Saturday, July 31, 2010


I took a lot of pictures this morning. Here is one link and here is another. Sorry, no toe pictures this time.

The bee in the pictures was about a quarter of an inch long. The moth was somewhere between three-eighths and half an inch long. I'd say the crawdad that wasn't in my hand was about an inch and a half.

Best. Steak. Ever!

I braved the deluge yesterday to meet Carrie's family in Farmington in what proved to be a treacherous journey. There was so much water on the road in Weingarten that I hydroplaned a bit and almost ended up in ongoing traffic. Luckily I have nerves of steel. It was still almost brown trousers time though. I arrived in Farmington right on schedule and it was sunny and the ground was barely wet.

We embarked for Fredricktown and the fabled Olympic Steakhouse. The trip was uneventful other than talk of current events, such as the alligator caught in the Joachim Creek in DeSoto. We arrived at the Olympic Steakhouse to find it wasn't all that crowded.

I ordered the 12 oz. Ribeye. It was the best steak I've ever consumed, sprinkled with garlic pepper and just the right amount of juciness. I devoured it in near record time, along with a good sized baked potato. Braving the rainstorm was completely worth it.

What else is going on? I'm still playing with the new lens but I'm having difficulty finding appropriate subjects due to the weather. I took a picture of a Velvet Ant the other day but it's a little blurry. I had no idea the Velvet Ant was actually a kind of wingless female wasp.

No huge plans for today. I'll take Belle out for some exercise later and maybe take some pictures over at the parents'. I have no idea whether they're back from vacation or not. I keep cracking the Top 50 reviewers of the year on Goodreads but I really would like to get into the Top 50 of All Time.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Wow, what a cold front!

You know it's hot when the cold front moving in takes the high all the way down to 90.

I'm listening to the newest Bambi Molesters' album while my red beans and rice simmer. It sounds great so far. I think I picked a worthy white whale.

We went up to Chris and Abby's yesterday. My brother sure knows his BBQ. I could go for some more of those ribs right now...

Today I had one of those meals that made me question my own sanity. I had the bacon cheeseburger platter in the cafeteria. Bacon cheeseburger, fries, AND onion rings. I fought the effects of a grease coma all afternoon.

I'm thinking about tossing what I had planned for The Unflappable Templeton Quinn into Wandering the Web of Worlds. I'm in the mood for some stuffy British adventure. Now I just have to get out of my rut and write it.

Not completely sold on my new lens. I like it but it seems more difficult to focus. It's all but impossible to take regular pictures with it on. Still, my big toe has never looked better...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Lens

I've spent the better part of an hour playing with my new lens. Here's a link to a few I'm fairly proud of.

The lens seems to work pretty well for closeups. I'll have to take it off when I want to take other pictures though.

Busy morning

Since being forcibly awoke by my hound at 6:45, I've done dishes, laundry, and vacuumed out the car. Not bad for a Sunday.

Carrie and I embarked on an odyssey to Cape yesterday afternoon. Carrie had gift cards burning holes in her pockets. Well, she might as well through those pants away because the gift card fires are still burning. She didn't find any capri pants at Penny's or Kohl's. She did, however, find some snazzy shoes at the Shoe Carnival. I, on the other hand, dropped some coin at Penny's when I bought two shirts and another pair of shorts. I also discovered that I left my credit card at Applebee's the night before. Luckily, I have two cards. Carrie's dad was kind enough to pick it up for me and her mom will pass it to Carrie at work Monday.

I had the Bacon Spud at McAllister's during the shopping intermission. It was the biggest potato I've ever eaten and I should have taken a picture of it. It was covered with cheese, sour cream, and bacon. I still have enough on my McAllister's gift card for another sammich.

I got my new camera lens in the mail yesterday but have yet to play with it. Maybe later. I'm hoping Chris and Abby have some bugs around their house I can take pictures of.

