Point Me

Monday, November 30, 2009

Battle of Triceratops Run

Why not take a trip to Virginia this year? After all Virginia is for lovers!

Lovers of Dinosaurs killin' Yankees, that is.

Velociraptors want the South to rise again!

I wish there were more alternate reality sculpture parks like this one in Natural Bridge, where Union soldiers learn the hard way not to try to harness the wild native dinosaurs as a weapon against the confederacy. War of Northern Aggression indeed...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I like to read the British Daily Mail for the occasionally ridiculous opinion pieces and their fixation on the royals. The other day I made the mistake of reading this article, about some adults getting together to re-record a song that their school choir made a number 1 hit in 1980.

The song is called "There's No One Quite Like Grandma". It extols the virtues of grandmas, such as being there for parties and Christmas, and the fact that they don't rush you. It was so popular that they got to sing it live on "Top of the Pops", which is a huge deal in the UK. These folks are re-recording it to raise money for the elderly, which is a very noble thing.

My big mistake, however, was actually listening to the song. I love my grandma and all, but it's been stuck in my head for ages.

I found the girl who sings the solo a little creepy, but Paul says; "Nah, she's just British."

Learning a New Skill

At work, I've been put in charge of creating graphic promotional e-mails. The framework we use to create these little newsletters reminds me a lot of livejournal. There are lots of templates you can fiddle around with, but it really, really helps to know a little HTML.

One of the girls I work with gave me a Hypertext study guide to reference while I'm fighting with the code. I really like this guide for two reasons. One, my personal helper on this formatting journey is a little cartoon pig in steel-toed boots and a denim jumpsuit. He has a sweet von dutch trucker hat, toolbelt, and a nametag that says "HTML" on it. He helps me out by equating everything to being an auto mechanic. Transparent GIFs? Why, that's just like a car overheating! Setting up a project folder is also basically identical to stacking some tires, why not.

The second reason I like the guide is that the sample website they use for examples is a very lame Lord of the Rings fan page. One screen cap reads as follows:

Aragorn - The King Returns

In Tolkien's epic fantasy The Lord of the Rings, Isildur's heir was Aragorn, in whose veins two or three thousand years worth of old Numenorean blood ran true. Wow!

It's too bad that mylordoftheringssite.com doesn't really exist, so you could see the terrible formatting (a picture right in the middle of a sentence? Whatever you say Mr. Pig.) and awkward assertions made by this super fan (AKA "lotrnut@hotmail.com") like - "Saruman was really the progressive of the two", and calling Gandalf "diabolical".

I tried to find a bad angelfire site that would be a good approximation. This is probably the closest I'm going to get.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Plants etc.

My dad works at Weston Nurseries in Hopkinton MA. He works selling beautiful gardens to the richie riches, and generally thrives on making green things grow. All while I was growing up, he planted the most wonderful vegetable gardens. I loved going through in the late summer and plucking up the cherry tomatoes.

The smell of them on the vine is one of my favorite scents. Our yard was also always overflowing with beautiful daffodils in the springtime. He did (and still does) a really good job making everything beautiful.

When I was a freshman at Umass, I decided I wanted to get a plant. My dad was really excited when I told him, and picked one that fit my specifications. Not too high maintenance, and one that doesn't need a lot of sunlight, as my crazy roommate had hogged the entire gigantic picture window in our room.
It was a cute little green viney thing that sat on the bookshelf of my desk. As the semester marched on, and things got more hectic, I basically forgot that it existed. Leann confessed at the end of the year that she had been keeping it alive for me, sneaking water into the pot when I wasn't there.

Over the summer the plant thrived when I brought it back into my parents house. It grew so substantially that it had to be repotted. The vines overflowed the sides of the pot and skirted the floor. Subsequently, it became too big for me to fit in my teeny tiny Baker dorm room. Or at least that's what I said. I knew that if it came back to school with me, it would probably die. My parents kept it, and very quickly I forgot about it.

Last year, when Paul and I were still living in Amherst, my dad proudly announces that he still has my plant, and that I can take it back now. He had taken really good care of it for 4 years. He had put it in a nice new hanging basket with plenty of room to grow. I was kind of touched that he still thought of it as my plant.

