Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Space Age Is Here!

My Mom and I signed up on Skype, and we had a free video call from Ecuador to Seattle! My Mom's the one on the beach, on the picture above. Jane Jetson is channeling me. My hair actually kind of looks like that these days ...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Culture Edition

This weekend was rather exciting for me, culture-wise. Friday night I went out with Michael and a bunch of wild and crazy librarians (not an oxymoron) to hear Hillstomp. I have to admit I often don't like the bands they play with, but this time, the other bands were awesome! The show was at Conor Byrne and allegedly started at 8pm. I got there at 9:15 to catch the end of the sound check for the first band. Good timing! (Why do they even bother posting starting times when it means nothing?? When I was in a band, we always started on time. So there.) The Sassparilla Jug Band kicked things off. Michael said they sounded like Tom Waits, which is right on target; a Tom Waits jug band. Conor Byrne was so crowded I couldn't even see the band! I'm not used to being crowded out of seeing this kind of music. Damn. Now everybody else likes it, too. How dare they?!

Next up was Miss Mamie Lavonna, the Exotic Mulatta and her White Boy Band. Hot damn! I hesitate to say it, but I liked her better than Hillstomp! Some Latin stuff, some New Orleans Jazz, some gypsy punk, some cabaret ... Yeah. My kinda band. I'm sad they don't have a CD, but you can hear their music on their web site.

And then, starting at midnight was Hillstomp. As an old person, I don't usually watch all three bands until 1:15 am, but it was definitely worth it that evening. There is a poorly edited (sorry, I hate seeing something published with errors that could be caught by spell check alone) but good review of the evening here.

The next morning I had a banjo workshop with Molly Tenenbaum. That could be considered culture or not, depending on how you feel about banjos.

And then I saw an amazing movie on DVD: Russian Ark. This movie takes place in the Hermitage, and envisions scenes from 300 years of Russian history. I was interested in the film because I've been to the Hermitage, but what is really amazing is that the entire film is done in one shot. It's a beautiful, interesting film. The extra bit on the DVD that shows how they made the film is just as fascinating. Rent it!

Finally, on Sunday, after a day of hiking with friends, I went to eat Indian food and watch a friend do her first solo belly dance. There were many other dancers that evening, but she was by far the best. Yay Medea!

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Bug Edition

A few interesting things this week, all about bugs!

A massive spider web in Texas made by many cooperative spiders. The thing that is the most interesting is that the spiders were of many different species! I think this could be an example of nature making a stab at an evolutionary jump in the manner of Stephen Jay Gould's theory of Punctuated Equilibrium. Perhaps species such as these would eventually co-evolve to have a permanent relationship with each other.

A guy in England put a bell jar over his bee box to get a visible honeycomb. It's pretty cool!

Our poor bun had a tick on her eyelid! Very yucky. I've only seen a few ticks in my life (one on me when I was very small!), and I've *never* seen one in Seattle. JoJo got this one from our own back yard! *shudder*. She must have got it from her gravel-pit hole we let her dig in. Maybe other animals go in there at night. JoJo does not like to be picked up, but she was perfectly still and relaxed as I held her. JoJo does like to have her eyes stroked, so I guess she knew we were grooming her. Michael pullllllllllled at the tick with tweezers, stretching her eyelid way out until the tick popped out with a metallic "tick" sound. We figure that's why they're called ticks. The tick was very tiny, otherwise you know I would have taken a picture to gross you out with!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

JoJo Disapproves!

JoJo is an official Disapproving Rabbit today. Sniff. We're so proud!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rabbit Proof Fence

I am very proud of this week's construction project. Our back fence had been slowly collapsing, and we had three small exits to the yard blocked with plastic kiddie gates to keep JoJo from escaping. The plastic was pretty ugly. I spent Monday evening and all of today shoring up the fence and replacing a cross-piece timber, constructing two wood and wire mini-fences, and one complete swinging double gate. The gate and the mini fences had to be tall enough to keep JoJo in, but short enough to allow our aging Squeaky (aka Bijou) to jump over them. I'm pretty impressed with myself! The gate actually works, and I never had to do any part of it over! I've never made a gate before, so I'm quite pleased.

After I finished the project and cleaned up, I watered the lawn to hose down all the treated wood sawdust so it wouldn't be on grass that JoJo eats. She took a trip outside and was somewhat confused by the rain on a sunny afternoon.

