kaasirpent: (Default)
Sunday, April 16th, 2017 02:00 am
One thing I already miss about LiveJournal is that there was a field on there called "Notes" where I could put a note (duh) about another user that only I would ever see.

Things like "Bob Smith from college" or "Neil Gaiman" or some clue for me to know who the actual person behind the account is. Sometimes I know people by many different names, and it's hard to keep up, frankly. I'm sure I'll figure something out. But that's gonna hurt. :)
kaasirpent: (Bizarre)
Sunday, June 2nd, 2013 02:47 am

Friday night, I drove over to Wetumpka, Alabama, to visit my mother. Early today (Saturday; it's not tomorrow until I sleep), we got up and I drove us three hours north to Huntsville, Alabama, to visit my aunt Peggy (my father's sister) in the nursing home. She has Alzheimer's (or something like it), and really enjoys visitors.

Meeting us at noon were my other aunts from Tennessee and Birmingham, AL, my uncle from Austin, TX, and my cousin (aunt Peggy's son) and his wife, who live in Huntsville. We actually met at a Logan's Roadhouse restaurant near my aunts' and uncle's hotel. Next door to that was a Mexican restaurant, and I wistfully commented that I would rather have gone there. My mother concurred.

["But Kaa!" you are no doubt lamenting at this moment. "What does all this have to do with your subject line?" To which I reply, "Suck it." No! No, I meant, "Patience, Grasshoppah."]

We had a nice visit at the restaurant, adjourned to the nursing home, had a nice visit there, and left around four. I had to stop and get gas, and then when we got back on the interstate, a wreck had occurred in the fifteen minutes we were stopped, and we were backed up another good fifteen minutes waiting on them to clear that.

When we finally got moving again, my mother and I chatted about the family gossip and how my aunt in the nursing home was doing. Around six o'clock, I was getting hungry, so I asked my mother, "Are you hungry?" We had had lunch at noon in Huntsville; we were now just north of Birmingham.

"Well, I could eat." In my mother's native tongue (The Ozarks), this can be loosely interpreted as anything from, "I'm as full as a tick on a hound dog, but if you're going to eat, I'll have a bite with you and visit," to "I'm as empty as a poor man's pockets and may just pass out at any moment from hunger."

I took it as the latter and after a very brief discussion fueled by our earlier exchange ("How does Mexican sound?" "It sounds really good."), we decided to stop in Birmingham and eat.

I remembered that there was a really good Mexican restaurant that a local friend (JP) and his family (Jennifer and Emerson) had taken me to a time or two before, but couldn't remember where it was beyond a loose vicinity, or what it was called. No problem! I have a smart phone. I have the INTERNET. <insert melodramatic chord here>

I pulled off the interstate at an exit near where I thought the restaurant might be and as my mother talked to her friend who was watching her dogs for her, I Googled for Mexican restaurants in the vicinity. I thought seriously about calling my friends and asking, but it was just so late, we figured they had already eaten, and we were tired, etc. And I'm going to see them tomorrow (Sunday) anyway, so . . .

I found it quickly. And it was only about a mile and a half from where we were. Off we set.

We arrived at the restaurant, and as we were driving through the parking lot, I laughed. "Heh! Wouldn't it be funny if JP and Jennifer are actually here?"

[That, by the way, is what we in the writing biz call 'foreshadowing.' Pay attention when you see it, because it means something's about to happen.]

We go in, get seated, and a few seconds later, we hear, "Oh, my GOD!" and Jennifer is standing at our table.

Yep. Jennifer was there with a friend, and she got on the phone and called JP and Emerson, and soon we were having dinner with them anyway. We greatly enjoyed it, and it could not have worked out any better. It turned a quick, rushed dinner into a leisurely meal with good friends and good conversation. And margaritas, which I'm told were also good (I did not partake).

So, all the things that had to come together to get us to that spot at the right time were:
  • Lunch restaurant next to Mexican restaurant (to prime me)
  • Stayed late visiting at the nursing home
  • Got delayed by the wreck
  • We were hungry
  • Both wanted Mexican (Chinese was discussed after I couldn't remember the name of the restaurant)
  • Jennifer and her friend eating at the very same restaurant at the particular time
So, even though it would be an even larger coincidence (hence "Small World") if this had happened somewhere that was not a few minutes from my friends' house and not their favorite restaurant, we deem it a pretty large coincidence nevertheless.

And that's my story. Thanks for sticking with me and having patience, Grasshoppah. :)

Note: According to Jennifer, the conversation at their table when we came in was, "Heh, that kind of looks like Kaa . . . and that's his mother!" at which point she leapt up and ran over to our table.

Also amusingly, the car we parked next to in the parking lot? Jennifer's. :)
kaasirpent: (Skeptic)
Thursday, July 21st, 2011 10:14 pm
Last week, I packed my bags and went to Las Vegas for five days. I don't gamble. I don't drink. I don't smoke. And I had no intention of partaking of the other thing that's legal in Nevada that some people look forward to when they go to Las Vegas.

So why the hell did I go to Las Vegas? To attend The Amazing Meeting 9, also known as TAM 9 From Outer Space.

The Amazing Meeting or TAM is the annual conference of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), a group of educators, magicians/entertainers, scientists, etc. whose mission is to promote rational thought in our irrational world. This was my first one.

The first TAM was in 2003 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where the JREF was based at that time. It quickly outgrew the modest space and has since been held in Las Vegas, most recently at the Southpoint Hotel Casino and Spa a few miles south of The Strip in Las Vegas, NV. There have also been TAMs held in London and Australia. There have been cruises to the Bermuda Triangle, Alaska, Mexico, and the Galapagos Islands. All of them have been very successful.

Basically, it's a place where a lot of skeptics and freethinkers from all over the world and from all walks of life can come together for four days and make friends, learn, and just hang out. <irony alert>In one of the world capitals of irrational thought. :)</irony alert>

This year, there were 1652 of us in attendance.

