Thursday, August 27, 2015
While not a Christmas tree - my potted vine filled in:
And the last gratuitous shot is because I'm pretty proud of how well the top was finished:
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Next I also read 2 books in the Spellbound Falls series by Janet Chapman. Also quick and easy, with a touch of magic without serious evil pitted against it... and no murders!! Maximillian Oceanus is a theurgist, who is technically thousands of years old but appears in his early thirties, his father Titus built Atlantis. He goes to Maine to a camp run by Olivia to connect with the six year old son, Henry, he didn't know he had. (I'm pretty sure since he can choose what time to be in - Henry was actually born in Feudal England) He falls for Olivia and literally moves mountains for her.
The second book has Mac and Olivia taking Henry and Sophia (Olivia's daughter) on an RV trip to California so Sophia can donate bone marrow to her half brother, who came out in the first book. This leaves us alone to watch Duncan and Peg try not to fall for each other, while Duncan (who's father was an 8th century Scottish Laird who had been transported to this one - not leaving all his antiquated beliefs behind) discovers that he is not the only member of his clan without magic, but must convince Peg to help him obtain it. I really do like how Peg is able to handle her own battles, because really the whole helpless female, big strong male thing is annoying- I have no issues with big, strong males - but why do the women have to be so freakin useless sometimes??
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
There are 2 parts of this system I really love. You can pick ( I think 10 - I only have 5) your favorite authors from the best seller list, and when new books from that author come into the system you are automatically entered onto the waiting list. Then like magic (since sometimes I'm not actually aware they came out with a new book) you get an e-mail that it is ready for pickup. Since there are people on the waiting list, you don't get to renew though, so it goes to the top of my working on it pile.
Here's the second great thing about the request list: you can specify activation dates. It isn't a guarantee that you'll get it on the date (pretty much you won't because depending on which library it's coming from, if it isn't your pick up library, it takes from 4-8 days of transit time for the book to be ready) and someone else can have the book out etc etc. It is, however, a great system for when you read about a book, but don't want to start reading it today - you can space out your requests. You can then move the date up or back if you are ready sooner or need more time to finish what you have out. Right now I have books out from today until December! Today I discovered a drawback. You can only have 25 items on your request list. So I need to get some reading done, or I'll have to take some books off the list if I want to add more to the list.
I'm putting a page break here, so if you don't want to see the current list you don't have to click.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Friday, August 14, 2015
This time of year, when the tomatoes are overflowing my bowls, I have to make tomato pie. I made it last night with pepper jack cheese, bacon, onion, garlic and Italian seasoning in the cheese/mayo mix, three kinds of basil chiffonaded in with the tomato, and a crumb topping made with panko, Italian seasoning, parmesan, Romano and asiago shredded cheeses, then a final sprinkle of smoked paprika
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Sy Montogmery is a naturalist who gets to know several octopuses at the new England Aquarium. Athena, Octavia, Kali and Karma each have a different "personality" or would that be pusonality? She gets to know them on their terms and in their time. She also befriends people that work and volunteer at the aquarium with the octopuses. She tries to explore the question of what it might be like inside their "brains" especially considering each arm has it's own brain that is bigger than the central brain and can act on it's own - if you want a champion multitasker get an octopus.
She learns some of their color pattern's meaning. (if you see a living octopus that is white - it's relaxed) goes diving on an octopus study - discovering wild octopuses can be playful with humans too.
I will tell you I cried at Octavia's death. I so want a pet octopus - even more now!
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Now some genius - and I mean cost cutting profit obsessing moron - came up with the plan of one giant tent store:
With drivers having little "booths" in the tent - there was a women's booth (nightmare to shop - I'll explain in a bit) but that tiny tent in the background? That's the checkout tent. With a giant roped line and the cashiers couldn't figure out the registers - and when a cashier was free they'd wave a flag and you had to figure out which row they were in since the cashier's were in rows lined up back to back.
You had to rummage around to find the size you wanted. The booths that were brand oriented had hats or other stuff on a shelf with shirts/jackets on hangers underneath. BUT if you saw a row of Jimmie Johnson hats, there might be Denny Hamlin shirts underneath. As someone who hates shopping, despises shopping sales because of the disorganization that ensues and is really hard pressed to shop clearance or other "bargain" outlets because of the need to keep flipping to find sizes or styles - this was my worst nightmare. And not just that - those Denny Hamlin t-shirts - were mixed with Donkey face t-shirts - not even the same manufacturer of car much less team!! And they were mixed up in quantities that you can't blame the fans shopping - like I tell the guys at work - if there is 1 or 2 things that don't belong - ok a customer dropped it there. If there are case quantities in the wrong place - some moron packed it out wrong!
While I admire the fact that it seems they helped out the local economy by hiring locals, instead of having the people that drove the rigs selling the products - no one that worked there could answer any questions! They all admitted there were boxes of more products behind the shelves - but didn't know where to look if someone wanted a size that was sold out on the hangers! And mind you - with the no reentry policy, it's not like you could come back later to see if more got stocked out!
I cannot tell you how many people I over heard saying they'd go online to buy, or go to a local store. Some took pictures so they'd know what they were looking for.
THE WORST PART--- yup the above was just a prelude to the horror. Here's a picture of the interior of a booth - from Friday, when there are not that many fans at the track yet:
Look at where that lady is standing. Now imagine several people, with backpacks and coolers (because they can't shop and then come back in, they had everything with them as they shopped) trying to turn that corner while one person tried to look at the stuff.
It was impossible. I had a backpack, but I'm spoiled and Curt carries the cooler filled with more than people at a Saharan oasis could drink, and I was constantly getting jostled by people hitting my backpack, and hit with coolers as people next to me got jostled. I just gave up. And I'm pissed. I actually look forward to my new Tony Stewart wear each summer.
