Wednesday, October 31, 2007
This is a true story, not something I drummed up for Halloween promotions. I have not talked about this with anyone since it happened. I'm not asking you to draw any conclusions from the story, just take it as I tell it.
My grandmother (my dad's mom) died in April of 1987. Which made me all of 11 years old. The summer after she died, my dad and his brothers (three of them) all spent some time at her house going through her estate and distributing things, cleaning up, etc. It was a small house, just 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, kitchen, living room, and utility room. She had one of those old, 60s era couches that was kind of pale green and slippery. Like it was made from polyester or something.
So during one of these cleaning and sorting sessions, I was playing in the hall or the bedroom or something in the back of the house. My dad and his youngest brother were in the kitchen eating or talking or sorting or something. I was suddenly unable to walk. I don't know how, I don't know why, but for some reason I couldn't feel anything below my waist. I couldn't walk, I couldn't even crawl. I couldn't move my legs. I couldn't even move my waist to twist around.
I may have already been on the floor, I'm not sure, but that's where I remember being when I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to walk anymore. I pulled myself into the living room (about 10 or 15 feet away) and tried to climb onto the couch using just my arms. I wasn't strong enough to pull myself up, so I yelled to my dad for help.
He and my uncle came running out to see why I screamed. Dad lifted me onto the couch and my uncle called for the rescue squad. I got even more scared as I realized this was serious enough to call for help and was terrified I'd never walk or run or play outside again.
Somehow, someway, I was able to regain control of my legs while my uncle was still on the phone. I distinctly remember him calling, asking for help, my dad seeing I could move my legs, and my uncle telling them never mind, everything was fine.
I don't know why I couldn't use my legs or why I was able to again. I don't know if my dad or uncle remember this, I've never talked to them about it. Sometimes I think this was all a dream. Everything happened quickly. But everything was very vivid. If it was a dream, it's one I remember better than any other I've had. And I do remember some of those weird ones more than others, but I think this is an actual memory.
So, that's my scary story. With a little insight into my childhood.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
On a side note, if you want to feel stupid in a few seconds (or minutes if you read slow), read this:
"Center for Biologically Inspired Materials and Materials Systems, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science"
Umm, yeah. I know what those words mean, just not when you put them together.
In other news, I've accomplished the following recently:
2. I have consumed 6 salads in the last 3 days. Sunday's dinner was taco salad. Monday's lunch was taco salad and regular salad. Monday's dinner was taco salad. Today's lunch was taco salad and regular salad. I think that's enough salad for a bit. Give my tummy a rest.
3. I've exercised 5 times in the past 9 days. Nothing too extreme, but enough to work up a mild sweat. Last week I walked 3 days. The last day of walking was too cold to go outside in shorts, so I walked on the treadmill and lifted a few weights. Yesterday and today I've repeated the process of walking and a little weightlifting. Too bad Yvonne is too congested to smell my new body spray, "sweaty old man."
4. I've paid the bills for this month. Oh, crap. Next month starts in 2 days. Oh well. Sounded good, didn't it?
5. I'm really enjoying The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller. It's good enough to entertain me while I'm walking on the treadmill. I have high hopes for the rest of the series. I know, that really wasn't an accomplishment, but 5 is such a nice, round number.
Finally, I'm working on my Christmas list (Yvonne's working on hers too). So far the only thing on mine is The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie. I might add The Sunrise Lands by S. M. Stirling, but I'm trying to avoid hardback books (thus my not buying the most recent Star Wars book - gasp! - I know, what a shocker!).
Monday, October 29, 2007
So, here's a little back story behind the recipe. My mother-in-law made some wonderful salsa and I enjoyed it nearly every night I was there during our last visit. She got the recipe from the neighbor across the street (who's daughter was our maid of honor). Well, it's not a precise recipe, but I'll give you the low-down on what you need.
