Showing posts from August, 2008

Getting your bugs in a row

The phrase is more commonly "getting your ducks in a row" but I never really understood the meaning of that and besides, there's a lot more bugs around here than ducks.

So here's a perspective study with several moths lined up, more or less, along the heads of nearby plants. I've been thinking of taking up some arty hobby again, after a long lapse, and pictures like this help inspire me.

I've not decided what medium to work with tho. I used to do mostly oils with an occasional foray into black monochrome watercolor mixed in.

This time, I don't know. Watercolor, acrylic, pastels... I'd love to work with charcoal but I've never shown any talent for it. That's the type of work that I like best. To me it reaches into the soul of the subject being portrayed far more than the colorful but superficial feeling paints and gels.

Quick Dell

When I bought my last computer from Dell in September of 2000 it took 3 weeks for the thing to be built and then delivered to me.

This time it was a lot quicker.

I ordered it Tuesday, it was shipped on Wednesday, and it's out for delivery today. It even passed through Atlanta and Roanoke to visit, at least in an ethereal way, with friends of mine. ;-)

Since I'm not at home today, it's possible that DHL won't leave it--however since I live in a quiet remote area the delivery people often do. I guess I'll find out around 6pm when I get home.

Update: The DHL person just called to check if I wanted her to leave the computer at the house and I said yes so it'll be waiting for me there. Don't any of you get any ideas and grab it!!!

New Computer

I finally have had enough of my current computer. It'll be 8 years old in 6 weeks and it's been having issues for years. So far I've always managed to get it to work again but I'm pushing my luck a little too far.

I've been having the blue screen of death appear about every third bootup. Now this isn't the first time this has happened but in the past there was usually a reason I could determine for the problem. Often insufficient hard drive space, sometimes incompatible devices would make for boot problems, but this time I have enough open room on the HD, sufficient RAM and no new devices installed.

As a result, when I saw mention at today that Dell was selling a computer for under $300 I finally decided to take the plunge.

Dell Inspiron 530N Desktop $274, Aug 26

Dell Home has Inspiron 530N Desktop for $239 + $35 shippingIntel Pentium dual-core E2180 (1MB, 2.00GHz, 800FSB)2GB, 250GB, DVD Burner, Intel Graphics Accelerator 3100Ubuntu Linux version 8.04 w…

Yellow Monday

I went on a 7 mile hike Sunday and this is all I got you.

Saturday Dinner

These are the ingredients. I'm giving the premade pizza dough from Trader Joe's a try here. It's 99 cents a pound. Not bad.

Lots of yummy cheese on this lovely baby. As you can see in the close-up below.

Wordless Wednesday meets Itchy Friday


Diets are not all the same

Mood often drives what I eat. Lately I've been grumpy and when that is so, I generally am too lazy to do any cooking. As a result I've had little other than potato chips and Pepsi this past week and a half.

And my belly has rejoiced. My body, and more directly--my intestines, really handle candy, soda and naughty things like that quite well.

Unfortunately today I decided to cook my first "real food" in the past 12 days. Those burgers over there to the left. Big mistake. HUGE! (I think I lifted that from the shopping scene in Pretty Woman)

Tomorrow I go back to salty snacks and soda.

At least the burgers tasted really good. :-)

More Medical Stuff

In the continuing drama of my medical condition, now my doctor wants me examined by allergy folk. So, in around 10 hours, I'll be at that place pictured below. It's an allergy clinic.

Don't you just love Google Maps? I really love to look at a place with the satellite setting before I drive there. It's so much easier to navigate when you have a mental picture of what the surroundings look like beforehand.

One thing I'm pretty sure of is that I'm allergic to cats. It's the evil that dwells within them, y'know? I'm very sensitive to evil.

Antidepressants are the new Alcohol

This is kinda interesting. According to a study by University of North Dakota psychologists Holly Dannewitz and Tom Petros, people taking prescription antidepressants appear to drive worse than people who aren't taking such drugs. Furthermore, depressed people on antidepressants have even more trouble concentrating and reacting behind the wheel.

I wonder if MAD is going to jump on this. Given how many middle aged women are on antidepressants, that might not be in their best interests. According to the study, 1 in 10 adult women in the USA is on some form of antidepressant. That's hard to believe!

In any case, the study recruited 60 people to participate in a driving simulation in which participants had to make a series of common driving decisions while being distracted by speed limit signs, pylons, animals, other cars, et cetera. Thirty-one of the participants were taking at least one type of antidepressant while 29 control group members were taking no medications with the excep…


For the most part I have a very even disposition but occasionally I'll enter a foul mood and that's happening now. For around a week I've been grumpy, When I feel this way I tend to avoid contact with others as much as I can and just sulk until I get over it. This is why I've not been posting much of late. I just don't feel very social. So fuck off.

Still here? Can't take a hint, huh? Well if you're still reading I'll let you know who I'm currently following in the Olympics. Christina Loukas. That's her over on the left. Looks pretty serious doesn't she?

Loukas is a 22 year old diver from Chicago. As you can surmise from her name, her family originally came from Greece. She caught my eye 'cause she's what I like to see in an athlete: muscular. This woman looks like she could bench press cars. She's fantastic.

Her father played college football and her uncle made it to the pros (well, the Bills which is almost the same thing) so ath…


I've watched more Olympic coverage this year than any year since the Montreal Olympics back in 1976.

It was those games that first introduced me to the amazing things that could be done by the human body, Nadia Comăneci of Romania and Nellie Kim (picture to the left) of the USSR being the main teachers. It was the year of the original "10" and gymnastics would never be the same. After this the dance like grace of traditional European gymnastics would be far less important and in would come strength moves and incredible tumbling skills. Athleticism from girls and young women that the world had never seen before on the International stage.

