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Advent 2021 Day Six

6 December 2021 16:45

Got a little paradox here.

If 1980s Marty doesn't save 1880s Marty from the oncoming train, will the video of 1880s Marty's death disappear before 1980s Marty can profit from it as a mail-order snuff film? Also, at what point will the Libyans realize that the barrel of radioactive waste they ordered is simply a large jar of Bonne Maman Wild Blueberry-Balm leaves Spread?

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Advent 2021 Week One

5 December 2021 22:40

It's been a good week of Advent surprises so far. The jams have been delicious, as Bonne Maman products tend to do. The Back the Future III calendar, I'll admit isn't as satisfying to me as the hazard cleanup or pirate calendars, but it's cute that it has several backdrops from the movies. The downside I see is that the adventee's creativity is paramaterized by the prior art from which the calendar is derived.

Nevertheless, my husband and I have had fun excavating each tiny surprise every day and building on each little set. Here's what we've got from the 2nd through the 5th.

A lantern and a helmet, I believe this is from the Doc and Marty finding the buried time machine in 1955. And Apricot-Mango jam today, which is always a nice combination.

Copernicus has had it with this whole elderflower for immune support craze, so he sees fit to destroy day 3's cherry-elderflower spread with day 3's dynamite and explosives plunger.

Given the gravity of Dr. Brown's fate, I couldn't bring myself to worry about the Sweet-Orange Passionfruit spread being severely out of focus.

Day 5 was pretty meh. Just honey and the letter that Doc sends from the past. I like honey, but I find the inclusion of non-jam substances on a jam calendar to be somewhat questionable.

More pics in the advent gallery. More advent posts in the comming weeks!

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Advent 2021

1 December 2021 23:00

My husband, Patrick, and I have a tradition. Every year we get a Playmobil advent calendar and put it together. It's largely inspired by the annual video series put together by British YouTubers, Ashens and NerdCubed. The difference is that they make it a competition where the loser has to suffer the daily torment of something like an advent calendar full of bad cheese, and we just relive our youth putting together children's toys.

Last year, we did a Pirate-themed one. The year before, at the end of 2019, it was a fire rescue and cleanup operation, a chilling omen for the year to come.

This year we got something no more festive, but really piqued Patrick's interest when I brought it home. It is a Back to the Future III advent calendar. And since it includes some add-ons for the DeLorean, I picked up one of those too. And I had to get Patrick Marty's Truck, a vehicle he has coveted since he was a child, even more so than the DeLorean.

So we got all the little scenes set up and sat down to open our first day. Oh, yeah, and I also got the Bonne Maman calendar for myself. Add a little festivity to my English Muffins in the morning, why not?

So, what are we rewarded on our first day?

It's Copernicus! And some Fig-Cardamom spread.

Usually the way these things go is you get good days and bad days. There will be days you get something really awesome like the Doc's dog or Biff Tannen, or another one where you get like two hubcaps. I remember with the disaster Advent calendar, there was one day where we just got all the oil spills in a little bag.

Good or bad, I'll post our finds daily at the gallery, and digest them weekly or so here.

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First Spam

17 November 2021 07:45

Been a while since my last post. Hardly 10 posts in and I'm already taking hiatuses. Well, in short, we placed 2nd in a chilli contest and carved Gaston from Animal crossing in a pumpkin. Then I went to Austin very briefly and bought five bottles of a most elusive remedy, melatonin in jelly-bean form.

So upon reviewing this blog, I see that I have actually received my first spam comment! I have removed it from the site, but I'm keeping the comment file for posterity -- one for the scrapbook! Here's a pastebin of the comment text.

Ironincally, it's a spam comment advertising a spam commenting service. I've always wondered how those script kiddos get business. It's like the internet version of those "Does advertising work? JUST DID!" billboards littering the highways, advertising nothign but themselves.

I've been meaning to take out some cheap ads for DFW 8mm, maybe I should give the Russian spammers a chance.

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Gratitude: Creative Enablers

24 October 2021 09:09

I'm a creative person. Sometimes I feel like an artist who hasn't found his medium, so I use everything I do as a creative outlet. The way I talk to my friends, how I accomplish things at work, writing a blog that nobody reads but Chinese robots looking for outdated Wordpress installations to hack.

(Sorry, all static. But here's something for you.)

So today I want to express gratitude for the people in my life who embrace my quirks. My husband most of all, who married me in our apartment full of hobbies and diversions, in an 80s/90s themed ceremony officiated by my brother, who was ordained to do so by me.

But also, my family and friends, my boss, coworkers, the lady at the Build-A-Bear that one time who told me about the pizza scent, all the cool people I surround myself with who embrace my creative expression. Thank you for your critiques, reactions, and genuine, thoughtful compliments. Anything but a dismissive nod and smile is a blessing to me.

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No Time to Die, Brought to You by Nokia: a Review

23 October 2021 22:24

We decided on a whim to watch the latest James Bond adventure, and I have a few thoughts about the film. This review will contain no spoilers, at least not any very good ones.

First, and foremost, the martinis at the Richardson Alamo Draft House were on point. I gave my specifications and the bartender delivered to great effect. The execution on my libation preferences was the highlight of the whole experience. And they were very kind not to detract from that experience by only presenting the hefty price tag for a martini with Ford's gin at the tense climax of the film.

So the movie started with a flashback involving a man with a vz. 58 assault rifle fitted with a polymer magazine. Suspending my disbelief just as the bartender delicately suspended a lemon twist with no pith in my martini, I powered through the scene as the cruel filmmakers saw fit to sear the image of a starving Tamagatchi into our eyes.

