Not a Good Day for Tech

I have not had a tech-friendly sort of day.

First, I broke my blog. I actually did the breaking last night, but thought it was just my laptop being all funky. I broke the blog by putting too many reciprocal link buttons and scripts in my sidebar, which freaked out the php editor, which ceased to process updates. I fixed it, after much cursing, this morning, by moving said links to a page labeled RECIPROCITY. Along with buttons, the Thursday Thirteen blogroll is on this page.

Then, I realized that while I did reclaim my cute pink ipod shuffle from Fuzzy before his trip, I do not have, nor do I know the location of, the dongle that allows one to connect to a computer for charging and/or refilling. This is only slightly frustrating, as my Zen Vision M, and my old Zen Micro are still floating around the house (I use the former of the two daily).

Also, my login for a website I need for work refuses to function, and then a password for a new work-related website also refused to function. Three passwords later I finally gained access but it was excruciatingly slow.

And lastly? Cable went out in the middle of Eureka tonight. I called them, and they had me on hold for fifteen minutes before I got to someone who couldn’t do anything. Oh she sent a reset signal to my boxes, but it didn’t help. She then said they could send a tech on Saturday. I explained that I work on the net and since internet was also down, that was a problem. Now, we all know that I have a redundant system for just such occasions (thank you AT&T DSL) but that really isn’t the point. (As it turns out, it’s area wide, and therefore a tech is working on it NOW, but it’s still part of my bad tech day).

So. Broken blog. No Dongle. Static instead of cable.

But the cherries are delicious.

On Tap

I hate my bathroom cabinets, and I’m not too fond of the sinks (I have two) or shower head either. Taps especially are a concern of mine. I mean, I like the bathroom itself – it’s spacious and has a window, and I like that the shower enclosure is completely separate from the bathtub, but the taps on the tub are old and kind of grungy, and the shower control has the hot and cold reversed.

Because of this, I spend a lot of time reading home decor magazines, and surfing websites for kitchen and bath fixtures, bathroom suites, and stuff like that. So far, I’ve learned that I really like those sinks that look sort of like ceramic bowls set into the counter, with gleaming chrome or copper taps arching above them.

I was at a site called, recently, and I saw a great faucet that was a tinted green glass disc, and the water poured down it. Functional, but artistic at the same time, this waterfall tap really intrigued me, but then I realized that it wouldn’t mesh with my house. Sadly, I can’t afford to redo my bathroom just now.

If I could afford to replace the fittings, I’d go to a site like Taps4Less. They mainly cater to folks in the UK, and offer free delivery to people who live in “mainland UK” (their phrase), and of course, that’s an ocean away from me (though not from some of you), but I really liked their array of designs for kitchens, baths, sinks and showers, and their brands include names I’ve heard of, like Hudson Reed and Mira.

The one thing I think would make their site stronger is an obvious way to search by brand, but the reality is that most people probably just want to see what things look like, and note the brand name later.

Still, has an impressive catalog of kitchen and bath fixtures, and I had great fun imagining some of their products in my bathroom.

Postcard Help

I’m working on postcard books for 2 of my “adopted” soliders.

If you are from (or have postcards from) any of these states, and are willing to send me two of them, I could really use the assistance.


And yes, I do realize that DC is not really a state.

A Normal Weekend

…is what Fuzzy and I just had.

Friday night, when he finally got home, and I’d finally decided that even another minute at the computer would be a Very Bad Thing, we ate dinner (spinach tortellini with this really amazing pasta sauce that, I confess, not only came from a jar, but was purchased because I liked the shape of the jar) at the kitchen table for a change, and then played the 2-person version of The Starfarers of Catan until bedtime.

Saturday, we each puttered on various projects, after sleeping pretty late. I played with the dogs, and surfed Blogathon sites, and made a few pledges. Later, we went to Dallas because I was on the liners for ComedySportz. I made stupid choices/mistakes in Blind Line, but overall it was a great show. The crowd was totally into it, our ref rocked – he even let us play one of the new games he brought back from tournament – and I had fun. Afterwards, we all went to Fridays, where several of us made a pact to never go to Spaghetti Warehouse again, and I had a delicious margarita that was only slightly smaller than a swimming pool as we sat under the stars. (I also had a burger and a salad, but it’s the margarita that matters.)

Today, I’ve already posted about – shopping in the rain, puttering at home, froufrou coffee, grapes, flowers, and during dinner we watched the first night of SHARK WEEK (Ocean of Fear). Any moment now, we’ll be turning out the light.

Shopping in the Rain

It doesn’t have quite the same ring as “Singing in the Rain” but we weren’t feeling sing-y as much as chatty today. We slept late. Well, sort of. It’s all relative. When you go to bed at 3 AM, sleeping til noon isn’t really sleeping late. It is, after all, a mere eight hours. We just…don’t live an 8-5 life. Never have. Don’t really ever want to.

So we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast food in the afternoon – because breakfast food always tastes better the later in the day that you eat it, so long as it’s cooked fresh at that moment. We then crawled along I-20 to PetSmart, dodging morons who apparently have no recollection of last month, because they were all driving as if rain was something new and unexpected. Okay, it was fairly heavy rain, but still.

