Sunday, April 30, 2006

Picture Sunday

Hello, Sunday nighters. Yes, it's here and on time this week, no Jell-O at all involved, welcome to another edition of Picture Sunday.

Tonight's round of Picture Sunday contains a few shots I had from weeks past. They didn't make it into the final cut. So welcome to Picture Sunday - The Outtakes Edition.

Our first picture comes from the week of my daffodils. My dreaded daffodils, who bloom once a year, say hello, then immediately die and litter up my yard. By the way, this past Friday evening was spent in the front yard pulling out weeds, dead 'dils, and as many bulbs as I could upend in hopes they won't show their faces next year.

Anyway, that very day I took the daffodil photos I went around back of the house and what should I see but a few ducks ambling around the yard.



With their backs to me. I tried not to take it personally, but it could be why they didn't make the cut a few weeks ago.

Last week, the week of the delayed Picture Sunday, I had (I'm sure you remember this) several pictures of the Hackensaw Boys. However, I caught something afterwards on my camera as we were walking back to our car. It's just not something one sees every day, a person pushing a refrigerator through the historic district.



Where was this fridge going? What was inside? Had it been to see the Hackensaw Boys? One will never know, and it didn't bother me enough to stick it in last week's Picture Sunday.

This one's from a while back, when I went to a Virginia Tech football game with my sister and her family. The folks tailgating beside us did so from a decorated conastoga wagon. Well, it was cute, in a "look at us" kind of way, and they had a big cast-iron pot of beans, and they seemed friendly enough so I asked if Sherman could get a few "action shots" from their wagon. They were nice enough to say yes, and here's one of the few I took.



Here's the boy, joking around after playing with the wagon's "little brown jug." What a card, but still, it didn't make the cut.

And, speaking of not making the cut, let's get to the recipe du jour. Only this recipe did make the cut. Oh, yes, it did. It comes from the "Mr M's Kitchen" file in recipeland. It's one of his personal favorites. Oh, the mornings I've seen him dig into this little specialty. Say hello to "Baked Potato Pancakes."



Talk about a breakfast that'll get you up and going for the rest of the day. Going where I'm not sure, but it consists of a heaping stack of three pancakes, hollowed out in the middle to make room for a baked potato. Top your potato as you like, we topped ours with butter, sour cream, and chives, and then top your pancakes as you like, we topped ours with maple syrup. Garnish with the fruit of your choice, or a piece of beef jerky like I've sometimes seen Mr M do, and call it a meal. Well, call it something.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Watching "Rebecca." Boy, is that Mrs Danvers something else.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Podcast!

The latest version of The Hucklebug is up! Subscribe through iTunes, or go listen at our blogspot site.

Enjoy, podcastees!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Hell-O

As you all know, or those of you who've read me regularly for a long time, and you know who you are, and so do I....

Wait. I'll come in again.

As you all know, I have a birth defect. I mention it on occasion here in the old blog, when I'm called upon to do something that this birth defect prevents me from being able to do. Or do well. Of course, I am talking about the fact that I was born without the Betty Crocker Gene. The Betty Crocker Gene, first written about by Dave Barry, is the gene we women are born with that gives us that extra talent in the world of cooking, decorating, mothering, and walking around the house vacuuming in high heels a la June Cleaver in general.

I was not born with this gene. My mom has it. My sister has it. But not me. Nope, I came along, a walking birth defect, God in His infinite wisdom said, "Hmm, let's do this. (tinkering and thinking) Let's just lose the BCG on Bet here, and instead we'll put something in her DNA that makes her really like pens and pencils, and watching too much TV, and then we'll take that out of little Jimmy here and give him the BCG. Then we'll watch them throughout their lives and, Gabriel, you can take notes. And put down that damn trumpet. It's getting on my wick."

And so when pot luck parties roll around I'm called upon to bring napkins and paper plates, which kind of hurts my feelings, but it's much better than the way my feelings are after watching people politely pass by whatever dish I might make to set upon the big buffet table. Hey, I like my Hoppin' John Salad, and dream of the day some poor unsuspecting soul says to me, "Wow, this is great! I must have the recipe!"