10 to 12 beef steak tomatoes
5 to 7 garlic cloves
1 medium onion
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 pablano pepper
5 to 7 jalapeno peppers
5 sprigs parsley
6 leaves cilantro
1 sprig oregano
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
Utensils and Tools
1 sharp knife
1 large mixing bowl
1 cutting board
1 food processor
1 large spoon
Now, a few disclaimers up front.
1. This is a rough guess at the ingredient amounts. I didn't measure much of anything, just used what I had on hand.
2. This makes a HUGE amount of salsa. Expect to freeze a portion or feed a crowd.
3. This is geared for those with weaker tongues like me. It isn't very hot.
On with the mixing! I took the above ingredients and cut them as small as I could. The cilantro was minced pretty good. Everything else was cut into small pieces. The tomatoes were hard to cut small, so I left them in slightly larger chunks.
As the disclaimer said, this makes a lot of salsa. I used a large mixing bowl to dump my cuttings into. A quart is too small, so think 3 or 4 quarts. All of the ingredients are fresh, so expect to get a little messy. I used our large cutting board and had plenty of room.
So, the garlic gets pressed. The onion gets peeled and cut. The bell peppers (you can use any variety, green, red, yellow, your choice) were sliced, but I removed all the seeds and white innards first. For the jalapeno, I just cut it up and didn't bother trying to de-seed it. Parsley, oregano, and cilantro were coarsely to finely minced. Careful with the cilantro, it'll kill your salsa if you put too much in (like I did with my first batch). Salt and sugar just get dumped in.
Now, the tomatoes. I used romas in my first batch (that was so bad I couldn't eat it). They were not as watery inside and much firmer to use. But they're smaller. Like half to a quarter the size of a beef steak tomato. The beef steaks worked fine, but there's a catch when you cut them up. The first two, I just diced into large chunks, seeds, juice, and all. Well, I noticed how much water was going into the salsa, so I changed technique for the rest. I sliced the top and bottom off. Then I stuck my finger inside the little hole-area (where you see the seeds) and squeezed everything out. But be careful. It's easy to created a positive pressure zone inside the tomato. In other words, it'll squirt all over you and the counter if you're not careful.
Once I cut everything up as much as I could, I used the mixing bowl to toss the ingredients. This helps mix it up a bit. Then I scooped portions into the food processor. This will need to be done in stages as there is so much to process. I used the lowest Low setting (I think it was Grind or something) to cut everything up. I would spin it a few seconds and stop to push it back down then spin again. Then I'd empty it out into my dish.
In all, I made about a quart or two of salsa. I eased off the cilantro this time and had a lot more tomatoes. So batch #2 (this batch) was actually edible. You can use different peppers or add more if you want. It's up to you how hot you want it. I froze about a quart and still have plenty in the fridge to enjoy.
Oh, and don't forget to empty the trash when you're done. Don't want the house to smell like peppers all week!
Moving on to last night, Yvonne and I were watching Cars around 10 when I heard this weird sound in the hallway. At first it sounded like Henry scratching at the carpet or a mouse scratching at the wall. I turned and looked down the hallway and what do I see? Elizabeth laying on the floor. Watching the movie. I do have to give her credit, she was there and I didn't know it. And she comes by her sneakiness honestly (or genetically at least) as Yvonne and I have been known to sneak around a bit ourselves as kids. I used to stuff t-shirts under my door so the light wouldn't show as I stayed up way later than my bedtime to read books. I can't say what Yvonne did as her parents still don't know.
And we heard some sort of creak or pop last night just as we got into bed. Yvonne wanted me to check it out but I said it was just the house making noise. And she was better equipped to investigate a potential intruder. All she would need to do is give them a hug and the Vicks on her chest would knock him out. Don't you want to get with this?
And what else happened. I took Elizabeth to swim class while Yvonne went to the doctor for some meds. Then we all went home, ate lunch, and went to town to shop. Got some groceries, some books (Elizabeth had somehow saved $14 and bought 3 books - and still had money left over), and a few other goodies. Sunday was spent doing laundry and watching the Steelers beat the Bengals. I only watched the first quarter of the Redskins game and got too depressed that the Patriots were winning again.
