Laughing at The Horror of Being Alive

A Weblog by Heidi and Stu
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What I read last: 'Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim', by Deavid Sedaris
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Saturday, July 17

Movie Roundup

Baby and I both enjoyed this political but seemingly non-partisan flash movie.

Two music videos: one fun but incomprehensible, the other slick and thought-provoking.

And finally, this trailer is pretty good for at least the first two-thirds or so.

Thursday, July 1

Wow. I was working up north of town yesterday, and we went to lunch at Perry's in The Woodlands. Ordinarily an expensive restaurant, they have a $10 lunch special. The pork chop on Wednesdays is the best I've ever had. Easily 2½" thick and very, very tasty. The menu says making them is a five-day process.

The other interesting thing is that one of the sales guys asked if he could say grace, which I've never seen at a business lunch. Very nice.

Friday, June 11

If you like CafePress, but aren't so artistically inclined, try pixeltees.

Even I can make a t-shirt. (I'm especially proud of the back).

Europeans are so sophisticated.

Thursday, June 10

Last weekend I was clearing the empty lot next to my house and got a wicked dose of poison ivy on my arm. The rash is just coming into full bloom today and it itches like a mother. Since I get a least a minor case a couple times a year, I learned some interesting facts about poison ivy:

  • Poison ivy doesn't spread. You might think it does, because the rash develops on different types of skin at different rates. Inside the elbow, where the skin is fairly delicate, it will appear a day or two before it appears on the back of the arm.

  • You still shouldn't scratch it, though. Even though you won't spread it this way, you can break the skin and it can get infected. I scratch a lot.

  • The active ingredient in poison ivy, oak, and sumac is an oil called urushiol. It bonds to your skin chemically within minutes of exposure. So washing up after you go indoors probably won't help; it may even make it worse by lifting and spreading any unabsorbed oil.

  • Urushiol doesn't break down much over time, so if you get it on a pair of gardening gloves, you can keep contracting the rash every time you use them. I think this is why I get so many minor cases - I'm too cheap and lazy to get new gloves.

  • I included a picture of my local variety, but you can't put much stock in pictures of poison ivy. Although it always has three leaflets, the leaves can be shiny or dull, smooth or lobed, and the plant can be a low groundcover or a climbing vine. I'm fortunate in that mine has a distinctive red stem so I can avoid it if I'm careful.

  • Wednesday, June 2

    I hope everyone caught Top Gun on Telefutura last night.
    "¡Mav-air-eek!" "¡Sí Señor!"
    "¡Slid-air, usted apesta!"

    Friday, May 28

    With the Boss out of town this week, I have been free to play with the Mini iPod I got her. Despite the fact that I don't like the iTunes software it comes with, I like the unit itself enough that I ordered myself one, though they take 6-8 weeks to ship.

    I also got a Griffith iTrip FM-transmitter to go with it. It took a while to figure out how to work it, but after some trial and error with different radio frequencies and equalizer settings, it actually sounds pretty good in the car. For best results, you need to find an "empty" radio frequency, which is pretty tough in downtown Houston (I'm using 94.9). An interesting and somewhat disconcerting effect is that when you go under a bridge or into a parking garage, the signal actually gets better.

    Sunday, May 16

    I just got back into reading Shelby Foote's excellent The Civil War; A Narrative. I'm about three-quarters of the way through volume two of three. At my current rate, it's going to take me roughly twice as long to read about the war as it did to fight it. Anyway, I came across a page I had marked for the following passage, set at Fredericksburg, immediately following two bloody repulses:
    As the bluecoats dropped back into the swale for a breather, preparatory to giving the thing another try, the colonel of a Wisconsin regiment made a short speech to the men who would lead the third assault. "When the signal forward is given you will advance at double-quick," he told them. "You will not fire a gun and you will not stop until you get the order to halt." He paused briefly, then added, "You will never get that order."

    Stu's Stuff
    What I'm reading now:
    'Post Captain', by Patrick O'Brian
    What I read last:
    'The First Man In Rome', by Colleen McCullough
    If the above seems out of date, I've almost certainly reverted to either Patrick O'Brian or P.G. Wodehouse
    Web Art & Design
    Orisinal (online Flash games)
    Coudal Partners
    Presstube (daily doodle)
    Exploding Dog (cartoons from submitted titles)
    Others' Writings
    Kevin Whited's Reason Forum (Houston-related) "chronicling the high cost of our legal system"
    Pathetic Earthlings "Science, Politics & Single Malt Whiskey"
    Century Research Foundation "Testing the Limits of Good Taste"
    Favorite Columnist:
    John Derbyshire (@ NRO)
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