The funniest phone call I've ever received in my life happened about 20 years ago, when my cousin Jacob called me up one day and asked me how to make a baked potato. We were both young and stupid back then, and she wasn't sure exactly what one did, potato-wise. I think her main question was, "If you put it in a conventional oven, do you still have to poke holes in it so it won't explode?" Of course, Jacob is now married and makes all kinds of food (I assume, we don't talk much now), and although I can proudly say that I've always known how to make a baked potato, I don't really think I've progressed in the whole cooking milieu like Jacob has.

However, I would like to make the announcement that over the Easter holiday I baked my first-ever turkey. Well, it was a turkey breast, but to me that's the same thing, only you don't have to worry about fishing out the little bag of giblets in the turkey's nether regions, which I tried to do anyway, I felt all over that poor bird's erogenous zones looking for giblets. When I realized he didn't really have a cavity per se to put them in, I put all fears aside and got going on him. So to speak. And he came out just fine, I ate him and Mr M ate him and neither of us came down with food poisoning or bird flu.

But then, Sunday came along.

I'd decided that my recipe du jour for this week's Picture Sunday would contain a little ingredient called Jell-O. I know I'm a woman of a mature age, able to drive and vote and buy liquor and everything, but I've never in my entire life made Jell-O. I've never had a need to. I don't like Jell-O. I find it rather difficult to understand why anyone would like Jell-O. I mean, what's to like? It's goofy Kool-Aid. It's not jelly, not ice cream, not a popsicle, it's just, well, you know. It's goofy! I didn't even like it much as a kid, even though Mom made it and so therefore we were obliged to eat it, but my question was always, "If you want something sweet, why Jell-O? Not when there's chocolate, and rice with cream and sugar in it." For those of you keeping score at home, I don't like pudding, either. The Jell-O people get none of my hard-earned cash, in 20-cent increments, for my snacking pleasures.

(An aside - probably the worst thing about my surgery two years ago, other than the pain, and the not being able to sleep from the pain, was the fact that for three days my entire diet consisted of Jell-O and ice chips. The only thing I had to look forward to in a day's time was guessing what color the Jell-O would be for any given meal. I was hoping green would never make an appearance, but it did.)

I wasn't that worried about the whole Jell-O experience, though. I mean, what an innocuous little food. How hard could it be to make? After all, Bill Cosby was on TV for years telling kids about the joys of getting in the kitchen, making up some star-shaped Jell-O, and having the time of their young lives. And so I went to The Store, bought me a nice box of lemon, and got cooking.

I read the directions carefully, something not usually very high on my list of priorities. The directions were simple. Add one cup of boiling water to your Jell-O powder. Then add one cup of cold water. Slide the whole concoction into the refrigerator, and let the fun begin. And that's exactly what I did, though I had a slight problem with the last part. Because the fun never did begin, and the angst started knocking at my door.

I was told to, if I was doing something fancy with my Jell-O, and boy, wasn't I, wait until the Jell-O got to the consistency of beaten eggs before I started adding my ingredients. And I got there. I got right to that part, my Jell-O was getting a little oozy, and I added my ingredients, and the smile on my face, when they kind of held there and didn't sink to the bottom, was a mile wide.

But that didn't last long. Because I kept checking my Jell-O and it kept staying that same consistency. Oozy beaten eggs. I waited. And waited. I stuck forks and fingers into the bowl, and nothing seemed to be gelling. Or Jell-Oing. I'd given myself a window of five hours. At the five hour mark I had little hope, but I checked it all again. It was still oozy. And I got woozy. Not only for the fact that I was becoming aware that my recipe du jour was in grave jeopardy, but also for the fact that I didn't seem to be able to make the food kids learn to cook with.

I gave it two more hours. The same thing. At that point, I'd decided I was going to wait it out. I made an announcement that the recipe du jour had been put on hold for a day, and then I began the most intense Mexican Standoff anyone ever had with a bowl of Jell-O.

I went to bed. I got up Monday morning and before I even checked my email and started my coffee, I checked my recipe. Nothing. I went to work and came home at lunch at checked again. Nothing.

The Jell-O had won.

Or had it? About an hour before it was time to go home from work, I had something of an epiphany. This is the recipe du jour! I don't eat the recipe du jour. I don't even set it out on a pot luck buffet table for people to politely pass by. All I needed this hoo-hah dish for was a photo. What did I care about anything else?

So when I got home from work I took my oozy tuna-carrot-basil-celery-packet of mayonnaise lemon Jell-O and stuck it in the freezer. I then went about my after-work duties, laundry, kitchen-cleaning, exercising, staring into space, and after about 2 hours I checked the freezer. I had something hard, which was about as exciting as it gets here at the Poderosa.

