Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thursday Threesome for May 31st

Welcome to this week's edition, brought to us by delicious finger food and The Back Porch.

Onesome: Pimentos-- in Olives? Useless decorative effect? ...or something you maybe enjoy? ...and is there something you can only stare at and wonder about at the snack bar?
I enjoy them, but I don't need them. Either way is fine with me.

Twosome: in -- Olives though? Who thought of that one? No, that's not your question ; rather, what combo of things do you put together in the food arena that's been know to strike others as a bit strange?
Well, most people consider my favorite pizza a bit strange. I love pizza with mushroom, olive, and pineapple as my topping.

Threesome: Olives-- on fingertips (preferably black olives!). What food do you "play" with when you're feeling a bit silly?
I used to do the olives on the fingers bit every time I had them until my fingers got too big. Now I just eat as many as I can .

Now I'm hungry. I think I'm glad it's almost dinner time.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thursday Threesome for May 24th

Welcome to this week's Thursday Threesome, brought to us by islands and The Back Porch.

Onesome: Somewhere--, anywhere? Vacation season is just ahead (sooner than later for some depending on school schedules); do you have any plans mapped out yet?
Yes. I leave tomorrow to use my credit at Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch that I didn't get to use last year when I got sick in September. And I'll be going to Niagara Falls over Labor Day. Think that's it for this year.

Twosome: beyond this week? How far ahead do you plan for your days off? ...or do they just show up and you enjoy whatever happens?
I generally plan them a ways in advance since my life seems to happen a ways in advance.

Threesome: the Sea-- Does that sound like the trip for you? Somewhere beyond the sea to an island for a week or two or twenty?
Absolutely! Where do I sign up?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

You Have Got to be Kidding Me

There is a bill in Congress to pay reperations to Guam for harm suffered during World War II. Don't believe me? Go look at this link.

Not let me see if I have this straight.

Japan invaded Guam.

The US fought to free Guam.

These events took place 60 years ago.

The US is considering paying Guam for the harm sufforded when they were invaded by Japan. Today.

I wish I were making this up. If it weren't true, it would be funny.

Now, I'm not saying the the people of Guam didn't suffer during World War II. But why should we, the liberator, pay them reperations? We did them no harm. In fact, we helped them. We gave them money and lives so they could be free.

Now I'll acknowledge they probably needed help after the war was over. But that was 60 years ago. Again, why are we paying for something that happened then, now?

This is why we are running the huge deficit we are. These kind of bills need to be laughed out of Congress. We don't have an unlimited check book. And if we keep making and passing these kind of bills, we won't be around as a country much longer.

It seems every year I am getting more and more fed up by the politians in Washington and Sacramento. I truly wish there was a good way to shake up the system.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

And Everything Else

Okay, enough bragging. What else have I been up to?

Well, have I got some more good news for you.

I used to collect buttons. I'd say my grandparents really started it because they'd brings them back for me as souviners from their vacations. I doubt I have any that are valuable, but they all mean something to me.

Well, I went to look for them after my last move, and they weren't were I thought they were. So I did a little looking around, but I couldn't find them. Ever since then, I've had the sick feeling they were lost.

Sunday, a sudden thought of where they could be popped into my head, so I went down to the garage to see if they were there. The majority weren't, but I did find a few of them. I didn't feel like giving up, however, so I started looking around the rest of the garage to see if I could find them.

And I did!

They were in a box on a shelf of what I thought were empty boxes. I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have them back.

And here's the funny thing. I finally gave in and started collecting the Disney trading pins that they are selling at the parks these days. I had resisted for son long since I knew I'd be tempted to spend lots more then I had on them. And guess what I've been right. Except for one thing. I found I already had two of them. Must have bought them when I went December of 2001. And I didn't give in then. So why am I giving in now?

Don't answer that!

In other news, Clint has his surgery yesterday, and they sent him home from the hospital today. Hope I know what I'm doing as far as taking care of him goes.

I didn't mention, but I got a bad sun burn on my face and the top of my head at the picnic Saturday. It's started peeling today, so it looks like I've got bad dandruff. Fun.

And Casey and I went to see Shrek 3 Saturday. I didn't think it was quite as good as the first two, but it was still pretty funny and worth seeing.

Monday, May 21, 2007

And the Winner is...

This weekend was the second annual employee picnic here at work. Like last year, they had softball, volleyball, kid's games, and food. They added a petting zoo, dunk tank (for the VP's and another couple volunteers. No, I wasn't one of them), and a pie baking contest.

As soon as that was announced, I knew I wanted to participate. The categories were best looking, best tasting, and best made entirely by a guy. I had to participate.

I debated a little, but quickly decided to make Joanne Fluke's Key Lime Pie. For one thing, it was the only pie I've made recently, so I knew I could do it. For another, as Bonnie and Angelique pointed out, it was a bit more exotic then normal, so it would stand out more.