One of the many things that skeptics take seriously is public outreach. We do it in many different ways. Some use blogs, others use podcasts, some create websites . . . it just depends on your personality. Still others are very public about their skeptical, rational outlook. These include people like James Randi, Banachek, Jamy Ian Swiss, Penn Jillette (all magicians); Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Dr. Phil Plait, Dr. Lawrence Krauss, Dr. Pamela Gay (all astronomers and/or (astro)physicists); Adam Savage, Bill Nye (The Science Guy), Julia Sweeney, George Hrab (entertainers/muscians); Derek & Swoopy, DJ Grothe, Richard Saunders, Chris Mooney, Dr. Steve Novella, Bob Novella, Jay Novella, Evan Bernstein, Rebecca Watson, Blake Smith, Ben Radford, Dr. Karen Stollznow, Brian Dunning, Robert Price, Joe Nickell (all podcasters); Sean Faircloth, Daniel Loxton, Dr. Richard Dawkins, Jennifer Michael Hecht, PZ Myers, Dr. Richard Wiseman, Dr. Ginger Campbell, Dr. Rachael Dunlop, Ben Radford, Greta Christina, Michael Shermer, Dr. Eugenie Scott, Jennifer Ouellette . . . I could go on and on and on for a good, long time naming people whose names are household words to me, but most of whom the average person has never heard of. Which is tragic.

One of the big issues right now with the skeptical movement is vaccination. When children are vaccinated, it helps protect them (vaccinations are not 100% effective, and there is a small chance of adverse reactions: absolutely no one in the skeptical community has ever claimed that this is not true, regardless of what you might have heard) from a host of terrible diseases that used to kill thousands of vulnerable people annually.

I'm going to get serious )

Fun fact: Did you know that adults need to get boosters for some of these childhood diseases? For TDAP, it's about 10 years. Why? Because it's not about you. It's about other people, especially children too young to get the vaccination.

So when I went to TAM 9 and they announced that for one day, they had free TDAP vaccines, I jumped out of my chair and went to stand in line, missing the rest of the panel that was very interesting.

The line was out the door and about 30 feet down the hall. I waited.

Eventually, I got the shot in the arm, got a sticker (A STICKER! YAAAAAY!), my picture made with a toy bear, and a certificate saying I got the vaccination. I believe the final count was 305 people who got the TDAP vaccine.

I mentioned this on Facebook.

And got, "Why?" a lot. "Why did you get TDAP?"

Brennan. Seth. Jonah. Nathan. Suzi. Penelope. Nicholas. Caleb. Elias. Kathryn. Julian. Luna. Liliana. Annabelle. Fisher. David. The as-yet-unborn children of two of my coworkers. Those are who I got the booster shot for. I may never lay eyes on many of these children of my far-flung friends (and I know I left out a lot of my friends' young children, and I apologize profusely, but a lot of you don't post their names and . . . I just didn't have the time to research), but on the chance that I do, how terrible would it be to pass on a terrible disease because I didn't do something that took literally 20 minutes and a few days of pain in my arm?

So does that answer the question in a way that everyone can understand? If you don't like "because I wanted to," or "to counteract the stupidity of the anti-vaxers," or any of a number of other very good reasons, does this make it abundantly clear?
kaasirpent: (Cooking)
Tuesday, December 28th, 2010 09:11 pm
I have been craving this dish. A few weeks ago, my friend [livejournal.com profile] geek_72 made some Italian sausage and gave me about 3 lbs of it. I earmarked half of it to make this dish. Two weeks before Christmas, I bought two papayas and fully intended to make this. But then I got sick. And fell and hurt my knee. And then had holiday stuff. Finally, tonight was the night.

What he made was not mild, but quite spicy. I works better with spicy, in my humble opinion. Your mileage may vary. Void where prohibited.

[Note: [livejournal.com profile] veldah did not much care for it because of the spiciness of the sausage and the...oddness of the combination of spices. But what does she know? :) (More for me!)]

Papaya & Sausage Sauté



Prep time: ~10 min
Cooking time: ~12 minutes

If you like meat and fruit together, be sure to try this unusual dish: succulent papaya slices and sausage rounds tumbled in a spicy honey glaze. When papayas aren't in season (or if you can't find them at the market), try making the sauté with apples instead.

  • 1 ¼ lbs mild Italian sausages, cut into ½-inch-thick slices (Tip: I find this works a lot better if you peel the casing off the sausages before cooking them.)

  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

  • 2 Tbsp honey

  • ½ tsp ground ginger

  • ½ tsp ground coriander

  • ½ tsp curry powder

  • 2 medium-sized papayas (about 1 lb each), peeled, seeded, and cut lengthwise into ½-inch-thick slices

  • Scallions (roots and any wilted tops trimmed) and minced tops [Optional]


Place wok over high heat; when wok is hot, add sausage. Stir-fry until browned (about 3 minutes). Discard all but 3 Tbsp of the drippings. Push sausage to side of wok; stir lemon juice, honey, ginger, coriander, and curry powder into drippings at bottom of wok. Then push sausage into glaze and toss to coat; transfer to serving plate and keep warm.

Add papayas to wok. Cook over high heat, turning occasionally, until fruit is glazed and light brown (3 to 5 minutes). Arrange papayas around sausage. Garnish with whole and minced scallions, if desired. Makes about 4 servings.

Per serving: 499 calories, 22g protein 26g carbohydrates, 35g total fat, 88mg cholesterol, 1012mg sodium [I know, I know...]

If you don't have papayas, follow the same directions above but substitute 2 large green-skinned apples (Granny Smith), cored and cut into ½-inch-thick slices for the papayas. Add ½ cup toasted whole blanched almonds along with the apples.

[Note: The reason I said it works better for me to peel the casing off the sausages was that the casing gets crispy and is kind of in the way. I prefer it without. Luckily, what [livejournal.com profile] geek_72 made wasn't in the casings, so I just dumped it in and broke it up with the spatula-thingy.]