So I upended it, plopped it on a plate, gingerly, dressed it up, and took its picture. And I probably would have had you all fooled, could have said, "Look at meeeee! I can make Jell-O, you bastards!" But then I decided the packet of mayonnaise needed his place in the spotlight, so I started taking a spoon to the salad. What I came up with, as evidenced by the last photo in Picture Sunday, was a gigantic plate of glop. And sure, I could have blamed that on the hot lights of the photo session, but I'm nothing if not honest, and so I thought I'd tell you the whole sorry tale.

I asked my friend and workmate San, also known as my Mother Figure, what on earth I could have done wrong to, quote, "fuck up Jell-O." She told me I put too much water in it. I refused to believe this and kept stating my case, which was that I put in exactly the amount of hot water and cold water that I was asked to add. San's reply? "You put too much water in." No-nonsense, that San.

Well, I let it slide, knowing in my heart I put exactly the right amount of water in that bowl. And I do know that I did. One cup hot, one cup cold. Whatever transpired once the water was in that powder I have no control over. However, once the pictures were made and that most distressful of times arrived, the Recipe du Jour Cleanup, I did notice that my Jell-O Tuna Salad Extravaganza seemed to be, well, for lack of a better word, leaking. Not melting, for the liquid emanating from it wasn't yellow. Leaking.

So, who knows? Not I, that's for damn sure. All I know is that I don't like Jell-O, Jell-O is not my friend, and I'll be happy if I never have to make it again. Only I'm kind of mulling around a new recipe idea that involves Jell-O. And this is what is known in the vernacular as "a glutton for punishment."

Maybe I'll try suspending my next dish in pudding.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. Thanks for playing. So, tell me about your cooking disasters.
- Honorable Mention goes to Kellie, with her "Eggplant Really Nasty? You Will Call Lawyer." Sue, sue, sue.
- Runner-up goes to ESP, with her, "Every recipe never yields what children like." Picky, picky, picky.
- And this week's winner goes to Flipsycab, with her "Elaine reinvented nasty: Yak-Walnut-Cauliflower-Latte." Nasty, nasty, nasty.
- Thanks to all who played, you've all done very well!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Picture Monday

Hello, all you Mondayers. All you people who haven't acroed. OK, OK, it's not your fault, really, I went and changed the day on you. So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to leave acro open until its original time, 10pm est on Tuesday night. Just remember, though, acrochallenge is below you, below Picture Monday, so if you're still interested in playing, just head down the page, after you've read this current entry, of course. If you go without reading you shall be disqualified, and, yes, I know who you'll be. I'm very good that way.

But let's get right to the pictures. It should be no surprise to any of you - mainly because I mentioned it right here, but also because it seems to be my main hobby lately - on Friday I went to see the one and only Hackensaw Boys. Went to see them in C'ville, VA, which happens to be their hometown, so I was expecting good things from my fellers. And I was not disappointed.

For this trip it was me, Mr M, and our buddy ESP. And I have a very special shout-out tonight to ESP. Because she did something wonderful.

See, in all my times seeing The Boys (not to be confused with The Boys, the cartoon characters who live with me), I've stood around, foot-tapping and bouncing around. But oh, how I've watched those younger people dancing, spinning, grooving, and having all manners of fun. And oh, how I've wanted to join in. But I never would. Because I'm me, the pod who thinks that if she joins in the dancing someone will look at her and say, "Geezus, what an idiot."

So about three songs into the show, ESP came up behind me and asked me why I wasn't dancing. My reply was that I didn't have anyone to dance with and she said, "Well, I'll dance with you." And so we danced. And danced. And danced and danced and danced, for the whole rest of the show, grooving and stomping and hoeing down in general. We even danced a waltz! (And a lovely waltz it was, E.) I had a complete blast, and it was without a doubt the most fun time I've ever had seeing The Hackensaws.

After the show Mr M came over to us (he does not hoe down), and said to me, "I don't think I've ever been so impressed by you." Also, Mr M's knee was in general pain and disarray most of the afternoon, and I'm convinced that The Hackensaws' version of "Gospel Plow" healed his knee. It got better.

Now, I know you've seen these fellows to death, but you've seen them with me or Sherman tagging along in the picture. How about a few action shots? (Hear me? Action shots!) (Sorry, that joke never gets old.)



