Monday, December 29, 2008


Sometimes you just have to grab on to that brownish area by its points and you don't let go no matter what your mom says!

- Buster as portrayed by the wonderful Tony Hale, and no I'm not just saying that because we graduated from the same university, from the first season of Arrested Development.

Back at work today. We came home from Alabama late Saturday. Drove down Thurs. morning with shockingly little traffic and some wicked fast speeders (seriously, at time I was going 80 getting passed very quickly, there was a red dealer plate Corvette in ATL doing triple digits easy), had lunch and presents with Mom's family, then drove to Dad's mom to spend a couple days. It was very relaxing and a great time was had by all.

On the way home, we purposely went the long way from Northish Alabama through Marietta to stop at the infamous Marietta Diner from Guy Fieri's "Diners, Drive-ins & Dives". The wait wasn't bad at 20 minutes on a busy Sat. night at around 8 pm. The interior was very warm, both aesthetically and temp-wise. The menu is massive with pretty much anything you can thing of from breakfasts to homemade Greek entrees. J went with the Greek platter and I stuck with the pastichio. Everything was outstanding and as we were waiting, we even saw the owner (who I recognized from the show) help out and bus a table. That is always a good sign of someone who cares. Huge portions and everything made from scratch and delicious! If you're ever outside the perimeter of ATL on the northwest side, I would definitely recommend stopping by.

We got home and unwrapped our Christmas presents to each other. The fenders for my bicycle should come in handy and now I can at least entertain the option of riding to school in the rain or wet. No I didn't ride in today. Just didn't feel like it and plus Parking Services won't be back until Jan. 5th, so it's a parking free-for-all on campus!

Do you have any plans for New Year's?

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Almost there, almost there....

I have spent the day galavanting around Greenville, taking J to the doctor's, dropping her off at work again, picking up prescriptions and generally killing time and working. Whole Foods in Greenville opens at 8 am and has free Wi-fi if anyone was wondering.

After lunch, I went to the mall which was pretty crowded considering some people are still at work this week. Brookstone willingly exchanged $30 for a LED magnifying glass for the grandparents. Hmmm, I wonder if that needs batteries. Better check, I hate receiving gifts only to have to scrounge the house for batteries; I don't want to be that gift giver. J has really turned me into a better gift giver. The little hints and tips that people drop, I've started picking up on those. It makes getting them gifts much easier.

This year we're highlighting local products. Split Creek Farms had some lovely goat milk soap that will be great in our "Local Products" gift bags. They also had some massive Great Pyrenees to protect the goats and they were the first of the breed that J or I had ever met before. Nice but their size made them a bit intimidating, so we channeled Cesar Milan for some calm assertive energy.

Happy Cow Creamery had some great preserves and cheeses to complete the bags. J wanted to put the gifts in baskets but if we can't find those, then reuseable grocery bags will be great substitutes, and eco-friendly of course, which is the whole point of highlighting local products: to spur our family to investigate their own local products. I'm sure there are some wonderful farms not too far from Birmingham. It's freakin' Alabama for farm's sake!

If I don't see you all before Thursday, have a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Festive Kwanzaa, Blissful Festivus, or a Transcendent HumanLight!

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Friday, December 19, 2008


Only 6 more to go!

Unfortunately I'm not talking about pages in my dissertation. It's still a work in progress. But it's 6 more posts to 1,000! I'll be sure to let you know when that happens. Maybe then I'll actually update my template and spruce up this place. Yes, you're right, that won't happen until I'm done writing and maybe even not until after my defense.

I rode into work today and yesterday. It's been unseasonably warm all week but it is up in the low 70's today. Very strange.

So here are my first few commuting to work on a bicycle tips:
1) Take an extra shirt. You will get sweaty and stinky no matter what the temperature is.
2) If you carry more than a small backpack, get some baskets. I pimped my bike with two metal baskets on the back that screw into the frame so they're beefy and easily swallow up my messenger bag and J's laptop bag. A bungee cord is a great way to strap everything down while jumping off of curbs. Yes, I found that out the hard way.
3) Get some lights and reflectors. Trek makes a really cool 7 LED rear light that I opted for over their 3 LED rear light. More light cannot be a bad thing especially given my penchant for wearing dark clothing while night riding. I haven't picked up a reflective vest yet but I have my eye on something like these. There are lots of options for headlights but since I already owned a headlamp that wasn't seeing lots of use, I put the headlamp on my helmet. It's quickly removable and the light is up higher making me more visible and allowing me to move the light as easily as turning my head. Plus you feel like a spelunker.
4) Get some fenders. I found a set for $25 and it will hopefully be my Christmas present. Riding in the rain is in my future but for now it would be nice to ride in the wet and not get goopy rain water flung into my mouth.
5) Obviously get a serious lock and helmet. Both will come in handy and hopefully you'll never really need to use either.