Back in the 80s it was Mary Lou Retton that dazzled audiences at the 1984 games in Los Angeles with her dynamic gymnastic prowress. Her muscular form is nearly duplicated in today's Shawn Johnson and they also share an infectious smile. Johnson probably won't be seeing Olympic gold but there's little doubt that she's a mark…

Science can be Pretty

This is using a tri-chrome stain. The red is muscle and vascular tissue. The blue is adipose tissue and a special material we're using in our assay. The final color is black which stains the nuclei, but this magnification isn't high enough to see them.

Droopy Drought

The lack of rain here is making even sweet and innocent petals droop. It's all very sad, y'know?

Modest Needs

I read about a very interesting organization today. The name is Modest Needs and they're a not-for-profit organization that directly help people with short term but critical financial needs. The article I read is in the August 11th issue of Forbes.

The organization was started by Keith Taylor, an English teacher at Middle Tennessee State University in Nashville. He initially had a small website through which he'd dispense $350 a month, 10% of his income, to people that needed small amounts of money to bridge small crises. Like that little bit extra needed to cover rent, an urgent car repair, hospital bill, etc.

What I find so appealing about this is that you actually can pick who you give money to--and know that the money is immediately helpful. Modest Needs doesn't give the money to the individual, but rather to the creditor that the individual owes money to. And these financial problems are vetted by Modest Needs to ensure that they are legitimate. And, interestingly en…


I am so sleepy. It's all my fault, of course. Last night, around 8pm, I started reading a new book from the library. Power Play by Joseph Finder. I finished the book this morning at 6:50am---which made trying to go to sleep at that late hour quite moot.

I used to do that sort of thing all the time when I was a kid, and even in my 20s and 30s. But now that I getting to the outer edge of my 40s, reading all night long really makes going to work the next day difficult. Very difficult!  Zzzzzz.

The book was quite interesting. It involved a fellow that had a difficult childhood and how those early difficulties allowed him to deal well with a sticky situation. The sticky situation was his being kidnapped along with a bunch of executives of his company and held for ransom. As you can probably guess, violence and cunning quickly come to the fore in the plot. It was a good book though after a while the flashbacks to the fellows childhood, while quite illuminating, did get a mite tedious. I…

Piggy, piggy

For the second night in a row I made a chicken fried pork cutlet dinner.

The other day I bought 2 pounds of pork cutlets on clearance  that were almost out of date... so I needed to eat them fast. Both last night and tonight I ate a pound of fried pork with a 25 ounce jar of apple sauce on the side. Last night it just felt good and tasted great but tonight was a different story.

You seem I had unknowingly run out of potatoes and so last night I went without.  Tonight was a different story, however; I had stocked up on taters again and the addition of the those spuds really made the meal too big. I was so full when I finished eating, round 10pm, that I was having hot flashes!  It really tasted good but you have to know your limits. I hope in the future I remember mine.  *burp*

Sleepless in NC

I watched two movies during the night/morning and liked them both. Neither had very good ratings so I almost skipped them but I'm glad I decided to watch them despite the bad reviews.

Now, granted many people would not like the first movie, Shoot 'em Up, and most people would not enjoy the second move, George and the Dragon (AKA Dragon Sword) but I liked them. Maybe I was in a very forgiving mood this morning 'cause both movies were a little off the usual path.

Shoot 'em Up is a frantic action flick that lives up to its name. It's more a spoof of Tarentino films than anything else but it's done in such a strong straight forward style that it lives on its own merits not only as a spoof. It got a score of 7/10 on IMDB, but they're very forgiving on that. The critics on Rotten Tomatoes only gave it 59/100 and I can see their point. This movie is nonstop action, on steroids!, and the often ridiculous fight scenes can be almost insane. But, at least to my eyes, it…

Good News

I received a letter in the mail today from my doctor.

It's good news for a change. While I had thought that my blood pressure was lower than what my doctor thought, which is why I insisted on the 24 hour monitor that I used this past Monday-Tuesday, I still was concerned. As it turns out, my BP was lower than either my doctor or I thought.

According to the letter, my average over the 24 hour span was 127/76. That's definitely better than I was expecting and keeps me from having to take meds. Now if I can get something done about my IBS and high triglycerides things will be much better.

I actually tried an experiment regarding the IBS this weekend. The last time I was symptom free was for a couple of months after my colonoscopy 2 years ago. I figure there was 3 things that happened at that time which were novel to this procedure and might have alievated my symptoms. First, I had to drink 4 liters (slightly over a gallon) of Tri-lyte to clear out my intestines. Second, I got poked…


In the September 2008 issue of Saveur, a magazine dedicated to authentic cuisines where ever they can be found, there's an article that has a very local flavor, if you will, to me.

The title is Why We Love Watermelon and thus it'll come as no surprise that the writer, Dana Bowen, chose to explore the topic of Watermelon.

Normally I'd skip over a topic as sweet as this because I have a nasty allergy to many fruits. This is known as Oral allergy syndrome (OAS) and while it's not usually dangerous, as are some food allergies, it is quite annoying. OAS is apparently the body misinterpreting fruit as pollen and it causes your mouth to burn and itch---and I can assure you, it itches A LOT! But to get back to my point---don't you hate it when a writer is constantly going off on tangents? oops---this article is based right here in the RTP area of North Carolina.

Bowen starts off the article by mentioning the State Farmers Market in Raleigh, NC and quickly establishes that d…