Check out that cutie-pie Baby J, getting into it.

Oh, wait! That's an incomplete picture! It's incomplete because Mahlon isn't in the picture. That must be rectified.



Ahhh, that's better. That's like getting a picture of The Beatles without Paul.

And of course, Sherman had a lovely time, because he was in my bag and as I danced all over creation he in essence danced as well. He came out occasionally though, to join the fun. Here he's saying, "Check out these guys! They're good!"



But then he got to fulfill his lifelong dream. Yes, here is Sherman onstage with The Hackensaw Boys!



He fiddled along to "Nashville."

And so, things ended all too quickly, and we headed back through town (the concert was right in the middle of C'ville) to our car, and I seemed to have no knees or ankles. I'd fretted about wearing my least comfortable walking shoes, shoes with support something akin to wearing two pieces of cardboard strapped to my feet. Little did I know I'd be going crazy on croncrete all that time. When I went to bed I thought, "Damn, I'll be crawling around the house tomorrow trying to get my clothes on." But lo and behold, I felt great Saturday morning. So I guess The Hackensaws healed my knees and ankles with "Gospel Plow" as well, by delayed reaction.

And we all had a fine old time.

And then - depression set in. Well, not depression, but as you read yesterday I had a bit of a worrying time in the recipe du jour department. Two days in the making, this recipe was, people! Give me some props here!

LilyG suggested I come up with a recipe for "Tuna Surprise." Now, I gave that a lot of thought because there's no end to the ideas you could wrap around that dish. Here's what I came up with. Yes, from the "Fun Requests" file in recipeland, say hello to "Jell-O Tuna Salad Extravaganza."



The surprise in this tuna surprise? Well, the big surprise is that it's all the ingredients of tuna salad - tuna, celery, carrots, some basil leaves, and a small packet of mayonnaise - congealed in lemon Jell-O. I'm so proud of this picture. It looks closest to anything the recipe card people of old ever presented. I topped my salad with some barbecued dry roasted peanuts, the barbecue being another surprise, and surrounded it with lettuce.

I guess the other surprise, well, if you wanted to make a game of things, you could say that the person who gets the packet of mayonnaise is the King of Tuna Day, and gets a prize. Like, oh, say, not to having to eat the salad.

The lucky person who got this helping is the King.



Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Remember, if you want to play acro, head down one entry and acro away. You have till tomorrow at 10pm est.
* And don't forget our special Saturday night edition of the Hucklebug!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

(A Flip-Flop) Acrochallenge!

Well, let's talk Lowlights of the Week.

I'm having just a bit of a worrying time in the recipe du jour department. I've been working on tonight's recipe since approximately 2:00 this afternoon. At 10:30, it's still not ready. There's no way I can do a Picture Sunday without it.

Therefore, let's have a little switch. Let's do an acro tonight, and I'll have Picture Sunday on Monday, with or without the recipe du jour I've been working on, and then I'll name the acrowinners tomorrow.

Now comes Problem Number Two. I wasn't prepared for an acrochallenge, so I have no acrotopic. So let's think one up here on the spot. How about "Cooking Disasters?" Hmmm, wonder where that came from?

All the other rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can that not only matches the topic above, but also the letters below which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket's a take-out kind of guy, no cooking for him. Afraid he'll burn his handles. Then tomorrow night, yes, that's tomorrow night, Monday, at 10pm est I shall be reading the entries and judging the winners, who will receive what may or may not become of my recipe du jour, and the non-winners, who, let's face it, will have the better end of the stick.

So this week's topic? "Cooking Disasters." The letters:

E R N Y W C L

So get in the kitchen and acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* On the up side, however, there's a new edition of Hucklebug the Podcast! You can, as always, subscribe from iTunes, or hit our blog, http://hucklebug.blogspot.com, and listen there. It's our Very Special Saturday Episode.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Another Left Turn Down Technical Difficulty Lane

And believe us, folks, that's Stennie and me for those of you in the know, it's not a fun place to be.

Yes, I'm sure you were all waiting with held breath and clinched fists for this week's Hucklebug podcast. But it's not here.

I could tell you the whole story, but it would make you cry, and then I'd cry just remembering it, and then the little men in white coats and butterfly nets would come and carry me away and I wouldn't get to go see the Hackensaw Boys tonight.

Just suffice to say that we recorded a lovely podcast for all you wonderful podcastees, lost it in the recording, recorded a second one for you self-same podcastees, and I'll be damned if we didn't lose that one too.