And I made some home-made salsa (I'll post that later today) and generally tried to keep the house running as Yvonne tried to rest. I did take apart the kitchen faucet last night. It looks like it might be a bad sprayer connection (under the main faucet) so I'll see what I can find at Lowes.
Chocolate making went well Friday night. Again I impressed Yvonne's lady-friends. For those that are not familiar with our particular arrangement at home, I'm usually the one that does the dishes and we both share laundry duty. So when I asked Yvonne if she wanted me to do the dishes or a load of laundry Friday night, there was a bit of ohhing and ahhing. It's nothing special to me. I grew up helping Dad do dishes and laundry (see, only children aren't spoiled). And honestly, I can do dishes faster than Yvonne. But she can cook a hell of a lot better than I can. So I have dinner waiting for me when I get home and I clean up afterwords. It's a good deal in my book. So all you single guys out there looking for a nice lady, make sure you offer to do the dishes on occasion. You might make some brownie points.
But don't offer to do the laundry just yet. She might not want you to see her dirty underwear.
Blah, well that was longer than intended. So stay tuned for my salsa story later today. It's pretty hot!
Friday, October 26, 2007
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Another very short chapter, this one showing Kvothe learning the mental skill of Alar. Essentially this is a way to make yourself split your thoughts into two different areas of your brain so you can concentrate on two different ideas at the same time. Sounds simple enough, but it appears to be a bit more complicated.
--Read more about the detailed analysis here--
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
When deaf people speak, they use their hands. So when they go to the dentist, can they speak more clearly when asked a question?
This is what went through my head today as I sat in the dentist chair for my 6 month check-up. Everything went fine, no cavities, just plenty of clean teeth. Well, not plenty, I think I actually have 2 fewer than the average person because my teeth are so large and my jaw is so small.
Rambling on, after the dentist this morning, I browsed through the newest Target in the area, just a few lights from work. And what do I see on the shelf? These:
I couldn't believe it. All those memories of cutting the backs off to save the files, playing with (and losing) the weapons, and making all my own sound effects came rushing back. I'm sure Mom remembers those sounds.....
Rambling on, William got up at 0430 this morning. I wasn't too happy, but, he had a full 6 ounces and didn't scream his bloody head off when I tried to burp him. He also seems to be burping less, which I'm taking as a sign he's growing. And from what we've seen, he'll be rolling over soon. And yes Mom, I can actually see that he's grown.
I'm reading three books right now. Well, technically I'm re-reading one (The Name Of The Wind), but two new books is still a chore for me. I'm just getting to the good part in Meeting At Corvallis. The big battle is brewing and I can't wait to see what happens (even though I know a main character is going to die - ruined that my own dumb self). The other book is The Innocent Mage. It's a bit different in writing style than I'm used to (like spelling, grammar, dialect, etc.), but I'm getting used to it. Not as bad as Shakespeare, but not as easy as P.D. Eastman (kudos if you remember him).
And my final ramble, I can't really think of one right now. So here's the closest thing I could find for a ramble.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
|From Play House|
And here's the latest video of Elizabeth reading a spooky, scary Halloween story.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Anyway, here's the weekend report. I didn't get to accomplish everything on my list (which consisted of emptying the gas can into my car and raking leaves). But I did get the leaves raked. Well, some for them anyway. There's a statewide burn ban, so I couldn't do anything with them except put them in a box and leave in the back by the shed. Elizabeth also got a surprise from one of Yvonne's friends. A new playhouse! She was so excited when we got home from getting groceries, she made me run outside and put it together. What a nut.
And of course there was the standard grocery run to Wal-Mart. Yuck. But I did pick up a new Fiskars rake at Lowe's. It has a small head to get in between plants in the flower bed. Works great.
And the Steelers lost Sunday night. El Sucko. And we discovered that something is leaking under the sink. Major El Sucko. And a good friend found out he may be out of a job in two weeks. Colonel El Sucko.