Friday, July 23, 2010

White Whale

For years, Dr. Ring-Ding was my white whale. I didn't think he'd ever come to the US but two years ago, Greg and I made the pilgrimage to Chi-Town and saw him. Since then, I haven't had a white whale. Until now. This morning, I decided that Croatian surf band The Bambi Molesters are the new white whale. I must see them live!

In other news, it's that special time of year again where I take nearly every Friday off until I run out of days off. It's a magical time devoted to reading, watching TV, and generally slobbing around. Good times.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Sheep. That's what's been bothering me lately. 90% of the Earth's population are unthinking sheep, afraid to think or act without someone telling the how to go about it. Our society is built on that, perfectly exemplified in religion and politics.

This point is driven home to me every time I attempt to read a news article on the internet. So what does an article about a solar powered car built in London have to do with Obama (or any US politician for that matter)? Everything according to the rubes posting. Just like every science article has to be accompanied by someone asserting that the Earth is only 6000 years old.

Bear in mind I don't hate religion or politics. I just don't care for people who were raised a certain way and refuse to think outside the box. Is it possible that someone who doesn't belong to the party you've been supporting your entire life unblinkingly might have more of you interest at heart? Or that a book written thousands of years ago might not be a LITERAL retelling of what went down? People just make me shake my head. If the bible is the only thing keeping you from killing your neighbor and banging his wife on the corpse, I pity you.

While I've got a good rant going here, I'm going to tackle something else. People keep talking about reducing our dependency on oil and developing alternative fuels to save the environment. That's true, we need that. What we really need is a chance in our disposable culture. People don't need new cellphones every year and they sure as hell don't need refrigerators that only last five. Products built to last would really clean this shit hole up for our kids.

This concludes one of my few serious blog entries. Tomorrow, we'll be talking about how I shall soon begin my yearly ritual of burning my days off one Friday at a time in order to use them by the end of the year.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The blog before the storm.

It's thundering around out there. It'll probably start raining about the time Belle insists on going outside.

Picking a new avatar for my various online accounts is a time consuming business. I guess I'll get Carrie to take an acceptable picture of me over the weekend.

I bought a new lens for my camera yesterday. If the online images are accurate, I should be able to take even more extreme closeups of bugs, snakes, and other critters.

I've been wracking my brain the last few days trying to come up with a decent plot and/or characters to write about. Nothing I come up with seems quite what I'm looking for.

In other news, it was so hot in my car when I left work that it was like driving an oven home.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The pre-coffee fog has lifted

After half a pot of coffee, I'm just about ready to rejoin the living.

I had some ideas yesterday for the next story I'll be writing. People at work are wanting me to write the sequel to Sailors but I'll probably work on something else before that. I'm picturing a fantasy voyage into space, only to find out fantasy space is much different than anyone guessed.

"The stars are balls of gas? Preposterous. What sense would that make? Everyone knows they're the tears of Zeus, mourning his lost loves! What kind of quackery is this?"

Wandering the Web of Worlds is the current title but it is subject to change, as always. The setting is fairly fleshed out in my head. Now I just need some characters to subject to it. I thought about using Jhalen and Tolek again but I'm leaning toward using the two criminals I left hanging crucified at the city gates in the unfinished Horde of Bone fragment from a couple years ago.

No definite plans for the day other than staying the heck out of the hellish heat. Carrie and I will probably do something later since she managed to put her paper to bed yesterday.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Something that pissed me off (and two fossils)

So remember the other day when I was behind that drunk driver who the cops finally nabbed? I looked in the paper this morning at my parents'. Not one mention of a drunk driver being arrested, which leads me to believe they let the son of a bitch go, free to get drunk and drive again. Small town cops are almost worthless.

In other news, the geode hunt came up empty. I found one thing I thought might have been one but it was too big to carry back, let alone bash open to peer inside. I did manage to find two fossils though.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tis a good day for eating!

Carol came through with the breakfast casserole today. She wanted to bring it for my birthday but I had her wait until everyone would be in the office. It was good but she never puts cheese in it. What's a breakfast casserole without cheese? Still, it was delicious and got me through to lunch.