But never fear, my babies! This weekend we shall be doing a "Very Special Episode" of the Hucklebug, and it'll be our best podcast yet, we promise. We promise this knowing nothing of what we will be talking about or even if we'll be able to keep from losing it as well.

But we shall overcome! Someday!

(Of course, for the latest podcast, if you haven't listened yet, head to http://hucklebug.blogspot.com.)

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Did I mention I'm going to see the Hackensaw boys tonight?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Vehicle ID Numbers and the Lamb of God

I work for, as you all know, TheCompanyIWorkFor. And part of my many, many (many, many, many, ad infinitum) duties at TheCompanyIWorkFor is to, as only those most scientific of us would say, "do junk with vehicles."

I talk to many (many, many, etc.) people during a day's time and there is much back-and-forthing about vehicle year models, odometer readings, makes, and styles. And vehicle ID numbers. Or serial numbers, or as we in The Biz call them, VINs. And as a quick aside, why - oh, why? - do companies make car styles such as the S, the SE, the GL, the GLX, the GLXE, the GT, the ZT and the LTZ, and give them all the same fucking set of "model identifier" digits in the VIN? I curse you for that, car companies! But that's another rant for another time, so I'll breathe, let my blood pressure go back down, and get on to what I was really going to blog about.

As you might imagine, when a person like myself is talking over the phone with another person, any old person really, but mainly a person from, oh, say, Up North, there can be the odd misunderstanding over letters. And with me, even numbers can be a little suspect ("fo-or," "sehyeven"), but letters are the main problem. S is mistaken for F, M for N, C for Z, P for T, and vice versa and everything else you can think of. And so generally when I and my conversationees are talking letters, we go for the old Police Version of Saying Things. That would be your words beginning with whatever letter you're trying to communicate.

I know that somewhere out there is the "official" letters list, the Able-Baker-Charlie way of saying things, but apparently neither I nor anyone I speak to knows this list very well. So we all just use whatever words we like. Some are pretty easy. A - that tends to always be "apple" or "Adam," I don't know why anyone wouldn't want to use "boy" for B, "Mary" is the most popular M choice. And "Nancy" for N. Z is generally "zebra," though just once I want to pull out "zeitgeist" when giving a Z, to see if I can make someone squirm.

Then there are the letters that are not so easy. K is one of those. Well, for me it's easy, because K is "kite" and nothing else. But you do get the odd person fumbling around over K, finally coming up with "kiss" or "kangaroo." U is another, most use "umbrella," but the occasional "ugly" pops in, or "up," or "underwear," if one is so bold.

And in general, the whole letter thing is no big deal and we all understand each other and have a fine old time there on the phones.

But yesterday, something happened to me that prompted this whole little blog entry. And not only happened to me, but happened to me twice in the same day! My, my, what an exciting life I lead.

Now, when I'm doing my words for letters, I tend to say, "as in," or, "like." You know, "C as in cat." Some people just say the words, and I can't bring myself to do that because I feel like it makes a person sound like he's trying to be important. You know, like he is the police, or is commanding an army squadron up a hill.

Anyway, quite early on into my day yesterday a woman was reading a VIN to me over the phone. She was going along just beautifully and I was typing in letters and numbers like nobody's business. She was doing the "army squadron" version of things, not telling me letters, just telling me words. So her VIN went something like, "1GeorgeHarryVictor547Xray6Cathy...."

Upon hearing "Cathy," I typed in a K. "Kathy." Then it hit me and I said, "Uh, wait just a second," and she immediately piped in, "That's Cathy, with a C." And all was solved, and I went back to typing.

But "Cathy?" For C? That's just about the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life. Why on God's Green Earth would someone use "Cathy" as their C word? A person is just begging for trouble with a choice like that. It defies description.

And I chuckled, once I was off the phone, and got on with my day.

Then, in the afternoon, I had to do the same thing, with a different woman this time, who also decided she was leading an army squadron up a hill, giving me words only. And her VIN went something like, "2BoyHenryZebraPaul476Christ...."

Now.

I've got to tell you, she was a pretty harsh-talking type of woman, with a northern accent, and for a brief second or two I thought something had gone wrong there at her desk and she was blaspheming. "Paul476 - Christ!" I thought she'd spilled her coffee or something.