 Mansa Musa and the City of Gold by HowStuffWorks.com from Stuff You Missed in History Class (Rating: 0)
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kaasirpent: (Food)
Friday, December 10th, 2010 11:49 pm
Some friends and I met tonight at a new-to-us restaurant called Honey Pig. Honey Pig is a Korean BBQ. Only one person of the six of us had ever been to a Korean BBQ before. The rest of us were just in it for the adventure.

We ordered the Honey Pig Sam-Gyup-Sal (I mean, ya gotta order the thing named after the restaurant (or vice versa)), Spicy Sam-Gyup-Sal, Bulgogi, and Duck. And of course Kim Chi, some sort of spicy bean sprout dish I never heard the name of, and mushrooms. And rice wraps and lettuce wraps and marinated onions and these other wraps that were clearly some sort of vegetable, but none of us could figure out what it could be based on the shape, texture, or flavor. And hot chili sauce and bean paste and what might have been some sort of fish sauce. And something else none of us knew what it was.

There were six of us, and none of us knew what the hell to do with any of the little dishes they set before us, but we figured it out as we went along, with a small amount of help from the waiter.

I had never tried kim chi and was surprised how much I liked it, but it's definitely something you don't eat a lot of by itself. Not because it was spicy, but because it was so strong. Wow. I didn't know cabbage could have that dominant a flavor. :) The spicy bean sprouts seemed to have been the biggest hit.

It was all so good, and we talked about writing (this was a writers group) and reading and books and music and such.

Then it was time for the bill.

It was $83.21 for the six of us. Not bad. So we added a 20% tip and rounded it up to $100 split 6 ways, or $17 each. Four of the others gave me their $17, and I paid with my Discover card. The sixth person had no cash, so she put in her card. We told the waiter, "Put $17 on this card, and the rest on the Discover."

We talked for a while more and then the waiter brought everything back. Handed me the two trays with the cards, and I handed the other person their card and took a look at the damage.

$6,621.00.

I blinked. I tore my cornea yesterday, after all, so maybe my eyes were playing tricks. I tried to make it $6.621.00, but that made even less sense. It definitely said $6,621.00.

So we waited a few more minutes until the waiter once again came to collect the signed receipts and I said, "There's been a mistake. This is for six thousand dollars."

He took it and looked at it. His eyes got wide. He ran off.

A few minutes later, the waiter came back. With the manager. Who both apologized profusely, explaining that a table of a lot of people had just checked out and had them divide it up individually, and they got a little flustered and missed a decimal point. The new bill was for $66.21.

Much better. :)

So, yeah. Dinner was great, as was the company. But the price was a bit steep. :)

 Episode 12: Biotechnology Ethics by Desiree Schell from Skeptically Speaking (Rating: 0)
kaasirpent: (Procrastination)
Sunday, November 21st, 2010 09:20 pm
I just thought that in the interest of getting back into writing more on my LiveJournal, I'd write something I've been meaning to write for a while, but never found the time to do it. Or started and then got interrupted. (Hence the "procrastination" userpic and mood.

Back in...June? July? Somewhere around the beginning of summer, anyway...I got an email from a friend of mine that I've known since about 1991 or so, so a good long while.

This friend, Yvonne ([livejournal.com profile] veldah), said she was getting a divorce and wondered if she could stay with me for a while. I was floored. I had just talked with both of them not too long ago and they gave me no indication that there was anything like this in the making. She wanted to get back into the work force, and Atlanta seems a better place to do so than Nashville.1

I only hesitated for a short while, thinking not "Oy, can I do this?" but "Oy, where are we going to put her stuff?" :)

Her divorce is amicable--the reasons aren't mine for sharing, but I stress that she and her soon-to-be-ex-husband are still friends, and he and I are still friends.

So in mid-August, Yvonne arrived with a few things2 and I put her up in my largest guest room. She has made several trips back to her house in Nashville to get more stuff.

In the three months or so that she's lived here, I've virtually stopped eating out because Yvonne is a great cook. I've lost about twenty pounds, and I've cut back on my salt consumption (both side effects of not eating out and eating less). And about two weeks back, I bought a new range for the kitchen because Yvonne was able to show me convincingly that my old one was, to put it in technical terms, "FUBAR'd." :) She burned a lasagna and undercooked a meatloaf before testing the oven and determining that the temperature was basically random inside the oven, no matter what you set the thermostat on.

The cats, Matt & Lucy, love having her here. At first, they were dubious. But then Lucy discovered that, if asked politely3, Yvonne will share some of what she's cooking with the feline members of the household. Matt took longer to come around, but once Yvonne showed him that she knows how to use the Yellow-Handled Wire Brush of Much Cat Worship™, he decided that maybe she doesn't actually eat cats. Maybe. :)

She'll be staying with me for a while, until she comes into her inheritance from the recent passing of her mother, and the sale of the land she and her sister inherited from their mother, or until she finds a job that pays well enough to live on her own.

So if I say "we" I may be referring to me and Yvonne or me and the cats or all of us or some combination. And I didn't want to confuse anyone. I'm not married and she's not my significant other; we're friends and housemates.
  1. She has a degree in education and an MLS (Master of Library Science) and extensive experience in data entry, customer service, and writing specs, but she really wants to be a librarian if possible.
  2. A true geek, she arrived with clothes, toiletries, a desk, and two computers. :)
  3. For Lucy, this basically translates into 'sink claws into the calf of the human.' She learned from Nanny and Granddaddy that this was the most efficient way of getting immediate attention. :)


 Oh Father by Madonna from Like a Prayer (Rating: 0)
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kaasirpent: (Pimpin')
Thursday, April 29th, 2010 09:20 am
My friend [livejournal.com profile] siercia (Jennifer Cox) is a finalist in an Earth Day essay contest. Go vote for her! :)

Here is her post.
kaasirpent: (House)
Saturday, November 7th, 2009 09:43 pm
So...my dryer. It's been...more of a steamer for a while, now. Takes three to four trips through the dryer to get the clothes dry enough to hang.