So, after planning this for weeks, Friday was the day I actually planned to make the pie. I grabbed my recipe card and set off for the grocery store after work, only to discover that they didn't have any key limes! Fortunately, I looked around a little and discovered they had just moved them. Crisis #1 averted.

Making the pie went fine. Although it takes forever to juice those dang key limes. That was the hardest part of the recipe.

We had a youth activity Friday night that I planned to show up late for, so as soon as I took the pie out of the oven, I headed out the door. When Clint and I got back a couple hours later, I discovered that the meringue on top had slid some, leaving one area exposed. And it had hardened, so there was nothing I could do about it. I stuck it in the fridge and went to bed.

Saturday morning, I was feeling rather discouraged. But there was nothing I could do, so I took the pie and headed for work. When I got there, I discovered that someone else had made a key lime pie. And it was a guy. Some much for being unique. I had direct competition. That just made me feel worse.

When judging time actually came, I hung out at the booth and evasdropped on the judges. From what I could tell, they were seriously considering my pie, but decided to go with an apple pie. I was actually thrilled to settle for second place (not that I'd get a ribbon or anything).

Then they announced the winners. They did the guy category last. To my shock, they mentioned the apple as the runner up. And I won!

Of course, I was thrilled. Granted, I have to give credit to Joanne Fluke since I just followed her recipe. Guess the problems I thought I had weren't important after all.

There were 8 pies made by guys, so it was stiffer competition then I expected. And the person we thought would win didn't have time to do anything but throw things together at the last minute. Still, I am quite happy about this. Guess this means I need to bake more.

Clint would certainly agree.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thursday Threesome for May 17th

This week's edition is brought to us by the movies and The Back Porch.

Onesome: Alien-- movies and paranormal horror stuff: your cup of tea? ...or did Mary Poppins just about take you to the limits on films.
I enjoy so sci fi, but if it gets too weird, I don't enjoy it. I have a fascination with horror, but don't actually want it most of the time because it scares me too much. And I do love Mary Poppins.

Twosome: versus-- ...related to some of last week's answers: Do you ever go to the movies versus staying at home and waiting to rent them or see them on the tube?
I find that when I'm home and want to watch a movie, I tend to stick with something I've bought. Of course, I own so many, that's rather easy. So I don't rent. And I only buy movies I know I like. So odds are if I miss it in the theater I don't wind up seeing it. If something is coming on TV I wanted to see, I will often record it or watch it right then. But first choice is always the theater.

Threesome: Predator-- pricing at the theatres: how are the prices locally for you? Can you afford an evening show and popcorn? ...or is it a matinee with a bottle of water smuggled in?
Fortunately, I'm not much of a snack person, so I'm not even tempted by the food in the theater. But the ticket prices are outrageous! It's now over $10 for an evening ticket. So I do try to hit the matinee when possible. But that's only a buck or two cheaper. Gotta love living in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mostly Quiet. Calm Before the Storm?

After the excitment that was last week, this week has been relatively quiet.

My roommate abnd I went to another hospital Monday afternoon to try to get him into surgery sooner, but they told us we were wasting our time. The good part? They told us upfront, so we only spent about five minutes there. I had arranged to take the afternoon off, but I came back and worked another couple hours.

Other then that, he's doing as well as can be expected. He keeps taking his pain medicine. He's gone back to work for the majority of this week, and that seems to be going well. At least it did yesterday.

The surgery is scheduled for this coming Monday. Hopefully it goes as planned and we can get on to the business of healing him up.

In other news, Master's graduation was Friday night. I went as always. Got to see some extended family and some friends I hadn't expected to see. It was nice as always.

Saturday, we took the youth to a Dodger's game against the Reds. You know, I try. I really do. But I just can't get into it. Especially when I think about all the things I could have been doing with that time. And yes, my roommate went. He didn't realize where we'd be sitting and just about died when he saw all the stairs involved.

I also spent time catching up on TV from Monday and Tuesday nights. That's when I made a discovery. I hadn't taped 24 last Monday figuring I could watch it on-line. Well, Fox's system doesn't work with Windows Vista, which I now have at home. So I had to come into work to watch it Sunday afternoon. I almost didn't, assuming I'd be at the hospital with my roommate. When we got sent home so fast, I was really glad I had watched it. This season still isn't up to par, but I didn't want to miss an episode.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Word Association for May 13th

Watching the Survivor Reunion Show right now. But that won't stop me from doing the word association.

  1. Film :: Camera
  2. Dragon :: Fire
  3. Hunger :: Food
  4. Plucked :: Chicken
  5. Dissolving :: Solution
  6. Executive :: Suite
  7. Ridiculous:: Behavior
  8. Mist :: Cloud
  9. Minority :: Report (Again, a movie)
  10. Map :: Road

Friday, May 11, 2007

And Now the Bad News

In my cliffhanger post on Wednesday, I hinted at some bad news coming in the next post. Well, here you go.