But no, she just kept on reading digits, and I was trying very hard to keep up, which was difficult what with my being in a small state of shock and all, and there were three Cs in that VIN and for every single one she used "Christ."

And I've been in a state of perplexment about this ever since.

Let's say this woman who was reading me her VIN was of a religious nature. Sure, she may have Jesus on the Brain at various points throughout her day, and especially while she was reading to me on the phone. But wouldn't she think it was a little, well, sacreligious to actually use the name of her Lord and Savior in a random reading of VIN digits?

And let's say this woman wasn't of a religious nature. No Jesus on the Brain whatsoever. Then wouldn't she not even think of "Christ?" Let's face it, there's no paucity of words out there beginning with the letter C. The list of choices boggles the mind. There are only a scant few words I can think of to use that would be worse than "Christ," and none of them are printable here, for the public at large.

So, who knows? Maybe she used to use Cathy too, and got tired of correcting herself. At least Christ always spelled His name with a C.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* We will now have a reading of the acrowinners. (rustling of papers, clearing of throat) We will not have a reading of the acrowinners. Because there weren't any this week. Ahhhh, a good "Music Man" joke. You just can't beat that one.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Acrochallenge...

... is taking a little vacation this week. Bet is tired. Bet is fine, just tired and trying to come up with acrotopics.

Grant me this one week of acropeace and I shall return next acroweek to acrotain you.

Acrothanks.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I miss my clarinet.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Picture Sunday

Hello, Easter weekend people. It's time for another make-you-dizzy edition of Picture Sunday. I just got back from a very enjoyable Easter dinner at the sister's house. Very nice and relaxing. Thanks, sis.

Yes, spring is upon us. So I'm going to give you a few pictures of a definite springy nature.

The first is from B'burg. It's from Virginia Tech, right there in B'burg. Now, I can't really figure out much about this picture, but I like it. Is it a cemetery of some sort? Who knows? It's at the Turfgrass Reasearch Center at Tech, so I have a vague feeling it might have to do with different types of grass and really odd and creepy labels for them.



So, is it different types of grass? Is it dead soldiers? Is it late students who partied too hard one Saturday night? Is it turf researchers who just worked too damn hard? One may never know, but it makes for an interesting photo.

And what else does spring bring? Baseball! Not one of my favorite sports, but my dear nephew Taytie plays on the high school baseball team, so I went to see them play on Friday, which was a blessed day off for me. It was a very exciting game. Halfway through we were behind 6-2, and I wouldn't have given us a dime's chance of a victory. But never count those G-Men out, my friends, because we came back to win, 7-6, in the final inning. And the nephew had a good game, two nice hits, and a hit over the fence that was foul by about a foot. That one really got him; he thought he had a homer.

However, Saturday morning, this picture made the first page of the sports section of our paper. My nephew is the guy in the white uniform, not number 1, the one on the right with his face to the camera getting ready to turn the double play. I'll pause while you all cheer.



And forget that girl on the billboard. I don't know who the hell she is. Go Taytie.

And what else does spring bring? It brings Easter, that's what. And Easter brings tonight's recipe du jour. Sure, some of you crums have big fancy dinners, hams and turkeys and vegetables galore. But some of us crums have a more casual Easter dinner. And so from the "Lazy Holidays" section of Recipeland comes tonight's recipe, Easter On A Stick.



What could be more fun on Easter than a dinner full of foods on a stick? Nothing, that's what. So here's a dinner including everyone's favorite, pickle on a stick, and boiled egg on a stick. It also has vienna sausages on a stick (or what we here in the south call vienny weenies, or what my nephew used to call viennable weenies), the weenies are fancier for Easter because they're topped with mustard, olives on a stick, and of course your main course is a nice piece of roast beef on a stick. Because we're polite here at the Poderosa, you must have a napkin on a stick, and, from a suggestion from that magnate of nutrition Mr M, there in orange right underneath the napkin on a stick you'll see a vitamin on a stick. Just to keep things healthy.

Livingston the bunny is sitting by saying hello, and because she's always wanted to be in a recipe du jour, presiding over this week's recipe is the Queen of Easter, Lily on a stick. Lily's easy to put on a stick since she has that hole in her midsection.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Technical difficulties are over! The new podcast is up. Access it through iTunes or at http://hucklebug.blogspot.com.
* The G-Men look like they have Stars of David on their baseball hats.