But, the good news on my end....Saturday evening. It was one of those things that you experience that is so hard to describe. I was actually nearly brought to tears. The sky was clear except for a few puffy, white clouds. It was such a vibrant blue it almost hurt to look at. The leaves on the trees were turning shades of brown and orange and red. Some were lightly falling in the breeze like snowflakes. The breeze was gently blowing making those leaves still holding on rustle about.
Anyway, it was nice. I just wish I could bottle it up and keep it like that so I could sit on the porch everyday and read.
So what the heck does Parkman's dad know? Oh, he's evil. Locking them in the dream room. And what's up with the new girl chasing Peter? And I do like the new girl who learns things from TV. She's much better than the teenage boy who flys. Not very original there. And I miss DL. Can't beat walking through walls!
School is progressing along at the moment. Chuck is still a good show, I just wish I could watch it more. CSI is going south. Miami is boring watching Horatio's son. Vegas is boring with Sara on swing shift. Only New York is interesting with the 333 caller. NCIS started good, but I'm not sure where it will end up. I tried to make some salsa (with the help of my mother-in-law's recipe) and ended up making something with way too much cilantro and way too little tomatoes. Hopefully the next batch will be better. I'd really like to buy a pick-up or SUV. I've decided (awhile ago) that any car we buy will be used. After two sets of brand new cars, I've learned that they do nothing but lose value. Not a good use of your money when you're still paying for it. I'd like to get something that takes E85, despite the fact that there are no E85 stations around here.
Well, that's all for now. I still have Heroes and CSI Miami to watch and some more of A Meeting at Corvallis to read.
Here he is with the "in-laws" (my grandfather is in the back row, far right - Uncle Red is in the front on the far left).
Friday, October 19, 2007
Then we have one of my English class journal entries from April 2, 1993 (that would be my junior year in High School):
Don't laugh too much, there's much worse in my collection.
In more positive, local news, Colonial Beach has a candidate for office that's 18 years old. I wish I lived there just so I could vote for her. Her competition is 54, 54, and 53.
And in personal news, I was able to accomplish a bit more than expected yesterday. I got my haircut before meeting Dad for breakfast. And I was able to pickup Elizabeth and William and go to the local McDonald's for dinner without a major disaster (and considering I didn't have a diaper bag with spare diapers, that's pretty risky). And William was able to sleep until 0330 this morning. I changed him but did not feed him and actually got him to go back to sleep. He woke up again at 0430, but I again got him to go back to sleep. When he woke up at 0530, I gave up and fed him. It was time to get up anyway.
And in the spirit of sharing and the upcoming holiday, check out Paul's comic today for some interesting decorations.
And I'll look for an interesting photo or newspaper article to post later today.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Source: Custer County Chief, March 12, 1964
In other news, I went to bed early last night in an attempt to catch up on some sleep. In fact, I think Yvonne and I were both asleep before Elizabeth. That little turkey has a tendency to lay in bed and play and talk and bounce around.
And I'll be leaving work early today (in about an hour) to pick up Elizabeth and William while Yvonne does her work thing tonight. I think we'll be dining out at McDonalds to keep things easy.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Well, in my most recent stack, I found a handwritten copy of The Death of Floyd Collins. Having never heard of Floyd Collins or his death, I assumed he was a relative. After a little research, I don't think he is. Here's his Wiki page. And here's a sample MP3 of the song (which is what I found). Not sure why there's a copy of the lyrics.
I also have some newspaper clippings that aren't too exciting. The second-most interesting find in this stack was the collection of articles from 1938 that talk about each state. And each article has a pattern that can be used for embroidery. Makes me think of my grandmother's hand sewn dish towels for every day of the week.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
So, here's a picture I couldn't resist posting. It gives just a hint of how much fun they had together.
Last week we saw Micah's family now includes Ohura. And Sulu was killed. Is this show turning out to be a Star Trek reunion? Will Spock be next to show or Kirk? Too bad it won't be Scotty. But I like his cousin, the girl that learns things from TV.
The flying kid, not too hot about him.
The Spanish brother and sister, I'm actually kind of glad they picked up Sylar (or is it Gabriel now?). I'm hoping he kills them. Just not too interested in them. But what's up with the roaches?