Currently my plan is to use this bike for the time being and slowly upgrade parts. Hopefully I can upgrade parts that will carry over to a new bike when that time comes. I realized today I have 6 gears on the back whereas most current bikes have 7-9. Working on bikes is much easier than cars and far less expensive. Healthier too. I love not buying gas to get to work and exercising on my way there.

I'll be around early next week but no other co-workers will be here. It will be lonely writing for Seth.

Blogger friends have been found on Facebook and then friended.

I'm planning on buying some stocks with our meager savings and try to use this recession as a buying opportunity like all the rich fat cats do. Yes I'll probably buy some Apple because they are awesome and I am white.

I spoke with my friend who is a new dad and it was lots of fun but I was the first to tell him that Charlton Heston and Michael Crichton are both gone. His daughter is fine though.

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Friday, December 12, 2008


Thank you Bettie Page

You have provided me some great times and you will be missed. I hope you inspire many strong independent women.

LA Times article


Tuesday, December 09, 2008



It's exams week, so campus is dead but the library is packed!

It rained today so I took the CATbus to school instead of my bicycle.

Focus is getting the new header, timing belt and water pump on Wed. or Thurs.

I'm worried about finding a job, but also excited to move on.

I bought some of these from Photojojo and can't wait to make something.

Science writing isn't horrible but I don't want to do tons of it for the rest of my life (i.e. no patent law in my future).

I love our real Christmas tree! Cut it down with my bare hands (around a saw) then J and I carried it back to the car. Great family tradition. Urban families might have to do some serious driving for this same experience, but it's worth it.

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Monday, December 08, 2008


You're being so obtuse.

From the wonderful "Shawshank Redemption", and in case you were wondering how Stephen King's novella was different from the movie. I didn't know it was based on a Stephen King story either until Cynical Chris clued me in.

I ran across this last week. It's a "find the next American rally driver" search. They're running it out of the rally school down in Starke, FL. I'm seriously thinking about going. It's going to be $350 for entry plus gas, food and I'll probably camp to save money if I go. Maybe I can convince J to make that my Christmas present. We'll see. I still have plenty of writing to do before I can even think about something like that.

I won our college football pick against the spread competition, so I win bragging rights. Hopefully I can repeat last year's bowl pick'em victory with this year's round of bowl games.

Writing is coming along. I'll be taking a break to replace Focus' exhaust manifold (because the current one is cracked) and also the timing belt and water pump. This will be the first time I ever actually crack open an engine even if it is just the valve cover (that plastic piece on top of the engine, no not that big removable one, the one below that). Speaking of which I hate those big plastic engine covers. They're so stupid and pointless. I think they're supposed to make the engine bay look nicer, but really just get in the way.

My friend called last week and asked some car advice. His car had been running bad for about a month. It just started running rough all of a sudden. He replaced the PCV valve and various other easy accesible inexpensive parts that probably should've been replaced anyway. I suggested that it might be his timing belt slipped and his timing was off, making it run poorly. Thinking about it the next day, I remembered that it might also be a bad spark plug. I called him back and it turns out that he melted one of his spark plug cables, so sometimes he was on 4 cylinders and sometimes he was running 3. Thankfully that is a very easy fix.

Crap. Just saw that my 30 library books are all overdue. Time to go see if I can weasel out of a steep fine.

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Friday, December 05, 2008


Keep on keeping on

Not much has been happening with the blog recently. I'm still going to keep it up though. I like it and still enjoy blogging.

Writing is coming along. I'm focusing on one chapter at a time now, so they should start being cranked out now. It's taken long enough. Also the job search will officially start. I'll work on my resume and CV this weekend so I can start sending them out and look for my first real job.

Happy Friday everyone and Merry Weekend!

Yes I'm still riding my bike into work. I haven't resorted to full face coverage yet since it is usually in the 30s-40s for the morning commute.

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Monday, December 01, 2008


Bloody Friday

In honor of Black Friday, J and I eschewed our consumer responsibilities and went hiking. We did a loop of about 5 miles, it was moist, cool and very nice. One section of trail was actually one of the earliest roads between North and South Carolina. I haven't heard any stories of Black Friday deaths or injuries around here but I haven't been looking for them either.

Cynical Chris found a few: Xbox Wal-Mart scramble, and the death of a Wal-Mart worker who was trampled to death by maniacal bargain shoppers. So please keep the family of Jdimytai Damour, 34, in your thoughts.

Also keep everyone in Mumbai in your thoughts as they deal with the recent terror attacks. Photos from The Big Picture.

We did go shopping a bit on Saturday and we didn't even have to kill anyone.

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