After PetSmart, we went to Tom Thumb. Our neighborhood, Westchester, is a planned community where all the stores are twinned. So one side of the street has a grocery store, drug store, gas station, dry cleaner, and a couple chain restaurants, and the other has the same stuff, different brands. Fuzzy prefers Albertsons, because he knows their layout. I prefer Tom Thumb, owned by Safeway, because they have better meat and produce. Seriously better. So I have salmon fillets and an ahi tuna steak and ground turkey breast, and a massive amount of seedless grapes. Grapes and cherries are like candy to me these days. This week, I’m eating green grapes and red cherries.

Albertson’s has cheaper floral arrangements. With a club card, you get three bunches for $10. Tom Thumb has larger bunches, ranging from $5 – $8. I came home with a bunch of yellow daisies, a bunch of long-stem red carnations, and a bunch of red mini-stem carnations. I’ll mix all three, and fill three or four vases. They go in the living room, my office, my downstairs desk (where the MacBook is residing for a bit) and the kitchen table, in that order. I love fresh flowers. I would rather have fresh flowers in my house than designer coffee in a cup in my hand. Truly.

But I have both, actually, because we stopped at Starbucks for a sugar-free nonfat vanilla latte, and so I shall spend the evening watching Shark videos and readig the Sunday paper, and sipping coffee while a gentle rain falls outside.

Life is good.

It Happens Every Summer

Today is the beginning of the Discovery Channel’s SHARK WEEK. I’ve been a fan of this week of summer since they began it, though it used to air closer to my birthday, in mid-August, rather than at the end of July. I guess they figured out that no one’s around in August – it’s sort of the desert of the calendar.

As I write this, I’m watching footage of divers swimming with giant manta rays off the coast of Baja California Sur. The narrator has a slight…not a lisp exactly…but he speaks as if his tongue and teeth are too large for his mouth.

I don’t know WHY I’m drawn to sharks. Maybe because I feel the pull of the ocean in my blood, maybe because they’re such elegant creatures. Simple. Direct. They don’t go through any great machinations, they just swim, eat, and breed. It’s sort of refreshing.

There is, of course, the element of horror mythology. Sharks are scary in a primal way, because being eaten is one of the worst ways we can imagine meeting death. Especially when you’re being eaten alive.

And then, I feel for sharks because people seem to always want to kill them, and I always root for the underdog, even if the underdog is really a fish. They’re animals. It’s not like they’re sitting off-shore going, “Hmm, let’s go snack on people today.” It’s pretty obvious that they wouldn’t be sinking their teeth into human flesh if we weren’t taking over, and destroying, their environment.

But anyway, it’s Shark Week, beginning today, and that means a week of fascination and of wishing my pool was really wet entry to the ocean, and of being inspired by endless hours of silvery fish swimming across a blue screen. Can You Picture That?

Picture it: You have a memory stick full of digital pictures, and you really want to display them, but somehow, the notion of printing every single one just doesn’t appeal to you. Or maybe you have printed a bunch of them out, but you haven’t got the time to mount and frame them. Thankfully, we live in an age of technological magic, and there is such a thing as a digital picture frame.

I have to confess, when I first heard the phrase, I thought, “Digital picture frame? A normal one won’t work?” But then I took a look at the website for DigitalFramez, and realized that what they’re actually selling is essentially a small monitor screen bordered like a photo frame, attached to a card reader. You plug in your memory stick or data key, and it lets you display any digital photo.

Frames come in sizes from 7 to 10 inches, and run from $99 to $199. They come with a remote, so you can change the setting of your digital frame on the fly, and – how cool is this? – these you can even show short movie clips, the kind you take with a regular camera, on a digital picture frame. It’s just like having one of the talking pictures from the Harry Potter books.

Oh, and if you’re worried that digital frames won’t match your decor – don’t. They’re not all shiny and metallic. Some are wooden, and some are clear acrylic, as well. ships worldwide, according to their website, but you should contact them if you have any questions.


I feel guilty for not participating in Blogathon this year, but only a little bit guilty. Why? Because by not having to come up with clever new content every thirty minutes, I’ve been able to actually surf the blogs of the folks who are participating.

So far, btw, I’ve seen at least seven with Harry Potter themes, and one with a Degrassi theme. Degrassi is one of my top secret obsessions, because I’m almost 37 and shouldn’t be watching a show for kids. Shh, don’t tell.

I also got to write a guest post for Jessica The Rock Chick, who is blogging for VH1’s Save the Music Foundation. Jessica has a lot of friends who love music and recognize the importance of arts education – and specifically music education – in public schools, and it’s an honor to be in such company. Wanna see what I wrote? Go here. (Any formatting issues are mine, not hers – I forgot to remove return tags before I sent the file.) And make sure you click on Jessica’s “sponsor me” link, and throw some dead presidents her way.

Blogathon 2007

This is the first year in several that I am NOT participating in the annual Blogathon, the event in which bloggers agree to post new content to their blogs every thirty minutes for 24 hours (It works out to 49 posts and a lot of coffee and snacks.), and their readers sponsor them, pledging contributions to each blogger’s charity of of choice.

Even though I’m not going to stay up all night writing for charity this year (for a variety of reasons), I am participating in small ways.
I’ve pledged my support to a couple of my blogfriends who ARE participating, and for one of them, I’m even contributing a guest post.

I’m also pimping their sites. Please visit them, and pledge your support:

Blogger: Dreama
Blog: Again, I Said
Charity: GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network)

Blogger: Jessica (The Rock Chick)
Blog: Life is RANTastic
Charity: VH1 Save the Music Foundation