As soon as it was warm enough, I hung the plant outside in our little fenced in lot. An unexpected frost came, and within a week the poor thing was stone cold dead. After 4 years of careful diligence, I had totally killed it.

My mom had also given me a little potted plant kit for Christmas last year. The pots were about 2 inches wide and came with seeds for Basil and some little pink flowers. They came with soil, fertilizer, and specific directions. I thought I followed them really well, but nothing ever sprouted.

However, for the gardening inept like me, there seemed to be a saving grace - hydroponics. Garrett got Paul and I one of those Aerogarden machines as a wedding present. I was really excited. These things are supposed to be fool proof. You don't need to water the plants, and every two weeks the machine automatically alerts you to add more nutrients.

Well, I guess I'm a fool:

The pictures are kind of blurry, so if you can't tell, they're dead. Dead before even making it out of the sproutling stage. The holes in the pic above are where ones clearly kicked the bucket right off the bat. The only one we're really holding out hope for is Parsley.

I don't know what happened. The little foam things they grew out of looked like they got moldy. We also waited about a year before we set it up, so maybe the seeds were duds. I also suspect that Roosevelt sits on them when we're not home. That sun-simulating light gets nice and toasty like a sunbeam.

At any rate, the verdict is in. Green thumbs are not genetic.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wednesday Dinner #11 - Baked Onions

Also - Post 100!

It's been awhile since I blogged food. Basically, ever since I've stopped having Wednesdays off, there hasn't been much time for a fancy cooking.

Last night I made Baked Onions from the 100 Great Vegetarian Recipe Cookbook. They were really yummy and easy to make, but very time consuming. You might also find yourself feeling a little hungry after dinner if your onions aren't the biggest.

Preheat your oven to 375. Slice off the root end of your onions so they stand up tall. Then, the recipe says to wrap them in loosley in foil and bake on a cookie sheet for 35 minutes. I didn't realize that this initial bake was meant to be done with the papery skins on. As you can see, I took them off right after cutting off the bottoms. I was worried that this might ruin the dish, but it turned out not to be a big deal, as far as I could tell.

Then you take the onions out and let them cool for a minute. I took this opportunity to chop up the 3 garlic cloves and the half cup of mushrooms. Once the onions are cool enough to handle, cut off the tops about 1/3 the way down and scoop out the insides. This is pretty easy, as the baking leaves the onion layers slippery and easy to separate. Finely chop the innards.

Cook the chopped onion with oil in a skillet until golden. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until tender.

The recipe then called for half a lemon, which I forgot to buy! It says to add the zest and juice and cook for 1 minute. I didn't think it was bad without it, but it probably gave a more interesting dimension to the flavor.

After that remove the veggies from the heat and add 1/3 cup breadcrumbs and a Tbsp of parsley. Salt and pepper to taste.

Fill the onions shells with this mixture. Sprinkle sharp cheddar cheese all over. Wrap each onion in greased aluminum foil, adding a tsp of water to each packet. Scrunch the foil tightly and bake for 40 minutes. Open the foil at that point, and cook open for 10 minutes.

Mmm. They came out really cheesy and delicious. As I said though, go with the biggest onions, or make a side, because they aren't super filling. I would make again. It's a nice fall meal.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Caturday X

This is a picture of me in August of 2007. I'm at Cobbs, which I wrote amply about earlier this year. I'm holding a kitten that was adopted by the campground after it was found living semi-feral in the woods. The workers there named him Ringo, but all my family and I just called him "Little Kitty". He was a tiny guy, but he was a crazy good hunter.

He always knew the best places to look.

This is a picture of me today holding Roosevelt.

She hasn't really demonstrated any real capacity for hunting, but I did catch her attempting to spar with a lit candle the other day.

I like to think that we subconsciously picked Rose because of Little Kitty, but I honestly didn't remember how similar they were until I looked back at my old Maine pictures the other day. It's pretty crazy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Drinking with the Warner Bros. (and the Warner Sister)

In the wide wild world of drinking games, the ones based upon TV shows are rarely ever good. Take for example, this Futurama drinking game. There are just waaaay too many rules. There's no way that somebody on their 3rd or fourth beer could remember all that stuff.