Lunch was a Philly cheese steak. The old cafeteria had an ass-kicking Philly that I would order at breakfast to make sure it was ready when I strolled into the cafeteria when it opened for lunch at 11. This one was rather bland but filling. But it kept me semi-full until...

... Fritz's Frozen Custard in the San Francisco room! My concrete was delightful even though it was vanilla with waffle cone pieces.

Other than that, not a whole lot going on. I'm looking to eat a leftover porkchop for dinner and I'm going to be crocking a roast tomorrow with green onions, beef broth, and a bottle of beer. Once I get home, I'll cook rice in the juice. That should get me through a few days.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Verdict...

Delicious! My mom and dad dug into the cinnamon rolls before dinner. Looks like I'll be making them again.

Michael Jackson has been dead for over a year now and I still don't care any more about him than I did when he was alive. Does that make me a prick?

Not much else to report except it's hotter than a bastard outside.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Before and After


That's Cinnamon Rolls of Gargantuan Size. They're in the oven now.

I've never made cinnamon rolls other than the ones in a tube before. I'm curious about how these are going to turn out. I took a recipe meant for 12 cinnamon rolls and used it to make six, one of which is likely to occupy an entire 8 by 8 pan when it's finished.

Waiting is always the hardest part. I'm planning on taking the little pan out at 25 and leaving the big guy in the oven for a few minutes more. Then, the icing begins.

In other news, I'm thinking about taking off Friday...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Have I mentioned the giant cinnamon roll?

So my dad's birthday is Tuesday. In lieu of making a cake, I shall attempt to make a cinnamon roll of epic size. Allow me to explain.

As I mentioned in 4/25's blog, my dad has been enamored with the giant cinnamon rolls from the Machine Shed since seeing them on Breakfast Paradise and took a road trip with my mom to Iowa to get some. Since he mentions the cinnamon rolls every couple weeks, I'll be attempting to make one to take over there sometime this week. I imagine I'll have to bake it a little longer to make sure its properly done and don't anticipate any major difficulties.

I hate when past Dan screws future Dan. I wanted to make breakfast this morning but past Dan left me a sink full of dirty dishes. He's always reading instead of doing house work and sticking me with the results.

Carrie had a snake in her house again this morning. I may have a serpent to slay when I go over this afternoon if it tries to get in again.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fredricktown Friday

Yesterday after work, I headed down to Farmington to meet Carrie and her parents. We went to Olympic Steakhouse in Fredricktown. It was delicious! I had a sirloin and some shrimp. Carrie got all you can eat catfish. I was secretly hoping she couldn't eat it all. At one point she said "Just so you know, you're not getting that piece of catfish." We'll have to go there again.

Had I known what our next destination would be, I would have brought my camera. Millstream Garden was beautiful. Apart from Barb stepping in a pile of human shit, that is. Who shits right next to the path? I brought a few rocks home.

On the way back from Farmington, I got on 32 behind a guy that was clearly drunk, speeding up and slowing down and swerving. A cop finally nabbed him in Weingarten but not before he hit a skunk right in front of me. My car stinks a little this morning.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I knew it was too good to be true

Just a few days ago, the lawn was turning brown for the first time in three years. Fast forward to today. It's been raining the past few yours. Sure, it's good for the grass but I have to mow that shit. Plus, Basenji's hate getting their feet wet. This also applies to Basenji mixes like Belle. Oh well. At least I should be able to get some fungus and/or turtle and frog pictures once it stops.

For a short week, this one seems really long. Probably because I'm fixing bugs in Tony's code. I wish I would have been involved in the project at the start instead of patching things at the end.

Just about sandwich o'clock by my watch...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Post birthday post

Is it just a coincidence that the day after I turned 33 I got a postcard for four free hearing aid trials in the mail?

Another birthday has come and gone. Apart from the splinter underneath my thumbnail that I can't get out, I have no complaints.