And it heats my entire upper floor to close to 80 degrees.

Clearly, there is a problem.

My friend [livejournal.com profile] geek_72 is here this weekend to help me with some small items around the house that need fixing, considering I simply don't do ladders. Among them: the dryer.

To make what could be a very long story at short as I can: what kind of damned bird builds a four foot nest in someone's dryer vent? Seriously. Four. Feet. Crammed full of bird nest.

When the hell did the feathered rat have time to move all that in there?

I'm happy to report that as of earlier this afternoon, the dryer dried a load of clothes in only 1.5 trips through the cycle, did not heat the entire house, and made at least one little birdie very unhappy.

Oh, and I have new garage door openers. :)
kaasirpent: (Random Thought)
Monday, July 13th, 2009 05:14 pm

Cats

Because you know you love it. Lucy and Matt both learned some very, very bad habits from Granddaddy's other cat, Tiny. Matt claws furniture to get attention, and both Lucy and Matt are fond of raking their unsheathed claws over my bare flesh, also to get attention. This must end. But they're 16, and I don't want to get them de-clawed. Any suggestions? Right now I'm using negative reinforcement with an unpleasant sound.

I said before that neither of them were "players." I think one of my superpowers is manifesting itself in a new way. Whenever I make a claim like this, the universe has a way of making a liar out of me. To be fair, I haven't actually witnessed any playing, but one of Gremlin's catnip toys mysteriously found its way under my bed, and another of Gremlin's and Taz's toys wound up in a place where it normally is not, and broken, probably to get at the catnip within. So I'm thinking one or both of the cats are up to something when I'm not there or when I'm asleep. Involving catnip.

Matt lets me pet him at will, now. But only if I'm sitting down. If I stand up, I become an evil, cat-eating...thing that is evil.

I used to brag that my cats—and we're talking Gremlin and Taz, here—never used to wake me up to be fed. Taz would occasionally rake his claws across my face, but it was because he wanted to play or be petted. (I shall leave as an exercise for the reader to decide whether his tactic was ever successful.)

Lucy has now awakened me several mornings, quite frantic, and when I dutifully followed her as she hopped to where Timmy was in the well her food bowl, it was empty. After I had to have Taz put to sleep, I got rid of anything the cats had eaten or drunk out of, just in case it was something catching and I got another cat. I can see, now, that a trip to PetSmart is looming large for me. One of those perpetual dry-food dispensers and a water bowl are a necessity.

MANGO

A while back I mentioned a new "local" restaurant called Fuego Mundo. I swore then that I would have to go back and try basically everything on the menu, including the mango pie. Well, I've been back several times, and it's been really good each time. I've been for dinner a few times, but today I decided to try lunch. I had the grilled turkey breast fillet, which is basically a boneless, skinless slab o' turkey breast, marinated and then grilled over their wood fire; The Latin side combo, which consists of rice, black beans, and sweet fried plantains (heaven); a beef empanada with their vinegary "pico de gallo"-like sauce; and for dessert, the mango pie.

The turkey breast came out perfect: moist, tender, and flavorful. The Latin was good, as always, as was the empanada. I think I could live on their empanadas alone. I mean, it's got meat and bread, and the sauce kinda counts as vegetables. Hmmm. The mango pie provides dairy....

The mango pie (are you listening, [livejournal.com profile] slymongoose?) was creamy, sweet-but-not-too-sweet, rich, and very mango-y cheesecake in a graham-cracker-crumb pie crust. A tasty and not over-filling end to a nice lunch.

I'd also like once more to point out that on rainy days—or potentially rainy ones, like today—Fuego Mundo has a back entrance from inside a parking deck. You could go there during a monsoon downpour and not even get damp.

I probably don't need to say it at this point, but I'll be back. And back and back and back. It's only a 20-minute drive from my office. Both ways. And besides, everyone takes an hour-and-a-half lunch, occasionally, right? Right?

Babylon 5

It's no secret (because I tell anyone and everyone who will listen) that I'm a big-ol' geek. And one of my biggest geek-ons is for Babylon 5. I think it was about two weeks ago, now, that [livejournal.com profile] geek_72 mentioned on FaceBook that Claudia Christian—who played Susan Ivanova on Babylon 5—was selling her personal scripts on her web site.

I contacted her (really someone like her agent or assistant) and purchased two of my favorite episode scripts of the ones remaining. When I received them a few days later, they were autographed to me (squee!) and included some other collectibles from Ms. Christian, also autographed (squee!). The scripts join my small-but-growing collection of B5 stuff. I may have to create a Wall of Squee™.

Gaming

Had an especially fun session this past weekend with our usual group minus the out-of-towners who come from Alabama to join us. We solved a murder mystery! :) One of our party (the magic-user) was seen by three eye-witnesses stabbing a guy in cold blood. And they weren't lying. So, in typical D&D fashion, we solved the crime: we resurrected the corpse so there was no longer a murder, then used a combination of past vision and teleportation to see who really did it, and eliminated him with extreme prejudice. And in the course of this, we discovered that the Egyptian god Set is really, really pissed off at the party member who was framed. And we can expect more little incidents like the frame-job. Joy. But at least my cleric and the magic-user discovered a fantastic one-two punch of spells guaranteed to turn any bad guy into a puddle of sticky goo. Mmm, Minions-of-Set-goo. Now in Bear Flavor!™

So because we can't kill a god (yet), we decided to go after our big bad enemy, Bob, one more time. Bob has kicked our ass so many times it's not even funny. But hey. Better than Set, right? :)

(Have I mentioned I'm a geek? Because I am one. And a big one, at that.)

