit). Can someone tell me why this belief is so popular? I mean obviously I know why, because of our brain washed fox watching population who think that what Glenn Beck and O'Reilly tell them is fact. Sure Obama tried to mend relations with some Muslim leaders after we killed over 100,000 Iraqi people for NO REASON, but that's just good manners really.

So someone please tell me why we would want to go back to the days of reckless spending, invasion of privacy (Patriot Act anyone?) and endless cronism that was the Republican majority rule?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

No Poo

I am seriously considering this new (?) trend of not shampooing hair, aka No Poo. Basically you just get your hair wet in the shower, but don't use any product to wash it. Once a week you may want to condition with something like DevaCurl No Poo, which is a sudless cleanser, or really any conditioner. And once every couple of weeks you could wash the head with some backing soda. Apparently the hair, once it gets over it's oil overproduction that has been brought on by years of shampoo use, will develop it's own lovely sheen, become gorgeous, hold a style, and your scalp will stop flaking as well. Best for curly or wavy haired peeps.

Here is a lovely article about one woman's experience with No Poo, and her advice. Also thinking of reading this book, called "No more dirty looks" about living life with more natural beauty products :) On a final note, why is it always assumed that hippies smell like patchouli?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hurray for Ground Zero Mosque

When I first heard about the "Ground Zero Mosque" a few weeks back, all the controversy made me think there was a plan to build a Hagia Sophia type structure right where the trade center stood. Turns out it's some sort of community center (gym, swimming pool, theater and a mosque) two blocks away from ground zero, planned by a Sufi (read: peaceful, Buddhist-like) Imam (Feisal Abdul Rauf, or whatever). Never mind that there is already a mosque four blocks away and that lower Manhattan was originally a very muslim community (back in the late 19th century it was called Little Syria) - why is it that the very people who like to get all outraged on behalf of the constitution are forgetting it's very first amendment?

I know why, of course. It's because most Americans and certainly most conservatives, like to think of America as a christian nation. They like to throw their bible into political arguments (gay marriage? no way - it's an abomination!). More importantly, they have found themselves a nice little enemy in islam. What used to be a multifaceted religion practiced by nearly a third of the world's population, is now equated with intolerant governments and terrorism. The idea that islam is a violent religion is now somehow taken as a fact. And this I also understand. We all need an "other" to hate or put down. I myself have an "other" in conservatives and all religious fanatics, christian and muslim alike. Still, it is the intolerance and bigotry that piss me off the most when it comes to my "others" and so I've decided that it would be an excellent idea to build and actually mosque, with minarets and all, right there next to where the trade center stood, to symbolize the hope for tolerance and peace.


PS: Nearly 20% of Americans think that Obama is a muslim. This is once again interesting because clearly being a muslim is bad, and Obama is a bad president (why exactly? I'm not sure I understand this part). I wonder if it's the same lot that believe he was born in Kenya, and that he is a communist/socialist. The fact that Obama is just another moderate Democrat is somehow lost on these confused souls. Oh well... Wish that Obama were muslim. I would feel less embarrassed when I speak with my muslim American friends, and think of the muslim troops fighting on our side in Iraq and Afghanistan, risking their lives for the ignorant masses back home.




Vent over. I now leave you with a picture of a favorite religious zealot and this cute kitty:


















UPDATE:
Links to news stories about other mosques around the country being protested and denied permission here and here. Story about some construction worker being harassed by Ground Zero Mosque protesters cause they thought he was a muslim here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Worst Part of Bike Riding

We have now been car-free for 6 weeks. This weekend especially we spent a lot of time on the bike, Friday night being the most intense ride so far - 23.5 miles, most of it after midnight, uphill and in strong rain. I am really enjoying this experience, but there are two things that make bike riding significantly less fun.

Thing #1: Bugs. At dusk, and especially on down hills, the face becomes a human windshield. Not only do you have to be careful to keep your mouth shut and your eyes squinty, it's also a little bit like being sandblasted. Sometimes you hit a pretty big insect which can hurt quite a bit. But nothing compares to ...

