Apr 30 2010

April 28th readings…

April 28th readings

              Tonight was project presentation night, and it was delightful. Everyone showed off their websites, and everyone did a fantastic job. It was fascinating to see everyone’s personality come out in their creations, and where their interests lie.

              This will be the last entry online for a few weeks; I am retooling and will probably change the purpose and direction of this site. But fear not- you can still access the funnies on the right, even if there isn’t anything new being posted. AND, as I alluded to before, there are some amazing changes in the works, and you will experience something wonderful soon, provided you know someone related to me who will have access to the cool stuff.

              So for now, I bid you adieu, as I go HTML-coding into the sunset….


Apr 30 2010

April 21st readings…

April 21st readings

              Number one son was in town this past weekend, and in addition to seeing ‘How to Train your Dragon,’ we went to a Nationals-Brewers game, courtesy of John Little and the bunch down at the AU Graduate History crib.

              The movie was cute, dealing with single parenting, father-son miscommunication, budding sexual awareness (is it sexual awareness if tweens start to notice that the opposite sex are, well, different? The whole feeling goofy around the opposite sex, blushing if kissed? That’s what I mean by saying budding sexual awareness- not that there’s any boinking going on; if I’m wrong, well then just substitute the phrase budding adolescence. I think ever since Roman Polanski left town, Hollywood has been unsure of how to deal with budding sexual awareness), failed expectations, and, let’s see…. oh yeah, and dragons.

              The game, on the other hand, was amazing. Basically, the Brewers scored ten goals in the first half of the first trimester, and the Nationals got nothing. But throughout the rest of the scrimmage, the Nationals managed to sink hoop after hoop, while holding the Brewers to no touchdowns quarter after quarter. There was no need for overtime, and at the end of the ninth quarter, the ten goals the Brewers scored in the first trimester decided the game. I don’t watch a lot of sports, but this smackdown was awesome.

              On Monday, we celebrated our anniversary by eating at Café Renaissance, the most romantic restaurant in Vienna- or Northern Virginia, for that matter. I highly recommend it, but reservations are a must.

              We had no class Wednesday, just lab to work on our final projects and ask HTML questions. Next week is the big project presentation night! Sadly, my tux was lost by the cleaners, so I probably will just be wearing jeans. How ick.

              Anyway, we’ll see you next week!


Apr 29 2010

April 14th readings…

April 14th readings

             I know all of the postings indicate we’re constantly partying, but nothing could be further from the truth- we’re really working hard. So it should come as no surprise that we like to cut loose from time to time, which is what we did the other night: we saw ‘Date Night,’ with Steve Carell and Tina Fey.

             It was a cute movie, about the same level of funniness as ‘Hot Tub Time Machine,’ but not as hysterically funny as ‘The Hangover’ or ‘Superbad’ (I so want to get a MCLOVIN license plate, but it’s probably taken already). And speaking of ‘Hot Tub Time Machine,’ when one of the characters wants to verify his theory that they’ve somehow traveled back in time, he asks the most off-the-wall question of someone and their answer INSTANTLY tells him what he wants to know. Don’t ask what the question is, just see the movie. However, be forewarned- a lot of the funny historical references will be lost on anyone younger than 40.

             You’ve probably noticed the changes to the theme of the site; in a couple of weeks the name will also change. After all, it will no longer be Spring 2010. But I promise you, there are going to be some really cool changes, as well as some exciting additions that you will only be able to access by knowing someone who already has access to the cool things that are going to be added. It sounds circular, but trust me, the changes are going to be the culmination of some ideas that I have had percolating in the back of my mind for years…


Apr 29 2010

April 7th readings…

April 7th readings

             After the former Miss Wisconsin read the previous week’s posting, she pointed out that I had neglected to mention one of the best places we visited before leaving the Appomattox Court House area, and that was Patrick Henry’s last home. I feel so ashamed.

              The Patrick Henry house that morning was just a beautiful experience; the weather was wonderful, the little tiny buds on the trees and shrubs were beginning to blossom, and we were the only ones there. After watching a short film, we were allowed to roam the grounds AND the house unescorted (which, if anyone who remembers the Toddles/White House Debacle of ’86 is well aware, is strictly a no-no; the staff still talk about the 52 cheese pizzas delivered by six of the scariest circus clowns they had ever seen, and it’s my understanding that they still haven’t been able to get the Yak urine smell out of the East Wing press conference room).

              But I was on my good behavior, and there was nothing bad that happened. And upon leaving Patrick Henry’s house, we drove through Farmville and so on.

              And the Appomattox Library was having a book sale, and I picked up all sorts of cool books for fifty cents apiece.

              Anyway, the week after the trip was spent getting caught up on everything at Casa Toddles. The fat cat that lives there seems to think that dirty socks are her prey, and when everyone is quietly working or watching television, she’ll come down the stairs with a sock in her mouth, yowling for her imaginary kittens to come eat what she has just ‘caught.’ One of these days I am going to tie a string to one of the socks so that when she pulls it a stuffed wolf is triggered into lunging at her, just to see what will happen; I just have to remember to set up a video camera to record the fun… and get a stuffed wolf from somewhere… and some string… never mind. Let her yowl. That sounds like too much work.

              Oh! And for all of you punks in my high school that said I would never amount to anything (and that includes YOU, Mrs. Pilgreen), I just received my perfect attendance certificate (suitable for framing) from that macramé class I was taking once a week at night at the Adult Community Center. So there!

              Okay, that’s all for now. Be sure to look both ways at intersections, even if the light is green.


Apr 6 2010

March 31st readings…

March 31st readings

             After this past evening’s class, the former Miss Wisconsin and I decided to get away for a few days, and, eschewing the Riviera this time around (evidently Brad and Angelina were going to be there, and we are so tired of running into media circuses whenever we try to get away), we settled on roaming around South Central Virginia.