I won't be buying at nascar.com that's for certain. I'll still buy from SHR and Tony's website. Maybe I'll see if Realtree sells online. I can tell you this - there won't be as much purchased.
So if you see me in the future, I will probably be wearing more Devils, 49ers and Mets gear. The Devils make it easy to shop, since I don't like going into the city I expect to order Mets stuff online - or it's sold in a lot of local retailers since they are one of the local teams ( Devils too - but some of it has been contaminated by proximity to Rangers, Islanders and Flyers stuff in stores) and since I'm on the opposite coast I know I have to order the 49er stuff I want.
Monday, August 10, 2015
First I want to say that Pocono was my favorite racetrack. Been going to race weekends there forever. Will be there in 2 weeks again for the Indy race. But lately they have been adding and changing rules faster, more often and with less sense than NASCAR changes it's rulebooks!
Last summer, they wouldn't let you bring in aerosol spray sunscreen. Yet there was a tent in the fan fair giving them away? So if you liked that brand you could just bring your freebie in. This June, some of the bag screeners were stopping aerosol sunscreen and others were letting them in ( I would have been livid if I just lost a can and saw other people in the stands using it) Then last weekend, people were allowed to bring it in. (realistically since I itch if I encounter SPFs over 12-15 - I'd rather not get hit with overspray - but it's the principle)
This June - they said once you enter you can't re-enter if you leave. This totally screwed up a lot of peoples' shopping plans. My original plan is I tailgate breakfast, and around 8:30 we go in and check out the shopping.. buy some more coffee ( I'm usually done with the coffee I bring with me at that point) and go back out to the tailgate to ponder. Then around 10:30 when my brain decides that I want all of it, I go back in and buy (basically the majority of my non-work wardrobe) and bring the bags out to the car. Then we break down the tent, and go in the track at around 12 - buying lunch at one of the stands and heading up to our seats. So in June I bought 1 shirt, because I didn't want to have to lug stuff around. Last weekend I bought one toddler shirt.
Mind you - they said it was for "security" reasons. How exactly?? Curt, who always has his pocket knife with him, had it in his back pocket. Glass and umbrellas are pretty much what they looked for at the bag checks. And they weren't stopping anyone from leaving. So it isn't like a potential "badguy" could do his damage and not escape. In today's world of suicide killers would no escape even matter?
Basically, a pointless rule. Supposedly advised by law enforcement -- yeah I've seen them dealing with traffic -- not impressed. Many of us tailgating thought it was to force more concession stand sales. If that was the case, it was a fail - my unscientific survey showed that everyone was under the impression that lines were shorter not longer, and it wasn't like there were more vendors spreading people out. I think that without re-entry more people stayed outside the track longer.
I thought I was dealing with this change rather well, until around 1130, when I started seeing people heading back to their cars with shopping bags. Not just one or 2, but a bunch of separate groups of people!! I finally asked one... he apparently asked 4 or 5 people that worked the gate and discovered --- you could leave after your ticket was scanned as long as you weren't in side for more than 45 minutes! And then they gave you a re-entry ticket that could be scanned for you to get back in!!!!
What the fuvk??????? Other people in our tailgate area had tried and were told there is no re-entry ticket!!! Because clearly, between Saturday and Sunday someone realized what a boneheaded plan it was, and since they can't reprogram all the ticket scanners this reentry ticket was devised. Only not only did the fans not know - the people working the gates didn't know!! When Curt and I went finally went in - the guy who scanned our ticket informed us there was no re-entry!!
Sunday, August 9, 2015
Tuesday night we went to one of my top 3 favorite restaurants - Hot Rods in Wharton. Where one of the best ciccerones (ok I have no idea how to spell that) works. One of my pet peeves is a "craft beer pub" that is 95% IPAs with a couple of sours and maybe a cider thrown in. Some of us don't like IPAs!!! Chris has a really great on tap list - yes there are IPAs, but there are ales and stouts and other interesting things for people like me (as well as a pretty long bottle list) I got a flight.
From left to right is Nitro Milk Stout (super smooth and creamy low abv of 6% I could drink a gallon), Great Divide Chocolate Yeti (9.5% abv- super chocolatey), Magnify Black Wheat (espresso, malty with some hoppy kick 5%abv - brewed in Fairfield NJ - and they have a tasting room... oh Curt!!)and Angry Erik (I don't remember which it is - they are located in Lafayette, NJ have a tasting room -BYOF - that's bring your own food - and they fill growlers and grunts!!!!) The Angry Erik was like the perfect compromise between wanting an ale and wanting a bourbon. I spent the entire evening with that one...
The one thing I HAVE to have when going to Hot Rods is the bacon wrapped burnt ends. Seriously the best food ever!! You can see the plate before I got to them in front of Curt up top.
I couldn't stop myself from taking a bite of my burger - ok several bites - before remembering to take a picture. I got the Choppperblox - rare. As you can see - they actually know how to make a rare burger ( I really don't trust the "freshness" of meat in places that won't do rare) topped with BRISKET and BACON, habenero jack cheese - I left off the onions. Burger heaven!! Seriously no need to decide if I want a burger or brisket when I can have both - and topped with bacon?? The bad day I had just melted away. Curt had ribs. I was too busy eating my burger to take a picture of his dinner... oops
And yes - I was bad and had almost half of dessert... so worth it...
Thursday, August 6, 2015
I made it to fit a child's head, I'm planning on giving it to Christopher, and it was just a tad too small to fit on my glass head. So it's kind of weird shaped as I stuck it on a wax lumiere (candle inside wasn't lit) to take the pictures. Now I need to find a book about fish to give him with this.