Thing #2: Roadkill. Since we travel some roads every day (to and from work, to and from the garden, for example), we get to see all stages of this lovely process. First day you see a cute fuzzy dead animal. Last week for example I was delighted to meet a mother turkey with a bunch of babies in tow while going up a particularly challenging hill. I took some photos, communed with nature, and kept on riding only to find three more little turkeys sqooshed on the side of the road a few yards away. Next comes the inevitable decomp, with the bloating, the maggots, the guts dragged around my scavengers and spread by cars, and the SMELL of DEATH, which is just the worst thing really. It takes about a week for that animal to become nothing but a darker spot of pavement, but it sure is unpleasant.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Watercolor* Still Life with Pea

I spent my 4th of July painting and lounging by the river. An excellent use of my time if I say so myself. Here is my final piece, which is for a show I am participating in in the fall. The theme - water.


And here it is next to the still life. The background is a summer dress slung over a computer monitor. Fun!


*Update 7-13-10 : I now realize why the painting came out better than I thought - it wasn't watercolor! I used acrylic paint instead of watercolors and diluted them. Just realized the mistake today. Am a bit disappointed actually, but perhaps I have learned a new technique at least.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My first Quilt

Well technically it's a block or maybe a patch? I have never been much good at sewing but some friends of mine are getting married and they are making a love quilt (what an awesome idea!) where everyone makes one block and they will put it together. So here is my contribution, ripped off from Robert Indiana's iconic "Love" sculpture. Well technically it is a poorly stitched applique but whatever.



















By the way, did you ever notice the sort of heart shaped negative space in the V?

Life in the Slower Lane

So it's been a little over three weeks since we switched to a bicycle (and occasional bus) lifestyle. Though challenging at first (many a hill made me want to cry), the car-less life certainly has it's advantages. First there is the health benefit (hopefully), and I can report that I feel a bit more energetic and that my legs appear to be gaining some hitherto missing strength. Also noticeable has been the general slow down in the pace of life around here. I don't feel like we are rushing around much anymore. Decisions about what to do, where to go, and what we need are being reformulated with distance and time in mind. Finally, and most surprisingly, we seem to be discovering our town as if for the first time. Not only have we come across local attractions that we were just simply unaware of before, but little things along the side of the road are suddenly coming into view. Here are some examples of what I am talking about:


A mystery plant. Looks like a maple of sorts (based on the leaves) but seems to have these strange flowers. Anyone know what this plant is?



















Some place called Gothic Alley. I had a blast exploring it.




















Rocks by the side of the road. Someone has taken the time to balance them quite ingeniously.




































And look where they are located - right by the side of the road at the mall where I have driven many a time. Interesting side note - I was just returning from the store with a big package of toilet paper strapped to my bike. I was getting weird looks from the peeps in the cars.



Earrings

Made some fun little ear rings for a friend of mine some time ago. Took me something like 8 hours to do all those little pieces, but most of the time was spent on mixing the colors starting with just white, lime and turquoise polymer clay.




















Had some left over clay so I am making some sort of creature with them. Not sure what it will turn out to be.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Giving up my Car


Since the oil spill started in the Gulf of Mexico I have not been able to look at my car without feeling that I am contributing to our culture's "addiction to oil". While I realize that gasoline powered transportation is a vital part of our life at the moment, I do believe that we can and should move past the use of such limited and dirty resources as coal, oil and gas. I strongly feel that this country needs to set an example to the world by investing in the research and infrastructure involved in using renewable resources such as solar, wind and possibly a few others (bio fuels maybe? geothermal?)