Later, the sad lady from that last film shows up with a white Nokia 225 4G. She has trouble operating it because she's sad. Bond has better luck with it, but still opts to upgrade to the Nokia G300 with its triple-lens camera and OZO audio. He seems satisfied with it, and he can even send and receive MMS messages while on a phone call.

It is in this film that we learn that Bond is one of those people who uses speaker phone in inappropriate situations.

The movie had a happy ending.

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Starting a New Garden

23 October 2021 10:50

My husband and I are accomplished gardeners. Our old apartment in Austin had a large balcony that we absolutely filled with potted plants. We grew a few different kinds of mint, parsley, cilantro, all kinds of peppers, and different herbs that I would use for truly homemade herbal tea. We grew both Italian sweet basil and tulsi, or Indian holy basil. The bees that made the commute up to our third story balcony blessed us with a new hybrid between the two.

Our garden was so overactive that you could see it from the street, and currently persists in the promotional photos for the building.

A few green thumbs up there in 302

Our new place in Dallas has no balcony or yard, so we were unable to take our plants with us. They are in the care of various other residents at that building. I hope they're doing well.

What better opportunity to start anew? We signed up for a local community garden here in town. We got a 4x4 plot, well enough for a few good-size plants. We started with some okra seeds, because we just happened to have some when we toured the garden for the first time together.

Sproing! Okra coming up fast

We completely forgot about the seeds for a good few weeks. We had a couple of downpoors in the mean time, and by the time we got back to plant more things, we had a couple healthy-looking okra sprouts!

We gave the okra guys a ladder to climb and got to work with the rest of the plot. We selected a few things that we think would survive an October sowing in North Texas, divided the plot into nine segments, and planted seeds in the configuration recommended by the packet.

A chart of our sub-plots. The notebook is a Delfonics Rollbahn Mini

We planted a week ago and watered sporadically since then. I dropped by this morning to check on how things were doing. A few sprouts here and there, I'm most impressed by the arugula.

It's a VEGETABLE.

I shouldn't be suprised. Arugula is a weed. We'll have to watch it to make sure it doesn't take over the whole community garden.

I took a few extra moments to take in the rest of the place. It's a very beautiful, peaceful place. The garden is situated under a few highway overpasses, but situated such that all the plots get plenty of sun throughout the day. Both water and power run to the plot, so it's just about perfect for a community garden. There is considerable highway noise, but it's elevated and obstructed, so it filters down to the garden as nearly indistiguishable white noise. It's a great setting in which to meditate.

The other plots offer inspiration for things to plant, as well as general gardening tips. We have some very resourceful neighbors.

These plants drink better than I do!

Depleted wine and liquor bottles are used in place of Aqua globes, if the plot owner is unable to water for a certain interval of time.

Not particularly effective as fish fertilizer

These are cocktail stirrers from a nearby seafood bar and grill where the community has their happy hours. Here, they are used as plant markers.

Work smarter, not harder!

The water faucets are communal, installed on each row of plots. Here we have somebody who put a Y-valve on one, and installed a water timer on one of the outlets. Very clever, I'll consider a similar setup if watering becomes too much of a hassle or we go on vacation.

There are a couple of community-maintained plots, for pollination and herbs. It's a lot easier and cheaper to go down to the community garden when I need some parsley for a recipe than go to the store. It almost seems to taste better, too.

Little gnome tending to the community oregano

I was not alone in the garden this morning. A squirrel was darting up and down the tree in the middle of the garden and between all the planter boxes. He performed some impressive acrobatics. He was clearly busy with something.

I got low and crept behind him, camera at the level. It's hard to get a good shot of a squirrel who's moving with purpose. Frankly, I'm not satisfied with any of the shots I got of him. Here's about as close as I got:

Little furry earth-mover

It seems that he was hard at work harvesting nuts from the tree and burying them in the planter boxes. I guess I'll know the reaon why if one day our plot has an oak tree hanging out of it.

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Taiwan is a country

22 October 2021 16:08

And a really neat-looking one. I'd really like to go some day.

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Dog Balls for Human Ears

20 October 2021 10:30

So here's something, you can get prosthetic testes for your male dog after having him snipped. They're called Neuticles, and they appear to be more or less the same thing that human males get when they have to have a similar operation done.

I suppose I'm not against that, if it truly helps the dog. The worst outcome may be having to explain to somebody that, as a matter of fact, your dog is fixed, but you opted for him to receive an additional cosmetic procedure to boost his ego a little bit. I'm sure this kind of thing that comes up at dog parks a lot.

Neuticals has merch. You can get a Neuticles T-shirt, a Neuticles Frisbee, and regular old stuff like Neuticles earrings.

If I did drag, I could rock these. I would call myself "Testarossa Snips" and dance around the stage with a large pair of bolt cutters, lipsyncing to songs such as Whitney Houston's All the Man That I Need or Can't Take That Away by Mariah Carey. Maybe I could get my husband to dress up as a sexy version of Bob Barker.

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Tuesday Sockspiration

19 October 2021 08:38

I woke up this morning and stepped out to walk the dog, and I found that permeating the air was the unmistakable scent of chicken and waffles. Not a particularly unusual smell for the area in which we live -- an entertainment district in North Texas. However, I've never encountered that particular smell permeating the air in a wide, open area with such pungence. And at 8 in the morning. People around here start seeking spirit-sopping sustenance closer to 2.

It's not a bad scent by any means. Quite pleasant, even in the strange context in which I found it. So today, I let 8 A.M. chicken and waffle smell of unknown origin be my inspiration, and my sock theme. If anyone notices that I'm a little extra jovial today, let it be known that it's because this morning, I smelled chicken and waffles while my dog pooped.

Chicken and Waffle socks

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