Parkman and the Nathan? Now that's an interesting story. Who is the mother protecting? Will Parkman's dad really be evil? What about Bob? Haha, I made a joke and didn't even realize it.
And this has to be one of the weirdest comics from them yet.
Now, on to Lyle Lovett. Today's paper had an article about him buying back his family's farm. Lyle, if you're out there, I'd like to buy my family's farm before it's sold. If you can cover $250,000 (half of the farm's value), I'm sure I can squeeze the rest out of the family.
Monday, October 15, 2007
We have a lot of pine needles in the back yard and they're a pain to gather up. The leaf blower doesn't do well blowing them or sucking them, so I used old-fashioned elbow grease and a rake. In all I burned up quite a bit of scrap wood (only a few 2x4 scraps left), logs, and brush. We have several stacks of each around the back yard, so I was happy to make a few of them smaller.
From May 2007
I also got the yard tools ready for winter. That means the shovels, rakes, and hoes got cleaned and oiled. The axes (all four) and the ditch axe got cleaned, sharpened, and oiled. The weed eater and leaf blower were cleaned. About the only I didn't clean was the deck of the mower.
And I raked the leaves from the front yard and sucked them up with the leaf blower. And I trim and cut the grass. And I cleaned up where we poured our small pad by the shed. And I put all of Elizabeth's toys in the totes and more stuff from the porches in the small shed.
All in all, pretty busy. And that was BEFORE my shower.
After my shower, we ate dinner (Yvonne, Elizabeth, Monica, and myself). Then Monica was nice enough to babysit William and Elizabeth while Yvonne and I went on a "date."
So we drove to one of the local farms and walked around. I had not been there since I was a kid and it has grown immensely. From a rope swing in the barn to a maize maze and pedal tractors. We walked the maize maze (in the dark) and had fun. It was easier than we thought once we got out, but we got lost pretty quickly.
Then we headed to Applebees for dessert which turned out to be a bit of a downer. The service was slow and 3 of the 5 desserts had nuts. So I had nachos instead.
Friday, October 12, 2007
In other news, I'm thinking of (and have already started) reducing my internet footprint. It's hard and time consuming to keep traveling back and forth across the inter-web to make my presence known. And clearly my presence isn't that well known, so it shouldn't affect that many people.
I've been pondering this for some time and even tried to move my site to Google's Page Create system, but alas, it couldn't handle the sheer magnitude of my crap. So I gave up. Well, Paul said he deleted his MySpace page and I was a copy-cat and did the same thing (I never used it anyway). And I deleted one of my defunct blogs (about the Virginia SOL) that nobody has viewed in months.
And now I'm starting to think Blogger is the place to be. Thus the new links and page elements on the side.
<------------ Over there.
And the video? How about some bagpipes to wake you up on a Friday afternoon.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I just feel wordy.
So, we have some new photos from our trip to Edinboro this past weekend. And, as a bonus, we have three new videos from the trip as well.
And all I have left is to simply say that my wife is the best wife out there. I'm glad she agreed to marry me despite all my faults.
Chapter 9 – Riding in the Wagon with Ben
Kvothe and Abenthy, or Ben for short, quickly become friends. Kvothe is the student of sorts while Ben is the master (minor Star Wars reference for those that missed it). Ben begins to tell Kvothe stories and at the same time prepares him, indirectly, for the University. Not to sorry, Kvothe will get to the University eventually, just be patient. Ben also explains a bit about sympathy, essentially that it would be the “magic” that arcanists perform.--Read more about the detailed analysis here--
We (I'm using that term loosely as I don't remember who was with me) were riding motorcycles and stopped for a break at a gas station. We saw Eddie Murphy in the crowd and I approached him and asked if he would meet my grandmother (my mom's mom, Grandma Dorothy). I started to cry as I introduced them, trying to explain how important she was to me. Then he started to cry.
Then somehow we jumped to a murder-mystery movie. One that we were in. Not acting in, but living in I guess. Well, we discovered the culprit was none other than Angela Landsbury who was hiding in the bottom of the closet in a secret room behind a special mirror.