(for more BP logos check out this Flickr gallery)


At first I thought of trading my car in for a hybrid. (Incidentally - the only hybrids with manual transmission are Honda Civics 2003-2005!) After watching "No Impact Man" last weekend though, I have suggested to Husband that we should try to give up the use of our car for this summer. The reasons are two fold -

1) I won't feel guilty about buying and using gas
2) It will force me to get in shape

We are not going to be all hard core about it. The car is allowed for distant trips, emergencies, and the occasional reasons (whatever they may be). Also, the use of public transportation such as buses is allowed. This is especially helpful because of where we live in relation to the town - separated by a very steep and annoying hill!

So far it hasn't been very easy. I am seriously out of shape so my legs and really the rest of my body are protesting this treatment. Most days I have only had to bike the mile or so it takes to get to work, and the mile or so that it takes to get to the garden. Shopping has been a bit of a challenge, as is going to see my shrink and the festival that took place downtown this weekend. Still, we are persevering.

I have no illusions that taking our car off the road will make any sort of difference, but I have to say that I feel pretty good about our decision.

And on a happier note - blog migration seems to be complete and all the old images are up now! Hurray!!! You may also have noticed (or not) that I have changed the labels on the post for simplification. I have it down to just a few categories now, which should make browsing easier, I hope.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Picard Face Palm

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This is the best face palm I've ever seen :) Don't know where it's from? Check out comixed such as this one:

Saturday, May 29, 2010

the Water Color look

Since moving to the new server I decided to change my template. I am thinking I will try to design my own but what with one thing and another I just haven't gotten around to it. So to replace the boring green look I have borrowed this lovely "Water Color" template for the time being. Also, it looks like we'll be hanging out at this URL (http://neverbetter.nomadlife.org) from now on. I promise I'll post new and interesting things soon. Cheers!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Messing around...

There was a problem during the migration which I don't have enough technical knowledge to fix. Blogger says I should contact my FTP host to help. FTP host says something different. I am going to try a few things on my own and see what happens. One of the changes is that for a while at least (if not forever) we will be moving back to http://neverbetter.nomadlife.org (the old URL). We may stay there, or move back. I am refraining from publishing anything new until I get this mess straightened out.
Sorry for the confusion.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Under Construction

cue "Girl from Ipanema"

Well the blog is moved, but I didn't do it very well so the old blog does not redirect to the new one. I am working on fixing it, but it will probably take a while. Also, the look is being updated (very slowly) into something that will hopefully be really cool. My favorite features are: wider text area and an "older posts" button at the bottom of the page. And I see that I have no followers, which makes me a little sad but I'll get over it.

In the meantime, I thought I would show off this fun fellow. It's a yellow fly agaric (Amanita muscaria var. guessowii). Although I was raised under strict instructions not to eat this deadly poisonous mushroom, apparently some people use it for hallucinogenic/spiritual reasons. From what I heard, the process involves drinking the urine of a dedicated mushroom eater, since it will make you quite ill otherwise. Those Siberian shamans...




I made it out of polymer clay last fall while I was down with the flu from hell (sadly not the swine flu, otherwise I would at least be immune to it). I initially meant to do a whole family of little mushrooms, and maybe have them coming out of the bathroom wall. I may still do it one day, because it is such a cute idea, but I am a bit lazy so I gave up after one mushroom. Still, I am pretty proud with how realistic it turned out. It is built on a wire armature so I keep it in a flower pot at home, hoping for a comment from a visitor. So far - nothing. We'll wait and see :)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Blog is Moving

Heads up peeps! We are moving to a custom domain. I thought about combining it with a personal website, but I think it would be better to keep at least a semblance of anonymity. Hopefully everything will go smoothly, wish me luck!

New address should be (I hope) www.neverbetterblog.com

Please update your readers, feeeds, bookmarks, whatnots.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Miniature Drinks

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

I bought two drinks today, but it's not what you think! I decided to have Husband's alien dude drink a cool and refreshing drink in this lawn chair. While I was trying to figure out how I was going to make a really cool drinking glass out of polymer clay, I came across a whole world of miniature food. That got me searching further and I found these two adorable drinks on ebay, made persumably by Linda of Linda's Crafts and Collectibles. They are 1:6 scale (Barbie sized) as opposed to 1:12 scale which is apparently the most common scale for dollhouses. I am super excited.