             The weather certainly cooperated; whereas it had been rather poopy and wet during the first part of the week, Thursday through Sunday was absolutely glorious. Sunshine during the day, clear skies at night, cool temps 24/7 gave us the perfect environment for an outdoor adventure.

             We started off driving west on I-66, then veering left onto I-81, making our way southwest toward our first stop, Lexington, Virginia. Lexington is the home of Washington and Lee University, as well as the Virginia Military Institute. We visited the tomb of the Lee family and the grave of Stonewall Jackson, as well as the home of Jackson. Lexington is a quaint little college town, and the Washington and Lee campus is one of the prettiest I’ve seen.

             Our next stop was further down I-81, something called the Natural Bridge. The Natural Bridge is a huge geological marvel, a hole through solid rock formed by millions of years of gradual wear by a little creek (evolutionist view) or by God’s will (Religious Right view) or by a misfired phaser from the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) during an alternate parallel universe time-travel incident (how it really happened). Thomas Jefferson was so enamored of the formation that he bought it off of the British Lord who owned the land for twenty shillings, which very official looking plaques in different places told us was the equivalent of either $2.40 or $5.00 (maybe one plaque was from the Congressional Budget Office and the other was from the General Accounting Office).

Natural Bridge - cell phone photo

             Anyway, putting aside all of the above-mentioned jots and tittles, the place was gorgeous. But please be prepared for a little sticker shock: for the privilege of walking down to see it, you get to pay the current owners $18 (considerably more than the $2.40 or $5.00 that Tommy J paid for it). Was it worth it? Well, since we had the money, I’ll go ahead and say yes. If we hadn’t, I’d probably say a picture would be just as good. But I’d also be lying- if you do get the chance, go see it.

USS Enterprise - culprit in the creation of Natural Bridge


             And OH MY GOSH! I almost glossed over the most amazing thing we saw that afternoon, (besides the image below, which was located outside the entrance to the Natural Bridge, which can only be explained by the alternate parallel universe time-travel incident theory),

Proof of the alternate parallel universe time-travel incident

and that was FOAMHENGE, which is a local entrepreneur’s answer to Stonehenge. I kid you not, somebody actually arranged huge slabs of Styrofoam in an exact replica of Stonehenge, and you can see it right from the road. We were laughing too hard as we drove past to stop in time to get out and see it up close, or even take a picture from the car. The roads in this area get kinda hairpin curve-ish, and I didn’t want to take the chance of being run over by anyone.

             After leaving the Natural Bridge, we drove on down to where we were staying in Appomattox, the Longacre Bed & Breakfast. This was a delightful place to stay. It’s actually a large Tudor home in which the family lives in the back and the whole rest of the house is yours to play in. The family and the home reminded me of my childhood; the house was very similar to my best friend’s house and the woman running the place was the spitting image of my best friend’s sister. If you stay here, be prepared to be treated like family (and fed like family- you will not leave the table hungry). If you don’t appreciate family hospitality, stay in a hotel.

             The next day, we drove three miles to Appomattox Court House and visited the McLean House, the site of Grant’s surrender to -…no wait, I think it was Lee’s surrender to Grant…anyway, Appomattox Court House was the name of the community; if we were talking about a building, we would spell it courthouse. Use that little fact to amuse your friends (or drive them away). You know, now that I think about it, I’m almost positive that it was Lee who surrendered.

             From Appomattox Court House we drove over to the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia. I really don’t know what to say about this memorial. They do an odd thing with the commemorative plaques- there can be a plaque honoring General Omar Bradley, but then, at the bottom of the plaque, in the same sized font or larger, you have the name of the person who paid for the plaque. It seems odd (to me) to permanently connect the name of a rich stranger to an historical figure. Would they remove the plaque or sand off the name of the donor if it was discovered the donor was a [insert whatever is icky to you here]? Most other memorials have a separate wall somewhere listing the donors that made the memorial possible. I dunno; like I said before, it just struck me as odd, and as a result, detracted from the memorial.

             From Bedford, we drove about twenty minutes to experience the Peaks of Otter Winery. Now this little gem is run by a couple of (alleged) former moonshiners who decided that, since everyone else in Virginia is making wine out of grapes, they would make wine out of everything else. There is wine made from apples, peaches, pears, tomatoes (actually quite good), blueberries, raspberries, acai and pomegranate, and some kind of chili peppers (you get a little sticker that says ‘I kissed the devil’ if you taste it; we each got a sticker). There are almost twenty wines to taste, and, if you have your own glass, it’s free.

             So we bought a few bottles of their product, and then started our way back home. Along the way we drove through Farmville, which is the home of Longwood University. I had always wanted to visit Farmville (just because of the name), so we took this opportunity to do so. It was a nice little town, with great places to eat. If it had Verizon FiOS, it would be a perfect little place to visit for a short period of time.

             We then drove back westward to drive up through Charlottesville and back up 29 to come back home. Although we were closer to I-95 and could have driven back home that way, we chose not to; one thing I have learned living in Virginia all these years is that you never get on I-95 on a Saturday, unless it is at 4 am.

             We got back before dark, listened to all of the animals scold us for being gone so long (don’t worry, we didn’t abandon them- daughter #3, the med student, was home looking after them), then showered, popped open a bottle of pinot, and enjoyed a frozen pizza while watching Will & Grace. All in all, a delightful little journey.

             I do hope each of you, in your own way, was able to enjoy the outdoors this past week.

Ciao.


Apr 6 2010

Test embed

This is a test.

Earthrise - from NX-01

So anyway I thought I’d test a photo embed to see what would happen.


Apr 4 2010

This just in…

http://www.warehousecomic.com/comic/theWAREHOUSE_comic_258.jpg


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