Writing

Had the first chapter of one of my works in progress critiqued by a second local group that only meets once per month, but they give harder-hitting, deeper critiques than my Tuesday Night Writers Group, because we read them ahead of time, critique them before the meeting, and the limit is 10,000 words instead of 1200. :)

I was tickled pink that they all liked it, but found that they all kind of picked up on the same problems. Which tells me that 1) I'm not telling the story right if no one picked up something I thought was obvious; 2) the ending, as planned, will suck; and 3) my main character isn't fleshed out enough. There were others as well, but those are the main three points. I think I'll need to rethink this story a little. Which means I'll be working on my novel for a bit. :)

Birthdays

Attended [livejournal.com profile] totallysirius's 30th birthday dinner at Cowtippers. Was fun. Got to see some folks I don't see often enough and consume mass quantities of good food.

In other news, [livejournal.com profile] ladyimp's and [livejournal.com profile] monkeypocket's daughter is the cutest thing ever. Just so you know. And she knows the most important thing for a two-year-old to know: the best way to eat macaroni and cheese is with both fists. Spoon? There is no spoon! I'd do it, too, if I could get away with it.
kaasirpent: (Holidays)
Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 04:44 pm

Background Information

A couple of weeks ago, I agreed that this weekend would be The Weekend™. The one where I bring home The Cats™. Nanny and Granddaddy's cats. Matt & Lucy. But we had to have them sedated because, having done the "unsedated cats in the car in Atlanta traffic" schtick before, I want no part of it. Ever. And neither do you. Trust me.

Along a totally unrelated subject but also a couple of weeks ago, in an email correspondence, I arranged with my cousin Jim Roebuck not only to attend the 110th Henderson Reunion (of which he was the organizer), but to enter the Brunswick Stew contest.1 The reunion was on July 4.

Click here for the rest. Read about parties! Food! Cats! Torn corneas! Alcoholic beverages! Family hymnals! Fireworks! )
kaasirpent: (Eutaw)
Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 09:42 am
I went home to Eutaw this past weekend to visit my mother and friends JP (formerly [livejournal.com profile] adsmguy), [livejournal.com profile] mrsadsmguy and μADSMGuy. While in Eutaw, I "ooohed" and "aaaahed" appropriately over my mother's new 46" LCD television (for the living room) and her new 32" LED television (for the office). Much HD satellitey goodness was consumed. I was scandalized, however, that when I walked into the house on Friday night, my mother was watching...was watching...egad, it's hard even to type this...was watching...WIFE SWAP. <sound of gagging here> <deep breaths> <more deep breaths> I'll be okay. Eventually. <gag>

On Sunday, we visited Nanny and Granddaddy's house. It's been appraised, now, at $97,000, and my mother has had several offers, the highest of which is about $10,000 lower than appraisal. Which is astoundingly good for Eutaw. The house is a 2BR 2BA with an enclosed patio, large yard, and some problems that need fixing, so it's not unreasonable for them to offer $10,000 lower.

Anyway, this means that selling the house is much more a reality and we've had to sort of "step up" the clean-out process. Most of what's left in the house at this point is stuff we don't know what to do with. Furniture no one wants, odds and ends that we don't want to throw away, but don't really know what to do with, either. And the cats. And the clock.

The grandmother clock that was Nanny's pride and joy. She kept it running (Like clockwork! I slay me!) for years until she fell ill in 2003. Then Granddaddy got hold of it and rather quickly did something wrong and it didn't keep good time and stopped chiming right.

It was in the will that I should get the clock.

Sunday, we measured it and my car and discovered that, with a little finagling, we could wedge the clock into my car and still close the back. I removed the pendulum and stuffed a couple of pillows inside it to keep the counterweights from rolling around too much, and to stifle the chimes.

Unfortunately, I can't quite completely stifle the chimes without doing something drastic. And since I haven't been able to get the clock out of the car, yet (it takes two, and I am one, and busy), it is riding around with me.

Did you know that at 55 MPH, a grandmother clock in the back of your car sets up an almost constant chime reminiscent of the ambient sound in a casino?

It does.

Can't get it out of the car until tomorrow night, either.

dingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingdingding! ding! duh-duh-duh-DING! ingingingdingingDINGingingingDINGDINGDINGinginginginging....

The cats, by the way, will have to be transported on a weekday so I can have them tranquilized at the vet (who closes at noon on Saturday). The months of virtual isolation have not done the poor things any good. Matt and Lucy are more skittish than ever, and even people they used to like (my mother) are now scary and evil and will eat them, so it should be very interesting to transport them to a new place where they will be confined to the inside on a pretty much permanent basis. I got Matt to let me pet him by sitting down calmly and letting his need to be touched (he's got the potential of being a lap-cat) overcome his fear of "strangers." Lucy wouldn't allow me in the same room with her, but that's not unusual.

As an aside, what the hell was I thinking? :)
kaasirpent: (Music)
Wednesday, May 20th, 2009 01:54 pm
Yesterday, when I first sat down at my desk at work and opened a browser, I noticed that [livejournal.com profile] tbons' status message was "I say we should take off and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

I, of course, responded, "They mostly come at night. Mostly."

And that put a song in my head which has been riding around in my forebrain, interfering with simple tasks, for more than 24 hours, now. <cue 80s music>
She'll only come out at night
The lean and hungry type
Nothing is new, I've seen her here before
Watching and waiting
She's sitting with you but her eyes are on the door
So many have paid to see
What you think you're getting for free
The woman is wild, a she-cat tamed by the purr of a Jaguar
Money's the matter
If you're in it for love you ain't gonna get too far

Oh here she comes
Watch out boy she'll chew you up
Oh here she comes
She's a maneater
Oh here she comes
Watch out boy she'll chew you up
Oh here she comes
She's a maneater
(The link between Aliens and "Maneater" obviously being the phrase "They mostly come at night" and the lyric "She'll only come out at night." I mean, how much more 'handed to you on a platter' could you possibly get?)

I blame [livejournal.com profile] tbons. Entirely.
kaasirpent: (Writing)
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 01:01 pm
I noticed last night that the one-year anniversary of my participation in my local writers group is in two weeks. Yay! A whole year of still not submitting anything for publication, but at least people are reading it and critiquing it. :)

Last night at our meeting, we had a rare occurrence: a newbie.