As for the rest of my dream, well, I'm not sharing that. Just call me selfish.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
If you're not looking for photos, or still want to know what I did this weekend, then READ ON!!!
Friday we (meaning Yvonne, Elizabeth, William, Henry, and I) got loaded into Dad's new Suburban (or "burban" as Elizabeth calls it) and headed north. Everyone traveled well in the car. We stopped to feed William once and of course took several bathroom breaks. We arrived in Pittsburgh (have you noticed that I love Google?) around 3 in the afternoon and unloaded. And unloaded. And unloaded. I never thought a Suburban could hold that much. I gave up and told Yvonne she had to finish the rest of it since she loaded it the night before and I was dripping in sweat (temps were in the 90s the whole weekend).
Once the magical bag of holding was emptied, we relaxed and had dinner. Saturday was another early day out the door as we loaded up (not as much this time) for the short trip to Edinboro. We met Dave (my old roommate), Jenn (a good friend), her sister Heather, and Jeff and Lindsay (both friends) and their two kids. In all we had 7 EUP graduates. Not too shabby. After parking and visiting, we headed out to find a spot to watch the parade. We got a good spot in the shade and even had some chairs provided. The parade was shorter and later in the day than we remember, but it was still fun.
From there we stopped at the campus bookstore, bought some goodies, picked up lunch, and headed to the lake for a picnic. After enjoying our food (and seeing an alarming number of naked toddlers playing in the water and sand), we took the kids to the playground (which I remember playing on when I was a kid. Well, when I was in college acting like a kid.
Then we stopped at my mom's house for dinner. Elizabeth got to see some cows and play the piano. Mom was also nice enough to pass along a rare family heirloom. Volume 5 of John Newton's Letters and Sermons, with a Review of Ecclesiastical History and Hymns (circa 1796). Turns out this guy wrote Amazing Grace. It's missing the front and back cover, but is in great shape considering its age.
Then we headed back to Yvonne's parent's place. Sunday was an easy day with no traveling. Yvonne's cousins, aunts, and neighbors came to visit and to see William. Easy enough for me as I got to say hi and be left alone. And I got to watch the Steelers beat the Seahawks on a huge flat screen.
Monday we loaded up again (gotta love that magical bag of holding) and headed south to our place. Got in around 3 or 4 safe and sound. Overall, not a bad trip, just a ton of laundry to do and chores to catch up on. And it was reasonably cheap as there was a gas station in Pittsburgh that had E-85 gas for about $2.39 a gallon. Which means I could fill up a rather large SUV for under $50. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
So, what did you do this weekend?
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
While Rothfuss starts writing in the first person in the previous chapter, he continues full-bore in this one. Many have said how hard it is to write from this perspective and how nobody can get away with writing anything worthwhile with this method. Rothfuss proves them wrong in this chapter as he flings “I,” “our,” and “my” as if Kvothe is talking to you. And that’s the greatest thing Rothfuss does; he invites the reader into the Waystone Inn with Kvothe’s story as if you belong there, inside the story. It goes from writing to artwork.
As to the story being told, we learn Kvothe is of the Edema Ruh. The Edema Ruh are akin to gypsies that travel around in their fancy wagons and entertain people. Kvothe’s father runs the troupe and we learn where Kvothe learned to use words as weapons, though subtle ones. Much like today’s gypsies, the Ruh are not well-liked and are seen as, well, the chapter’s title gives you an idea. This particular troupe is under the sponsorship, protection, and direction (of a sort) by a Baron Greyfallow.
Besides Kvothe’s father, we also meet Trip (a fellow Ruh and a juggler with a dry wit) and Abenthy (an arcanist who becomes a bigger character later). Arcanists in this world are like magicians; loved by some, hated by others, and tolerated by most. We see a tidbit of Abenthy’s power as he actually calls upon the power of the wind by speaking its “true” name; something we’ll learn more about later.
--Read more about the detailed analysis here--