Last week, I learned that my friend Debbie is moving to Arizona. I've tried forbidding her to go, but that just doesn't seem to work. I am really going to miss having her so close.

As I mentioned yesterday, I did go see Spider-man 3 over the weekend with Angelique, Casey, and Clint. Enjoyed it and the company. Afterward, Casey came over and we got the files off my old computer. That's not down in the garage. It's nice to have that behind me, although I wonder what I'm going to do about a printer now.

The biggest plot complication came Monday night. About 7, my new roommate called to tell me he'd be in an accident on his bicycle. He'd swerved to avoid a pedestrian and crashed. The pedal from his bike hit his calf and tore a large, deep gash in it, severing his Achilles tendon. The worst part is, he doesn't have insurance. Because of that, they sent us from the local hospital to the County hospital at USC for treatment. Eventually, they admitted him there, but that was after waiting all night. Then they dragged their feet, releasing him Wednesday with a surgary date set for the 21st.

Since then, he's done some more checking, and he's hoping to get surgary next week at a different hospital. We'll just have to see if it happens or not. But either way, this will mean more flexibility on my part since he'll need lots of help.

I like nice quiet weeks. Especially if this is the alternative.

Still, lots of people from church are jumping in to help. And my boss has been very understanding. I didn't get any sleep Monday night, and he let me off at noon to get some rest. I'm sure I could have taken the entire day off, but there was some stuff I needed to get done. And I've got Monday off if I need it.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thursday Threesome for May 10th

Welcome to today's Thursday Threesome, brought to us this week by Nintendo and The Back Porch.

Onesome: Super-- heroes and comic book characters? Have you seen "Spiderman 3" yet? Will you?
As a matter of fact, I have. I saw it Saturday. Not as good as the first, but I did enjoy it.

Twosome: Mario-- Brothers led one gaming revolution: are you a gamer? Online? ...or is this one of those things you just don't even notice?
I'm not a gamer. Super Mario Brothers was about the last game I really enjoyed. Most of the stuff that comes out today just doesn't interest me. Sports? Yawn. First person shooter? Bigger yawn. But I do love the old school games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Dig Dug, etc. Fortunately, I have a working Atari 2600 and Super Nintendo for my Tetris games.

Threesome: "Brothers-- in Arms"? Just listening to some old Dire Straits this evening: how about something new on your music radar you can share with the gang!
My new discovery is Jason Gray, who just released his first CD. I am absolutely loving it!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Fun in the Sun

That's what I had the last weekend of April.

Of couse, the first of it was fairly obvious. It was time once again for the LA Times Festival of Books down at UCLA. I love that weekend. Saturday, I met up with Angelique and we hung out all day bouncing from mystery store booth to mystery store booth meeting our favorites and catching up with them. We found at that Jerrilyn Farmer won't have her next Madeline Bean mystery until this time next year. Major bummer, but at least we now know when to expect it. I got the latest from Laura Levine. Saw Lee Goldberg and got to talk to him some about the last Diagnosis: Murder novel and where he'll take the series if he ever gets the chance.

And we went to a panel. This one features Jerrily Farmer, Susan Kandel, and Lisa Lutz. We had a blast listening to these three authors talk about humor in mysteries.

After church Sunday, I headed back down to try to catch another author. Chris Grabenstein was out from New Jersey, and I was able to get all three of his books signed. Found out that the next in his holiday series won't be as graphic, so I will probably give it a try. Then I got the poster for Joanne Fluke's Key Lime Pie Murder. I was going to stay until close to closing, but I was bored, so I decided to leave early.

As I was getting on the freeway, I realized that it was about time for the beach ultimate frisbee in Santa Monica to start. Hadn't planned to go, and I tried to talk myself out of it for a few blocks. But then I decided to go, so I turned around and headed back. Got to play for about an hour or so. I was dying by the time it was over, but it was lots of fun. My biggest frustration was that I threw the disc half way between players most of the time. Obviously, I need to get some practice on aiming again.

So that's all for now. Tune in again for my next life update for the next twists in the soap opera that is Mark's life.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Thursday Threesome for May 3rd

Welcome to this week's edition brought to us by a talent I don't have and The Back Porch.

Onesome: Innate-- talents? Do you have any you're willing to share? Maybe perfect pitch? ...or the ability to tie a cherry stem into a knot with your tongue? How about a "sense of direction"? Surely you can toss something out to the gang to to wonder about...
Is getting distracted at the drop of a hat a talent? Seriously, nothing springs to mind.

Twosome: Organizational-- style? "A place for everything and everything in its place"? ...or maybe, "the bills are somewhere in that stack" and the calendar still says "2006"? What's your system?
I know where everything is, but I'm will have to tell you how to find it.

Threesome: Skills-- How are you about power tools? ...and tools in general? Are you a user or do you call someone to assist?
Will I lose my guy status by admitting I don't even have any power tools? I can use tools, but I'm not super comfortable with it. Especially hammers. I just know I'm going to hit my hand.