I'm afraid I can't figure out a way to post these pictures from ebay so you will have to follow these two links to see the glasses. It will say the listing has ended, then there will be some alternative choices, and then the final sale item will be at the bottom of the page, so scroll down. Here is "stormy drink" and here is Caipirinha, a Brazilian drink that I will probably end up using.

Can't wait till they get here!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Blog moving

Hello my dear readers,

Since I was under a rock this winter, I did not realize that Blogger will no longer be using FTP publishing. Since my blog is published via FTP, I will need to migrate to either a blogspot domain or a custom domain. Right now I am leaning towards a custom domain. What do you all think? I've been frustrated with the layout of this blog for some time now, and I have been on and on about creating an actual website for myself as well, so perhaps this is a call to action. The deadline is May 1st, so I guess I had better get moving.

Now all I need is to create a cool domain name. Any suggestions? I like "neverbetter" because it's kind of a life philosophy that keeps me positive, and it does not limit me to one subject matter either. But I don't think I will be able to keep it. Hmmmm.... Ideas welcome!


***


And now, a quiz! What do you think my cat is doing? As documented in the photo below, she grabs the blanket (and only this one blanket will do!) with her teeth, pulls on it with her front paws, and then spins around on her butt in a frankly somewhat erotic nature. Thoughts?



Silly kitty!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Commercials that make you go "WOW!"

Wow wow wow!!! Amazing advertising!!!!




And since I am on the subject of amazing advertising, check out this commercial. I dare you not to laugh.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Polymer Clay Alien in a Chair - Stage 1

I started working on this guy about a month ago. It was supposed to be a birthday gift for Husband but it takes a long time to make and since I am taking a rather demanding class this semester I have only been able to devote a few hours a week to this little fellow. The final product should be an alien sitting in miniature version of Husband's favorite chair.

The chair frame is done. It is white polymer clay over copper wire, which may not have been the best idea because the copper must be leaching or something into the clay and it's turning a bit orange. Will probably have to paint it in the end, which is too bad. Looking back I would have done this different, maybe made the whole frame and welded it and then covered it in clay. Instead I just covered individual pieces of the frame and then put them together using clay. Not as cool! For the moment I have a piece of foil serving as the fabric but it will be polymer clay in the end. I want it to have an impression of the alien's bottom in it so I am waiting till he is all backed.




And here are some shots of the head, the only piece of the alien that is done. The "before" head is basically aluminum foil core, covered in gray clay with two pre-baked black eyes pressed in. Not very impressive.




The "after" head has features like the added cheek bones, back of head, brow ridges, eye lids, nose and mouth. I follow the basic theory described by Katherine Dewey's book but from past experience I know that I need to bake the piece after each feature is added or I squash all my hard work while working on the next features.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Lando's Deal

How is it I have never seen this before? This hilarious :)


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Why do we need to care about Palin's palms???

I am sad and angry about the state of discourse in this country. Sarah Palin, a woman clearly unqualified for any political office, continues to appear on the national stage leading to discussions like these:



I adore Stephanie Miller and listen to her show every day. I also love Ron Reagan and am sad that with the bankruptcy of Air America he is no longer on the air. But what makes me so angry is that while there are real concerns with some policies of the Obama administration and legislature in Congress, we spend our time discussing whether or not Sarah Palin wrote notes on her hand before an interview or that Obama "doesn't go to the bathroom without a teleprompter." How is this of any importance? What difference does it make? It's not news, it's entertainment. And I am entertained but not informed by this. Grumble...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Top 6 Superbowl Ads of 2010

I do not watch the Superbowl, not even for the ads. But I did look through this year's best and worst, and here are my picks for best commercials:

#6 - Cars.com



#5 - Motorola ft. Meagan Fox



#4 - Bridgestone ft. Killer Whale



#3 - Dove



#2 - Audi ft. Green Police




And the top spot goes to the coolest, sweetest and most well timed/executed commercial - Google. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Cat