I don't mean he was just new to our group; we get that all the time. I mean that he has never written a word of fiction in his life. Self-admittedly. He's been thinking about it, though. And apparently talking about it at some length, because he said that last night his wife kicked him out of the house and said something like, "Quit talking about writing fiction and go do something about it!" :)

He is a writer, but only of non-fiction articles which he has had published on/in various websites/publications. He's a very nice guy, eager to soak up whatever tips and hints the more experienced group members can give, and with a firm grasp (we presume; we haven't actually seen a sample of his writing, yet) on the mechanics of writing. (It's very painful to critique and be nice when you get someone who doesn't understand subject/verb agreement, pronoun case, the proper use of apostrophes, etc.)

We already have one newbie (she's been with us about a month) who reads at warp 11 and we keep trying to give her tips on how to slow down. "Pretend we're all children," one person said. Well, that worked like a charm: she read at a veritable snail's pace of warp 10.97.

"Pause at each period and take a breath" was the next suggestion. We'll see if that works next week.

She plays WoW and writes stories about the characters in her guild. This is just a tad outside most of our members' realms of experience.

Last night's selection from her was something still firmly fantasy, but non-WoW. She'll need some help on character development and some mechanics, but that's what we're there for. Assuming both of them stick around, it should be interesting to see what they come up with.

We have this eclectic mix of genres. I'm more than a little amused by the fact that everyone unanimously says that I write "weird stuff," but means in a good way. :) (At least, I hope they mean it in a good way.... </paranoid>)

A funny: one of our group who normally writes poems brought something last night that was specifically designed not to be her usual style of poetry. She told us that up front. "It's an experiment," she said. "It's supposed to be kind of a prose poem."

So she read it to us. It was a recipe for lamb curry, but it had tidbits about the spices and observances of various sorts interspersed into the description of the preparation of the dish. It made us all hungry.

And at the end, everyone told her how poetic it was, and that she should turn it into a poem. She portrayed the making of this dish as kind of a spiritual experience, and we pointed out several subtle allusions and double meanings that gave us that impression.

None of which she intended! :)

Turns out, for instance, she had used the word "shriven" thinking it meant something else entirely (I'm guessing English is not her first language (she's Indian)), but we urged her to keep the word in because of the nice tie-in with the spiritual overtones of the rest of the piece. (Looking back on it, I think she might have meant "sheared" or maybe "divested", but we all liked "shriven.")

The look of amusement/bemusement on her face was priceless. She really was trying not to write poetry. And we praised her for her masterful poetry. :)
kaasirpent: (Money)
Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 10:09 am
[livejournal.com profile] vulcan_rc has written a wonderful post on his site, Occam's Razor, that does a very nice job of explaining the whole economic crisis we find ourselves in at the moment. Explaining it, that is, to the generation whose children will be paying for it.

I give to you Ike's Sub-Prime Primer.

(If you like it, Digg or StumbleUpon or Reddit or otherwise spread it far and wide. Writing this good deserves to be read.)
kaasirpent: (Food)
Monday, July 28th, 2008 02:36 am
Take:
  • a number of large, green jalapeño peppers

  • a quantity of cream cheese

  • some grated cheddar and Monterrey jack

  • half as many strips of bacon as you have jalapeño peppers, cut in half (the bacon strips, not the peppers)

  • [optional] a sprinkle of Bad Byron's Butt Rub (or other, lesser rub)

  • some toothpicks (2 per pepper)

  • a cheap, disposable aluminum serving tray

Use:
  • a smoker

Produce:
  • The best damned jalapeño poppers ever

The Way of the Poppers:
Cut the stem end off the peppers, and carefully scoop out all the seeds and as much of the membrane as you can get, leaving only the "meat."

Turn the serving tray upside down and, with something sharp, poke holes (the same number as you have peppers) in the bottom, and widen them with your finger to be big enough to hold the peppers upright.

Mix the cheeses. Carefully fill each pepper with the cheese mixture, taking care to get as much of it in there as possible.

Wrap each pepper with a half strip of bacon, using toothpicks straight through the pepper to secure the bacon in place. The toothpicks also serve as both a convenient way to handle them later and a method to keep the peppers from sliding through the holes in the aluminum pan.

Insert the peppers in the holes in the aluminum pan so they stand upright (cheese side up, of course).

Optionally, sprinkle the top of each pepper with some Butt Rub.

Put the whole pan into the smoker, which should be roughly 250 degrees F. Woods used: oak, cherry, hickory.

Smoke 'til bacon is crisp, cheese is bubbly, and the smell is enough to make you salivate.

Let cool long enough so cheese will not burn roof of mouth. Consume. Remember to remove toothpicks. :)

They're pretty mind-blowing by themselves, but they taste pretty damned good dipped in some Alabama White BBQ Sauce, too. I suppose Ranch dressing would do if you just had to have it, but...really, just do without. The ranch would just kill the taste.


I'll never eat another jalapeño popper that's been sawed in half, had some fake cheese-stuff heaped in, then battered and deep-fried. Feh. Those are dead to me, now.

I visited [livejournal.com profile] geek_72's place this weekend for some coding fun, and he BBQ'd the poppers, 8 lbs of pork, 10 lbs of chicken breasts, a couple of pounds of chicken legs, fixed chocolate zucchini cake/bread, "baked" beans (smoked. in. the. smoker.), freezer slaw, some loaded baked potato salad, brined cucumbers and onions with sour cream sauce, homemade BBQ sauce, and I think there might have been something else. I'm stuffed to the gills, as were Zach (of -fest fame) and [livejournal.com profile] geek_72 himself. And I brought home about 1/3 of what was left. *urp*

You wish you'd been there. You do. Trust me.

The recipe above courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] geek_72, and he said he sorta kinda got it from Guy Fieri on The Food Network on the show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," and the original recipe can be found over at Food Network.

