Thursday, December 30, 2004

duck soup

duck soup
Originally uploaded by hamaker88.
Cold Duck

This is what happens when the canal freezes. A team of ducks with tiny ice axes bravely waddles out onto the ice and painstakingly chips out a hole so that all their duck brethren may swim in comfort. Well, as much comfort as they can get when it's about 4 degrees out.

I'm glad to say that Julia has assuaged my tree guilt by pointing out that artificial trees are not necessarily any more environmenally friendly than the brutally cut down in their prime ones. Of course, if I'd just decorated the hibiscus bush my aunt gave me that would have been the best of all worlds... but it's small. And it seems to have aphids. Neither of those things inspire me to decoration. Anyway, I presented nearly all my friends with diseases for Christmas; hey, that's the reason for the season, right? Nothing says "I care" like ebola virus. Happy New Year, y'all.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Tree 2004

Tree 2004
Originally uploaded by hamaker88.
O Xmas Tree
O Xmas Tree
You Make Me Feel
So Guil-ty...

I bought my tree on December 15 this year, which is really the ideal time for tree-buying. I argued with some friends last night about the perfect tree-erection scehdule (hmm, that doesn't sound right....) and the simple fact is that I'm right, and they're nuts. Setting up an Xmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving is loopy--if the tree's up for a month and a half, where's the excitement in that? And by the time Xmas arrives, the tree is so dry and brittle, no matter how much water you've applied to its oozing stump, that it now constitutes a major fire hazard in the living room. Ideally it should be bought between Dec. 10-15, and taken down on Twelfth Night. Anybody tells you anything different, you send them to me and I'll set them straight.

Now, I know some of you are saying, "But....aren't you Jewish, or something? Why do you have a tree at all, you poser?" The thing is, I'm the reverse of what Jeremy describes in his post on Christmas. I grew up in a secular protestant household, and while I made philosophical choices about my own religious beliefs which led me toward Judaism during my adolescence and adulthood, I find the rituals surrounding Xmas to be key for my enjoyment of the holiday season. I'm not talking dumb rituals like overextending my credit cards and indulging in rampant commercialism; these are the family rituals, such as baking the same cookies I enjoyed helping make as a child, hanging the stocking I've had since I was a baby, and buying and decorating a tree. The last has special meaning for me, for as a hard core environmentalist I've struggled with the idea of killing a live tree each year for my holiday enjoyment. I've thought of getting an artificial one, like so many of my friends, but the idea is kind of repellant to me. I like the smell, and I like the feel of the branches when I'm decorating it.... So I think of it in religious terms, this being a religious holiday. While I personally have a hard time accepting the idea that Christ died for my sins, I'm damn sure that this tree did. I appreciate that. It came from a tree farm, they cut them down at a certain size no matter what.... but if I bring it into my home for a month, decorate it, smell it, and appreciate it, then its sacrifice was not in vain!

How's that for spin?

Monday, December 13, 2004

And Then I Woke Up, and the Semester Was Over!

Thank god that's over. Technically, of course, it's not over; I have an exam tomorrow. But I swear, I have never in my life cared less about prepping for an exam than I have for this one... First, it won't be hard, and second, this class was rather a large pain in the butt which culminated in my turning in two large projects last week. Once those were out of my hands, well..... what exam? Assuming I don't fail the class, I'm only 9 credits away from the master's. Three classes. Next year, at this time, another shiny papery degree on my wall. Mmmm. Then what?

Bathroom remodelling, apparently. No, wait, that needs to happen sooner than the degree. That needs to happen way soon. Blue? Green? Tiled walls? Tiled floor? New vanity? And how the hell am I going to get that stupid bathtub out of there...

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Like a Beach Vacation in My Bathroom

I had planned to write something about my adventures exploring the wreckage of my family's old business this week, with the welcome assistance of Butterfly Woman. Was going to call it Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Ruined Factory or something equally enticing. It was pretty damn cool, kind of like an archaeology dig and a post-apocalyptic movie set all rolled into one... But then my plumbing backed up this morning. (Technically, it also backed up Thursday night, but I thought that was a freak accident.) This sent me into a spiral of un-Nancy-like grouchiness. The pipes from my house to the septic tank have a very shallow grade, meaning that gravity isn't working for me as it should, and the pipes are prone to blockage. I'm careful about what I put down them because of this, but apparently we've reached that point again where running the dishwasher or the washing machine causes water to pour from all orifaces of the downstairs bathroom, specifically the tub drain and the toilet. The downstairs bathroom is pretty horrible to begin with, and the occasional floodings haven't helped it. I kept the catbox in the tub down there for a while, since I wasn't using it as a bathtub, and it nicely contained any spilled kitty litter and the occasional cat accident. I moved the catbox a while ago, but there's still a lot of residual cat sand and clay dust in the room. Combine that with a few gallons of water bursting up through the pipes, and voila! It's just like Maui, only with ugly linoleum peeling up at the corners.

So I've had it with the occasional floods. I ripped up the linoleum tonight, I ripped the wallpaper off the walls and the crappy fake woodwork trim off the baseboard. Tomorrow I'm cutting out the carpet in the hallway outside, which is soaked beyond reclaimation. After school finishes up next week, I'm going carpet shopping. Meanwhile, the plumber comes on Tuesday. Nancy Drew will have to wait.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Oh No! We're on Bert Alert!

It's about time someone started taking this homeland security terror alert level thing seriously.

Terror Alert Level

As a service to my readers, who want to stay up to date on the current state of our nation's safety, I've put a permanent link to this terror alert system on the left sidebar. When the Dept. of Homeland Security updates our terror level, you'll be among the first to know! (I find it strangely appropriate that the highest level of threat to our nation is "Elmo Alert." He's easily the most alarming muppet ever.)