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September 2008
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qotd, more politics edition

"The most popular soap opera of 2008 has been the presidential campaign. Those of us who've become addicted to it (I am one, although I say it with no pride) have had a chance to savor every quip, gaffe and tear. We've listened to thousands of pundits and 10,000 sound bites. If words were weasels, we all would've been bitten to death."

-- Stephen King, EW 10-31-08.

going batty, with pumpkins

It is amazing how much fun one can have with a headband and some bats on wire. I post these photos mostly for the grandparents as well as for the later generations who will marvel at our delight over simple things.



I believe the sentence I uttered just before Maddy snapped the picture below was, "would you just take it before Barney attacks my head again!"


I swear that he thought the bats were whispering crude insults about his mother.

Pumpkins, of course, have been carved.


This was the first year M got to use a sharp implement on her very own pumpkin. Witness the glee in her eyes. I hope it's glee. Whatever it is, I find it marginally unsettling.


Cory was only allowed access to a marker -- our goal is to keep him away from sharp things for at least 15 more years -- and Scott cut out the result. The front of the pumpkin is tragedy. See if you can guess what the back is:


And so we are now as ready as we're going to be for tomorrow.

In an unrelated note -- if you were discussing bringing your mid-day meal with you to school, would you call it a "sack lunch" or a "bagged lunch?"


dangerous food

This is about as bad as the so-bad-we-must-dismiss-early storm got. I am bitter.


Still, even bitter me, must admit that it was kinda pretty -- and having Maddy around gave me an excuse to work on the squirrel mittens, which just need thumbs now.

Over the weekend, in honor of Halloween, I made a treat that kept me in suspense. Below is what faux caramel looks like when finished and rests benignly beside some apple slices*:


In order to make it, however, I spent three hours nervously watching a pot simmer and waiting for an explosion. I love recipes that have a potential to blow globs of molten sugar all over the kitchen.

The technique (such as it is. really this couldn't be easier as long as you don't think too much about it) is fully explained here. Essentially, you take a can of sweetened condensed milk, put it in a pot, cover it with a goodly amount of water and simmer for three hours. Then wait another goodly amount of time before you try to open it.

It's tasty, too.

But, really, the best part was standing in the kitchen with my spouse thinking about what the resulting eruption would look like if the can underwent a critical failure. Good times.


* Macoun, which is my preferred out-of-hand variety.

many things make a post

I am currently filled with rage because the wusses at the Oneonta School District offices have decided to let the kids go early today because there is talk of 3-5 inches of snow this afternoon. I'd like to state that if we have three inches of snow by Wednesday morning, I will lick it off the sidewalk with my tongue because it is far too warm for it to amount to much but no one ever listens to me, which is probably a good idea in the long run but on this snow accumulation thing I'm pretty sure I'm right. Bastards. There goes my day of getting caught up on stuff, thwarted by some pansies who don't realize that we live in Upstate New York where it snows every now and again.

Anyhoo - many things, which I'll post now so that I can at least get some class notes done before I fetch my eldest child:

* How flippin' cute is this: Acorn Cakelet Pan?

* Garrison Keillor slaps ( in his polite Midwestern way) the Republican Party and Palin. And in more Palin news, a dramatic re-enactment by Norton, Newton and Gervais of Nailin' Palin. (NSFW, sorta.)

* Now is the time to go to Iceland for Christmas.

* Joss Whedon explains what's up with Dollhouse and why fans shouldn't panic. And does anyone else find Whedonesque's white type on black really hard to read?

* Simon Le Bon is 50 -- and EW dug out an old clip of Le Bon, Rhodes and Taylor (John) recording Mtv promos, which seems like as good a birthday present as any, I guess.

* "The club is composed of young women and girls who have been embarrassed by men in automobiles and on street corners."

* This just makes me sad.

* This is the type of news that pains me: American Doctor Who fans are usually Republicans. Also, crafting the vote with a knitted dress. (Go click on that last link just so that you can see the photo. It is something to behold.)

the ritual of the frosting

As we have in years' past celebrated the 'ween that is Hallo, this weekend marked the making of the spooky cupcakes.


Take unfrosted cupcakes (both standard and gluten-free), add candy and children.


The sugar high speaks for itself.


This is Cory, aka The Dude.


This is the cupcake that he "decorated." There was some adult help involved. And, why, may you ask did he require more help?


Because he couldn't stop eating the candies long enough for his monster to have a face, which was the entire point of the exercise.



Fun was had. Candy was consumed. Cupcakes got scary.

qotd, Pratchett edition

"She is a lady, although my limited experience of her suggests that she is also a mixture of Boadicea without the chariot, Catherine de' Medici without the poisoned rings and Attila the Hun without his wonderful sense of fun. Do not play cards with her, because she cheats like a Mississippi bustout dealer, keep sherry away from her, do everything she says, and we might all live."

-- Terry Prachett, Nation, which if you haven't already bought and read, you really must. Now. Go.

little things

Back when I used to spend most of my time in an office that wasn't also in my house, one of the guys that I worked with used to do the same thing ever year when the new phone books showed up. Gary'd clutch it to his chest, channel his inner Navin R. Johnson, and shout, "The new phone books are here! This is the kind of publicity that makes people! Things are going to start happening to me now!"

Today, my new cards arrived.*  I just keep thinking about Gary.


How nifty are these? Love. This is the kind of publicity that makes people.**

The cards were done by Dolce Press, who were recommended by Unionpurl. The art is from iStock.


* I intended to have them before Rhinebeck, so that I could hand them out in a good and productive way. The letterpress had other plans.

** I am aware that you can read my address in this shot. Please don't come kill me or my family. The cats would be very, very sad. And hungry. Besides, I have a big dog who will eat your face if you even try it. And a gun. Which the dog knows how to use. Or something.

many thing make a post

* What it is like to live with the Dude.

* Candy Corn demystified. This does not explain, however, why it is impossible to eat just one piece.

* Planet Money: the podcast you really ought to be listening to. Srsly. The fact that I now understand what a CDO is, why it seemed like a good idea and why it wasn't is proof alone that this podcast can explain economics to even the most non-economically inclined brain.

* Frank Bruni's review of Candle 79 hits on the thing that has always made me nuts about vegan/vegetarian restaurants, which is the compulsion to make plants look/taste like meat. No, I don't want a "hamburger" that is vegan. I want something that is what it is and doesn't attempt to pass as something else.

*There are many social situations that we are just not prepared for. Cherie Preist has discovered another one of them. What could one say, other than, "wow. that just sucks."

* What I will do next time I'm near Rockefeller Center.

* In case you failed to appreciate the wonder that is blood.

* Sedaris on undecided voters in The New Yorker.

*  First step when confronted by terrorism: Do Not Discard Brain.

* If, as this nightshirt tells me, I'm supposed to "Sleep Naked," why do I need to buy the nightshirt in the first place?

* As myfriend Trish puts it, Margaret and Helen are my kind of old ladies. May we both endeavor to be the same.

* Mark Lamb! In the New York Times! I know him! And am excited for him! Great is my woot!