I'm really pleased with the new Blogger video uploader! The videos are much clearer than ones uploaded to YouTube.

On a completely different note ... Bijou has this peculiar habit of always leaving a few bits of kibble in her dish. Unless she is really hungry, there will always be at least a couple of pieces left. We figure she must believe they are necessary for more food to appear. We call them Seed Crunchies. I noticed a stellar example today when I had the camera out.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Jury Duty

I was called to jury duty for the first time last week. A couple of people have asked me about it. Here it is in a nutshell!

I just barely escaped serving on a jury. The first day I just sat around. I was pretty impressed by the assembly room! It was very comfy. We got a 2 hour lunch break, and I went shopping and walked for the whole 2 hours. I'm not used to sitting around for so long, and it was wonderful to stretch my legs.

At the end of the day they put 117 of us who hadn't yet been assigned to a judge into one pool. I was number 89 and figured I was safe. The next day about half the jurors were thrown back into the general pool, and the rest of us went upstairs to do jury selection. From the questions asked I gathered it was a murder trial involving a homeless guy, murder, crack cocaine, botched or missing evidence, and possibly racist police officers or detectives. The trial would last 2 to 3 weeks. All of the questions posed to the jury and the answers people gave were really fascinating. In that small group of people, 2 uncles, 2 aunts, 2 brothers (same guy), and one friend had been murdered. One guy had been arrested for DUI. One juror said he believed there was racism in law enforcement. The next moment we learned that the guy sitting next to him was a Federal Agent! In general, I was really impressed by everyone's thoughtfulness in the answers they gave. It gave me confidence in the system.

After much deliberation and to-ing and fro-ing of we jury folks, to waiting rooms and back, the lawyers eliminated 20 people and 2 more got to leave because of time conflicts. After they filled the jury box, I was only four spots away from having to serve!

Although I'd like to serve on a jury some day, and a murder trial is about as Law and Order as you can get, I really didn't want to be on a long trial with such heavy duty.

All in all, I found it fascinating and educational! And I got a new purse and new shoes.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Things You Don't Want In Your Mouth

Sometimes when you have eclectic happenings in your life, it's hard to come up with a title that says it all. I think this one does.

There used to be a church in Ballard (well, actually, there are a bazillion, but this is a specific one) called the Church of Divine Man. Eventually it went belly up, and some creative artistic-type renovators bought it. It's been looking very interesting, and we've wondered what's going on inside. Well, today we drove by and noticed signs on the door saying "Come In!" So we did! They were having a yard sale of lots of fantastic stuff. The guys who own the property are obviously inveterate antiquers and thrift shoppers. We came away with some nice glass coasters ... and an antique dental drill! We totally needed one of those!

It was made by the Ritter Company of Rochester, NY. We have the C model. This is an electric drill with a foot pedal that presumably controls speed. The drill arm is wonderfully articulated, and the whole arm moves and is nicely balanced by the big black ball which I assume contains the motor. It looks like it could be from the 1930s or 1940s. I'm not sure at this point.

According to the seller, the engine works! I'd like to refurbish it so it looks nice. The enamel has been drilled off in a few places due to freak drilling accidents. The chrome or nickel plating has corroded a bit. The belt/string that connects the drill to the engine needs to be replaced, and we should probably clean out the engine. I think this will be a fun project!

Well, you may be wondering what else you don't want in your mouth? How about poop! Yes, poop. One of the unpleasant things we learned about rabbits when JoJo came into our lives, is that rabbits "chew their cud." Because they eat difficult to digest fodder, it goes through twice. However, unlike cows, it really goes ALL the way through twice. JoJo seems to really enjoy her cecotropes, and it can be disgustingly fascinating to watch. So I'll let you! Enjoy!

This was my first time using Blogger's new video upload tool. I had to agree that I was not uploading anything obscene. I hope I'm not.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

I, Julia

I am in love with the old BBC series I, Claudius. I've seen the whole series many times, and when I met Michael many years ago, I really enjoyed watching them again with him. In fact, I think it's time to do it again! Especially because some clever Centurions have come up with an I, Claudius drinking game! At my age, I may have to drink prune juice, or at least Bud Light (OMG, just kidding! peh! peh! That's not even beer.), but it still sounds like a lot of fun!