Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I had a vacation. It was very nice, very relaxing. I got into a total groove of getting up for breakfast (woken up by my cell phone alarm), going to a morning meeting thing for an hour, killing time until lunch (reading, usually), eating lunch, napping, waking up, going swimming in the lake, eating dinner, sitting on the porch with a book or newspaper or computer until I had enough of an appetite for an ice cream cone, getting and eating an ice cream cone, and going to bed. Some variations: after dinner, usually there was some playing on the lawn with the kids; once there was kayaking before the swimming; two mornings I worked on a bowl (thrown on a wheel); there was a speaker on Monday night, the "Fund Fair" after lunch Weds., and the variety show thing Thursday. But really, there was mostly a lot of reading and sitting and eating. There were people (kids and adults) reading the new Harry Potter everywhere you looked. I finished it on Monday and thought it was very good. Anyway, if you'd like to see a few photos of my family enjoying the place, click here.

Now I'm back, and the katydids have started up. I hate them. I love hearing crickets, but the onetwothree scratchy katydid noise instantly makes me feel like it's oppressively humid out, even though it's currently about 70 and dry. The noise makes me feel anxious. I think it's a learned response to August heat, seasonal allergies, and the impending return to school. Of course, it could just be that katydids make a loud, annoying, and not-so-pretty noise.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I am back from California. Getting there I was delayed two hours due to weather, both ways. On the way out, the plane pulled out of the gate, stopped, and then stayed there for two hours while they played a free movie for us (Blades of Glory, seen it) and a thunderstorm slowly passed over us. On the way back, I had a stop in Pittsburgh, where my plane was stuck in St. Louis due to a tornado warning. They were two hours late. When it finally arrived, I was extremely dismayed to see it was a very tiny commuter plane, three seats across. It was an hour ride and fairly bumpy and scary, but I survived.

And California. Well, I didn't make it to the Kwik-E-Mart, but I did see Harry Potter at the Universal CityWalk. My ticket cost $11.50, but my seat was like a La-Z-Boy and the screen was dizzyingly big. I also found my way to Griffith Park to ride the mini train they have. I was under the impression it would be steam-powered, but instead it was diesel. I stayed at a Sheraton right next to the Hilton I usually stay at, which was uncharacteristically sold out. I discovered after I arrived that the hotels were filled with people there for a sex toy convention. Actually, the signs said "AVN [that's the organization that puts on the porn awards, that's all I know] Novelty Expo." It took me about a day to figure it out. What tipped me off: Sample bags, like the ones I pick up at Toy Fair, except these had the logos for various kinds of lube on them; a guy wearing a Doc Johnson embroidered polo shirt; me reading a few guests' Expo badges and seeing companies like "O'My Products"; and finally, two girls in push-up bras and super-tight tank tops with www.sweetarousals.com over their boobs. Then there was the motorcycle that had been airbrushed with a constellation of condoms, dildos, single-use lube packets -- I didn't look too long. The best thing about it was that the other people at the hotel, the ones not attending the Expo, were all families with young children. The Expo people were very discrete, mostly. When they chatted in the elevator with me, it was to weigh the pros and cons of using a certain Chinese manufacturer, and they could be talking about any product. And the special motorcycle only came out after dark.

Now I am home and trying to get prepared for a week vacation. I went to my garden after work today and did some triage on my huge tomato plants that had been blown over by the storm on Sunday. A neighbor got his car crushed by a tree, so I got off easy. I picked a bag of snow peas, a lot of basil (just trying to keep up with the flower buds), and my first eggplant. Now I am contemplating using my jet lag to my advantage and doing the midnight Harry Potter pick up. Hmm...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

So! Last Sunday I went to Coney Island with my sister, bro-in-law, my 3-year-plus-five-months old niece, and my 5-month-old nephew. It was hot and sunny and pretty much perfect beach weather. It was imperative that we go to Coney sometime this summer because major construction projects will begin at the end of the season, destroying the gritty, fun, anything-goes-and-everyone's-welcome feeling here. I took a bunch of photos and uploaded some of the best here.

Some highlights:

The carousel in the Wonder-Wheel-associated park (not Astroland) was playing awesome dance hits. While S and L were on it, they played "Freak Out."


Nearby, this traffic cone was having the ride of its life.


We spent a long time deciding if we wanted a swinging or stationary car on the Wonder Wheel. We are swingers at heart, though, and eventually we committed to a swinger car.


Here's a view of the aging kiddie park below the Wonder Wheel. Notice how incredibly crowded the beach is.


My niece was delighted. My sister was scared (note white-knuckled gripping action).


My nephew woke up right at the end of the ride.


A few more shots:




For more, including the best pirated Mickey item I've ever seen in the flesh, visit the album above.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dudes, I know. I KNOW. It's been a while. It's also been too hot and humid for me to think, let alone get up the gumption to upload my photos from my trip to Coney Island (from Sunday). I am way behind on other things, too, and it's not going to get any better; I have another trip to SoCal this upcoming Sunday-Thursday, and then I'm gone the whole week after that. I will have my computer, though, so that might motivate me to post. I have been Twittering, so I encourage you once again to get on that.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Hey! You need some new things, don't you? I mean seriously, just look at yourself. So get on down to Dandie in the Underworld, just behind Osaka, and buy some new things. Perhaps one of these necklaces would do the trick.


necklace pendants

Yes, I made them. Yes, they are only $10. Yes, the price is so low that it is hard to believe. But it is true.

Monday, July 02, 2007

In about three weeks I am probably going to southern California again on business. If I do, you'd better believe I'm going to visit the local Kwik-E-Mart.