So what's with this octopus that supposedly predicts World Cup results? It sounds like the plot to a Dirk Gently book Douglas Adams never got around to writing. Here's the link. While we're on the subject, why does LinkedIn even have the option of sharing things like this? I thought it was supposed to be for professionals.

Not much else to report, what with spending the day at work and all.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Birthday Eve

I'm convinced that Independence Day is my favorite holiday with the same name as a Will Smith movie.

We had a lot of fun yesterday. Brunch with Alexis and Tom, always a pleasure, dinner with Carrie's family, and the DeSoto fireworks. But don't take my word for it. Here's a link to my pictures on Facebook.

In other news, I'm really tired but have recovered some due to a power nap I took while my pictures were uploaded. I'm due over at Carrie's in a little while for some white lasagna.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

Weren't they supposed to make a sequel to Independence Day at one point? It seems like some of the aliens could have escaped the final battle and went for reinforcements or something.

Had dinner with Carrie's extended family at The Wood last night. The food was only satisfying in a "eating so I don't die" kind of way. Carrie's cousin's daughter, Trinity, is a little firebrand. Her parents will have their hands full when she enters her rebellious stage in a few years. I also learned there are caves in Maplewood that are concealed by manhole covers. These are not just sewers as I initially guessed.

Full day ahead. I'd better absorb a couple hours of solitude while I can.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Saturday Morning Slurry

Slurry? I guess I couldn't think of another S word.

My caffeine IV isn't quite empty yet so I thought I'd spend some time on the old blog.

I had a dream last night where I was a teacher at a high school. Some girl was worried that she'd never be able to write a book. I told her I didn't finish a single story until I was 27. She asked why I hadn't published anything. It was one of those dreams where my brain is trying to tell me something. Like "Get off your ass and publish a book already. I don't want to be a computer programmer forever!"

It's going to be time to switch back to the crime books pretty soon. Six or seven fantasy books in a row is plenty. I've got lots of Parker and Scudder books left to blow through. Plus, I've noticed my unread pile is growing at an alarming rate. I'm almost back up to 80.

I'm hoping it doesn't get as hot as they are saying this weekend. I was just getting used to not having back sweat every time I walk the dog.

Friday, July 2, 2010

How long is too long?

So, a little while ago, mid March, to be more precise, I ordered a book from a secondary seller on Amazon, Deadly Honeymoon by Lawrence Block. It shipped the next day. I saw neither hide nor hair of it. Six week later, I emailed the people at Once Upon a Time Books. They assured me my shipment would arrive within a week or two. After three weeks, I emailed them and asked for a refund. I got no response and no refund. I wrote off the three bucks as a loss and forgot about it.

Today, amidst the credit card bills and my driver's license renewal notice, I found a book sized package. It was Deadly Honeymoon. And it only took ONE HUNDRED THIRTEEN DAYS to get to me! I could have walked to Arizona and back several times by now. Maybe they strapped it to the back of a particularly slow snail or something.

My negligent neighbor's hoodlum son brought his overly aggressive pitbull to her house again and has it chained to a tree by a woefully inadequate chain, much like the one it snapped a few weeks ago. People that irresponsible shouldn't be allowed to have dogs. Or kids either, for that matter.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Looks like I spoke too soon...

It appears my neighbor isn't lying on his floor decomposing after all. Not only that, he has two grand kids visiting. No word on where he's been the past couple weeks but I haven't been interested enough to inquire. Speculation is much more fun anyway.

I think my mouse might be nearing the end of its life. Every click acts like two clicks. I know it's not the shift key sticking because the pad and the two buttons on the keyboard work fine. I guess I can't expect to get more than five years out of the cheapest optical mouse I could find at Walmart...

Not much else going on. I figured out that Belle was waking me up in the middle of the night to go on investigation walks because she had energy to burn due to not wanting to walk when it was so hot. She's been going on more walks these past few temperate days and our nocturnal outings have disappeared. I still think there's a skunk in the neighborhood though.