On November 9th we lost our cat, Sophie. We are not sure what got her, but it appears to have been an animal (or large bird) of some sort. Then I had my detour into the Land of Frayed Nerves so a new cat seemed out of the question. But the house felt empty somehow and so we have acquired a new terror cat. As yet nameless, this homicidal jungle cat ball of fur spent her entire life (8 months) in the shelter. We were told she was mean to people, didn't like to be held, but was alright around other cats. Nothing could be further from the truth. No-name cat, or Good Grief as Husband likes to call her, is just a bundle of love. If you don't pick her up every so often, she will try to climb up your leg to be held. She is fascinated by water and will join you in the shower (or on the toilet, or when you wash dishes, or when you brush your teeth, or water your plants...), is scared of noises (such as the heater, the dishwasher, the washing machine, the dryer, the vacuum, the creaking chair, you breathing...) and does not appreciate other cats at all. She has the weirdest coloration (dilute long haired calico). Here are some pictures to get you acquainted. Some names being considered at the moment: Dharma and Dasha.


Feed the Fish Widget

I have added a little "feed the fish" widget to my blog but since I don't publish to blogger but an ftp (whatever that means) layouts and widgets and everything fun is extremely limited and complicated. Thus I don't know how to add the instructions that you should just click anywhere within the widget and you leave blue particles of food, which the fish will gobble up. It's cute (I think) and a total waste of time. Enjoy!!!

On a similar note - I may be moving this blog to blogger so I can have a run at the cooler templates and layouts and if I am really ambitious, I will create my own and even my own website. But I've been saying that for some time and nothing happens... I'll keep you posted.

Egg Holders

When we lived in Russia, we used to have egg holders that included a saucer in their design, excellent for discarding egg shells and resting the spoon. When we moved to the States my mom decided not bring them, figuring that such an obvious thing would be easily purchased here. Ha! More than 10 years later she still hadn't found such a design, and so for Xmas I decided to get her some. After much searching I found several sites, most of them in the UK (and some antique shops) that sold these egg holders, but they were going for about $20 a piece. Then I found an outlet that sold plain white ones for just $2 each. Suspicious, I ordered 6 of them. What arrived was bisque, which is clay fired once (so it is solid and will not crumble) but not glazed (so it is porous and can't be used for anything much. I am very familiar with bisque because I used to work at a 'paint your own pottery' studio all through high school and college, but sadly, the nearest such place was quiet far. Still, I could disappoint my mom! So over Xmas vacation, Husband and I headed to this studio and painted mom's egg holders. Here they are before and after baking:



I should mention that it took a ridiculously long time for the studio to get it's act together and ship these guys, so mom just got them yesterday. She seems to like them.

PS: there is one mistake in color coordination here, an you located it?
PPS: the colors on the underside of each dish match the color in the egg whole. It's all very symmetric.

Lab Humor

I got a hold of a camera today so it will be a day of many posts to make up for my recent hiatus. As some of you may remember I work in a lab as a technician. Basically I do data collection and minds more educated than me do the analysis. We are in essence a molecular evolution (systematics, phylogenetics and population genetics of bacteria) lab. It is great fun and I love it. This semester I got off my lazy tuchas and am taking a course that will hopefully expand my understanding of data analysis performed in my lab, which in turn may lead to me being more involved in some of it. In the meantime, there other things to keep me entertained:

I constructed this little guy on a whim and left him in our lab just before Xmas. The next day he was gone but reappeared in another part of the building. For weeks he continued to mysteriously travel around the complex we are in, until I finally returned him to our lab.

I can't take credit for this one, but it cracks me up every time I walk by:





Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Donating to Haiti Relief Efforts

CNN has a really nice donation page in response to the earthquake in Haiti. You can find it here. From experience, I know that Doctors without Borders takes location specific donations (at least in theory). This page breaks charities down by the type of help they offer.