However, Paul and I may have discovered, inadvertently, the greatest drinking TV show of all time. And that show is Animaniacs. We've been renting the episodes from Netflix. The show is great mix of formulaic gags and childhood nostalgia. The same "rules" come up again and again in every episode, but not so frequently that you can't enjoy watching the show too.

The Animaniacs Drinking Game Rules

1. Drink whenever they say "We're the Warner Bros (and the warner sis)."
2. Drink whenever there's a song.
3. Drink anytime Dot says she's cute.
4. Drink for any instance of comic violence.
5. Drink for any celebrity cameos
6. Drink anytime a character from another cartoon makes an appearance. Like if the Goodfeathers stroll by in the background during a Slappy the Squirrel short.
7. Hellloooooo Nurse!

I'll let you all have a practice round with this Star Trek parody sketch. I really like that this clip reinforces the "Spock Uhura" 'ship that was canonized in the new movie.

Poor James Doohan. He was such a sweet old man, it makes me sad they make fun of him so.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hell of a Ween

Halloween was really fun this year, but pretty different from what Paul and I have done the last 5 years or so. To all the very very dear friends that we didn't hang out with on the ghoul night, we missed you! I wish that I got to drink with you and see all your assuredly fabulous costumes. It really does bum me out when I think about not seeing you all.

Paul and I spent the day working at the Haunted Higgins event. It was a lot of fun, despite it requiring us to leave the house at 8 AM.

I was Princess Lolly from Candy Land.

The event was structured around all these different themed areas, and since there was no Candy Land area, I threw on a pair of borrowed wings, became "The Candy Fairy", and hung out with some really cool girls in the Fairy Forest.

Paul went as a Yip Yip.

Understandably, this costume elicited some drastically variable responses from the kids, ranging from excitement and joy to abject terror.

Some of my favorites were:

- The little boy who stared at Paul for a solid 10 minutes, then blurted out "I love you!"
- The little boy who encountered Paul on the stairs and yelled "Oh no! A ghost!"
- The little girl, who after sizing him up declared "That's a pretty bad Elmo costume."

Indeed, probably half the kids were under the impression that he was Elmo. Really kids?
This is the like Elmo of your most terrible nightmares.

It was a lot of fun though, giving out candy and playing the part of the mischievous fairy, skipping around the museum and seeing all the cute kids in their costumes. The most popular choices were Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Vampires. My personal fave was the brothers who came as Bowser and Waluigi. The museum did a really good job of it too - they even had a battle between a Jedi and a Sith lord, using only moves from authentic 16th century training manuals of course.

It was a lot of fun, but honestly exhausting. Afterwards, Paul and I went home and promptly took naps. We awoke a few hours later to our neighbor blasting a haunted house soundtrack into our backyard, which was super weird at first. Being half asleep and hearing screaming and evil cackling, it's hard to tell if you're dreaming it.

We got a healthy number of trick or treaters, but most of them were 12+. When the candy-begging died down, we went to a Party in Northampton with Pat S. It was kind of cool to go to a party where you didn't really know anybody. It took me back to freshman year.

I am looking forward to having a a more familiar crowd around me again next year though. I'm think about hosting, but don't hold me to it :). I hope you all had so much fun at your respective shindigs!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

How I spent the first day of November

Paul and I went to the Lupa Zoo today! It was really cool, I had never been there before. It was fun to see all the animals, and be outside on such a great fall day. We made friends with this cockatoo that did tricks for treats. Somebody should have told him that Halloween was yesterday. He was kind of a show off. We also saw a really scary black throated monitor lizard that was trying his hardest to escape it's habitat. He was huge! It was digging persistently at the door and flitting its tongue like crazy. It was a little scary, we definitely watched our backs after that.

There were all sorts of cute little marsupials and monkeys too. I really loved seeing the fennec foxes. They are truly real-life pokemon.

It was a lot of fun. There were lots of sweet things to pose with in the park. Tableaus with the heads cut out so that you could put your head through. Lots of neat/ kitchy animal statues too.

It was a really fun time. It's so cool that it's only about 20 minutes away from the house.

When we got home, we shared a delicious treat. A pomegranite.

So delicious. I don't think there's a fruit that's more fun to eat.

One of my favorite web comics, Wasted Talent just did an ode to the pomegranite too.