[livejournal.com profile] geek_72's were probably better, however, but I'm certainly not going to Paola, Kansas, to find out. :)
kaasirpent: (Default)
Wednesday, July 9th, 2008 03:59 pm
Someone asked me the other day why I had chosen the name "Kaa." I was absolutely sure I had mentioned it on either LiveJournal or my old website. The old site has a little of the story, but I have never said anything on LJ. I have bemoaned that Russian git who "stole" the [livejournal.com profile] kaa account and is making no use of it that I can see. But that's neither here nor there.

Here, then, is the history of...well, me. Online. :)

I feel like James Burke doing an episode of "Connections" )

Here's the somewhat smoother answer off my old website. I leave out all the stuff about trying the other Jungle Book characters first and portray me as going directly to Kaa. Not strictly true, but not altogether false, either. :)
Why "Kaa"? I've been asked this a number of times. I'll try to answer. One of my favorite films of all time is Walt Disney's "The Jungle Book" Gotta love that cuh-ra-zy jazz, man! But before I saw the movie as an adult (I'm sure I saw it as a child, but I have little or no recollection since it was released when I was three years old), I had read and thoroughly enjoyed Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. When I saw the movie, I realized that Disney had villain-ized Kaa. I can understand this—he is a snake, after all, and snakes are (rather unfortunately) viewed in our society as "evil." All because of some misty-eyed fairy tale about a woman, an apple, and the wrath of a god. But I digress. In Kipling's The Jungle Book, Kaa is not strictly a villain. He is, at worst, out for himself. If the needs of others coincide with his own best interests, he'll help. But next time, he might just decide the same people he helped last time are now good candidates for dinner. He's not about to go slithering through the jungle like some herpetic Mary Poppins, looking for people to help. In short, he's misunderstood. As a much younger me, I felt misunderstood. So when I was looking for a new persona for my online role-playing, Kaa came to mind. He's great to role-play.

Remember in the Disney movie how the monkeys steal Mowgli from Baloo while Baloo is being his usual, lazy self, and then Baloo and Bagheera rescue Mowgli from their clutches? Would it surprise you to know that Kaa is actually the hero of that story? Well, read "Kaa's Hunting" by Rudyard Kipling. That's the story they "Disnified" to turn into the King Louie sequence in the movie. They took the hero out, turned him into Shere Khan's whiny stooge, and pandered to the masses who think of snakes as evil. It also bears repeating (no pun intended) that the character of Baloo was also "dumbed down" by Disney. In Kipling's book, he's a wise creature who is the teacher of the Law of the Jungle to all the cubs. Disney turned him into a lazy idiot. Only Bagheera and Shere Khan escaped absolute Disnification.

Because of role-playing Kaa, most of my e-mail addresses are 'Kaa@somethingorother.com/org/net/etc.' This gets me in trouble because 1) it's only 3 letters long, so I get spam addressed to "kaa, kab, kac, kad...."; 2) it stands for a number of things, including Korean-American Association, Kids Across America, and Killian and Associates, all of which are fine organizations, but they're not me; 3) a lot of people have the initials KAA; I get cubic buttloads of misdirected e-mail to Kristen, Kyle, Kevin, Kamali, Kathy...; and 4) people who think they're getting kaa@isp.com where I already have that address don't seem to be aware that the isp is automatically appending random numbers after their e-mail address, so I get replies from people who were originally mailed by kaa123@isp.com. It can be very frustrating. But I persevere.
So, there you have it. Two explanations for the price of one!
kaasirpent: (The Funny)
Friday, April 4th, 2008 08:55 am
It seems that after I posted my pictures of the EasterSnakey Basket that [livejournal.com profile] slymongoose sent me a while back, this lit an anti-procrastination fire under [livejournal.com profile] bramblekite who had also found a (different style of) snake-themed Easter basket and had just been meaning to send it. It arrived two days ago and I just now got the chance to put batteries in the camera and take a picture.

More Teh Cute )

<earworm>Why do I hear "Dueling Banjos" in my head?</earworm>

It arrived full of goodies just like the other one. Thanks EvilE and Mongi, for making my March and April more fun.

Sugar-Free Gummi Bears! Who'd-a thunk? <insert fnarging1 sounds here>
  1. On TIM, whenever Kaa eats something, he does one of three things (or a combination of all three): gulps it down with much smacking of lips and crunching of bones, slurps it down with much smacking of lips and horrible glugging noises, or gulps it down with much smacking of lips and fnarging of cartilage. I would argue that "fnarging" is as good a description of the (fictional) sound of continually chomping down on something with the texture of cartilage (or gummi bears) as you're likely to find. This led Groot (or maybe [livejournal.com profile] haloumi) to dub me Master of Unusual Onomatopoeia™. It's a badge I wear with honor.
kaasirpent: (The Funny)
Sunday, March 23rd, 2008 12:25 pm
I promised a few posts back that I'd post pictures of The Cutest Thing Ever™ as soon as I got somewhere I could take pictures and get them off the camera. Well, I took the pictures at my mother's house that very weekend (three ago), but only just downloaded them from the camera. I've had...things on my mind. But today seemed to be the appropriate day to show Teh Cute™, as you'll see when you see the pictures, which are behind the cut so your friends page will stay manageable.

Warning: Teh Cute™ )

[livejournal.com profile] slymongoose found that basket at, of all places, Wal-Mart, thought it was perfect for me (it is), made the costumes, and sent it to me in a big box with some other goodies. It was a very nice present. Makes me wish I'd made colored eggs or...you know, celebrated Easter in any way whatsoever. :)
kaasirpent: (Superpowers)
Friday, February 9th, 2007 09:38 am
Quite some time ago, I broke the most sacred rule of superheroes and revealed to you, my LJ friends, that I am not merely mild-mannered computer programmer Kaa, but that I had a number of superpowers, as well.

Dubious superpowers, certainly. But superpowers, nonetheless.

Last night I not only revealed my awesome, stunning power of KaZOT at its worst, but outed one of my best friends' superpowers, as well. A two-in-one shot, you might say.

You know (because I've told you, and clearly you all read and memorize every sacred word that I choose to type) that I have been playing around with BroadVoice VOIP phone service. The company sent me a "phone router" that (ostensibly) sits between my cablemodem and my existing router. They sent diagrams showing how to hook it up, and yea verily, it wert simple.

I followed those diagrams to the letter...and nothing happened. I couldn't get my existing router to see the Internet, no matter how many times I rebooted everything. So I called BroadVoice. The young man with whom I spoke listened to my tale of woe and advised me to...do exactly what I had already done. But, hey. I'm nothing if not accommodating, so I did it all again while he was on the phone (Cell phone; if I rebooted the phone router while on the phone...I leave the rest of that sentence as an exercise.). Nada. He said, "I don't know why it isn't working. Most routers connect with no problem whatsoever." He then advised me to try hooking it up the other way: cablemodem to existing router to phone router. We hung up.

I tried that. Nada. So, to lay the problem out before you: I can have either Internet for one hard-wired computer and BroadVoice, or no BroadVoice, but Internet through my existing wireless router. Neither of these is optimal. I want it all: phones, internet, wireless.

I have this friend named Phil. Phil is the one with the superpower I mention above. He has the ability to lay his hands on electronics and make it work. It's the polar opposite of my own power of KaZOT. You might say that I'm the supervillain to his superhero. Unlike most supervillains, however, my power is not equal to his. And this is a good thing.

He questioned me at length about the setup (he pooh-poohed my choice of wireless router, citing anecdotal evidence that D-Link is shit) and determined that I needed a crossover ethernet cable rather than the straight-through ones that I had.

Okay, fine. I went to Fry's *Mecca chord* and purchased said cable (actually, I went twice, because the first time I accidentally picked up the wrong cable, which had the wrong type of connectors on the ends, but that's beside the point). I brought it home.

With great, surging hope, I unplugged everything, hooked it all up as per the diagram, and turned everything back on in the proper sequence.

Nada. The WAN light remained dark and unblinking. Mocking me.

So I called Phil again. He said he would--and I quote--"come over and scare it into working." (He is quite aware of our polar opposite powers, as we have been friends for coming up on 17 years, and he's been coworker and/or boss for about 9 of those.)

Last night, Phil came over. We went up to my office, and I showed him the setup. I had reconnected the computer directly to the phone modem so I could have Internet and phones, but no wireless.

Phil proceeded to unhook it all and set it up exactly as was indicated in the diagram. Anyone else, I would have said, "I tried that; it didn't work." Anyone else, I would have said, "You're wasting your time."

He plugged the crossover cable into the WAN port of my existing (D-Link) wireless router. The WAN light immediately came on and started blinking merrily. Mocking me.

"I tried that!" I wailed. "I had it hooked up exactly that way! And it did. Not. Work!" Phil is used to this from me, and all it elicited was a knowing smile. He said he believed me (Did I mention 17 years?) to the point that he brought Cat-5 cable, crimpers, and even a spare router with him.

I tested everything, and it worked fine. We talked for a while, and he left.

I'll bet it wasn't 20 minutes after he left that--and I'm only guessing this is what happened--his ambiance faded from the house. The power he so easily exudes was overpowered by the weaker, but more insidious influence of KaZOT.

It stopped working. Cold. The WAN light was back to a steadfast darkness. Mocking me.

I rebooted everything in proper sequence. Nada.

I recable. Nada. Again. Nada. In my frustration, I did the only thing left for me to do: I very firmly went to bed.

This morning when I awoke to the melodious strains of NPR, I rewired again, hooking my computer directly to the phone router so I'd have at least one computer on the Internet. I IM'd Phil. Following is a lightly edited transcript of that conversation:
me: Guess what I'm about to tell you. :)
Phil: It quit working.
me: Right after you left. No joke.
Phil: I'll rent you a cardboard cutout :)
me: It's more tempting than you think. :)
Phil: What lights were on?
me: Everything was fine...except it stopped recognizing the WAN.
me: To make sure the WAN port hadn't blown cookies, I plugged the cable modem directly into it. Worked fine.
me: Rebooted everything. Still nada.
Phil: What sequence did you boot them?
me: I'm not sure whether this proves your divinity or my ability to, as Geoff [[livejournal.com profile] craftsman] would put it, "fuck up an anvil." :)
me: I unplugged the cable modem, the wireless router and the phone router, then plugged them back in in the same order.
Phil: Do the cable modem, then the phone router, and then the wireless router. That will start them in dependent order.
me: That's actually what I meant, but I'll try again in case I did lose my head in the heat of battle.
Phil: If that fails, leave them off for 5 minutes before starting them
<insert five minutes of hold music here>
me: Nothing.
[Lengthy conversation involving what kind of router to get that would be better than the D-Link model I have now.]
me: Good enough. Thanks for the help. If nothing else we've proven your power over electronics and/or my ... whatever the opposite of your power is. ;)
me: It's my superpower.
me: I should cultivate it.
Phil: Or at least learn to control it :)
me: True.
So, there you have it. Strong evidence for the existence of my superpower, Phil's superpower, or perhaps both.

Clearly, I have but one option, at this point: Shave my head and trim my beard into a goatee. If I'm going to be a supervillain, Goddammit, I should at least look like one. I already have the white, fluffy cat. All I need beyond that is a British, German or Russian (but not Belgian) accent; woefully simple plans for world-domination; ineffective henchpeople who can't follow the simplest instructions; Rube Goldberg-esque machines designed to kill my opponents spectacularly slowly; and a volcanic island lair. I have always wanted a volcanic island lair.

<goes off to check supervillainrealty.com for available volcanic lair property>
<goes off to careerbuilder.com to post an ad for 'clueless henchperson'>
<goes off to illtemperedmutatedseabass.com to see if they have some that have frickin' "LASER"s on their heads>
<goes off to rubegoldbergareus.com to see the latest in ineffective, tortuously slow methods of killing one's enemies>
<goes off to villainousaccents.com to hire a dialect coach>
<plugs in beard trimmer to charge>