Friday, April 14, 2006

To Whet Your Appetite

Due to very very sad and upsetting technical difficulties, this week's podcast will not appear till the weekend. Sometime.

However!

As a little appetizer, Stennie, editor extraordinaire except when she doesn't save stuff and loses an entire week's editing, we love you Stennie, really, has put up a portion of Tuesday's conversation. This would be the part of the conversation where I seem to be having a stroke.

Go here -> www.hucklebug.blogspot.com and listen. And stay tuned for the actual 'cast.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Day off today. Yes, that's why I call it "Good Friday." Changed bed linens, paid bills, baked a turkey breast, and am now getting ready to head off to watch Taytie play baseball. Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


I Normally Don't Read My Fortune

Or my horoscope, either. And I think we've figured out that if the fortune in question is on myway.com, it's not my personal fortune, but the fortune of anyone who accesses the page. And that's just a bit unfair. I mean, how am I supposed to live my life by the fortunes of others? Well, I just don't know how, so there.

But for some reason, yesterday I scrolled down the myway page a bit, probably to read the Odd News headlines, and I saw my fortune. It said, and I'm paraphrasing here, but you get the idea, "Think for a moment about the fourth grade."

Now, this is a very odd fortune. It's cryptic is what it is. And it's something that I would never have done in a million years, thinking about the fourth grade. But of course the minute they told me to think about it, I thought about it. And I've thought about it a lot since then. Damn those myway people.

I was in the fourth grade a long time ago. I mean, a long time ago. You folks may have thought the fourth grade was a long time ago for you, but I promise it was longer ago for me. I did ride the school bus, though, unlike my dad in the fourth grade, which was even a longer time ago, as evidenced by the fact that he had to walk upwards of five miles to school, in shabby shoes, on mountain roads, and only had a cold biscuit to eat once he got there. Then there was always something about having to shine shoes after school till his back hurt, but I was generally tuned out by the time that portion of the story arrived.

For me, fourth grade was in good old GIS. It held grades 4, 5, and 6. My teacher was Miss P. Miss P was old, even then, and she lived till long after I graduated high school. I, later on, found out that Miss P was quite the nice woman, with a great sense of humor, but in the fourth grade she was best described as "no nonsense." Miss P had long, long gray hair, which she wore up in a bun, she was built like a pepperpot, and had an old face but the greatest skin in the world. It was like cream, that old skin. Miss P, as you may have guessed by the "Miss," never married. As an adult (or what passes for one), I came to realize that maybe I'd missed something in the fourth grade, we kids back then being oh-so-naive, because Miss P had a friend named Miss W she lived with. They were roomies, and went everywhere together for as long as I knew them. They were inseparable.

There were about 20 kids in Miss P's class. She was one of 4 fourth grade teachers. Jack and Scott and Gary were in the class with me, they were the most popular boys, and Shirley and Elaine were probably the most popular girls, Cindy was best at kickball, and Judy, who was my second cousin and developed breasts very, very early (she looked like a high schooler in the fourth grade), was the smartest. Angie was my very own black friend, she was very athletic, and I loved her hair. She wore it, like little black girls did in those days, in four or five braided pigtails on various points of her head. Angie could always make me laugh. Doug was cute, but moved away before we all reached high school, as did Jimmy and Herbie.

Shirley and I had a dress that was exactly the same, it was white and had lemons all over it. This was a complete shock to me, because my lemon dress was a hand-me-down from my sister, which meant it was bought in Charleston, where we used to live. That there could be two dresses alike made that far apart amazed me, and one day we made plans to wear our lemon dresses on the same day. And so we did, and at recess that day someone pulled the bow at the back of my dress and ripped it off. I kept pulling at the stray threads till by about 4pm my dress was basically a rag. Goodbye, lemon dress.

Fourth grade was the first year of SRA, which was the "in" reading program at the time, and I had to migrate to Mrs L's class for that, because that's where the best readers went. I hated Mrs L, she was the crabbiest teacher in fourth grade (but not at GIS, that was an honor reserved for Mrs C in the sixth grade), and I hated SRA. I could never understand why the SRA people would never let you erase. If you made a mistake, you had to cross out your answer and write your new answer beside it. For a while I thought this was due to the cheapness of their workbooks, the paper in them was nothing more than glorified newsprint, but I came to realize that this is because those evil SRA people wanted the teachers to know if you didn't know the answer the first time around. Mrs L was a stickler about a lot of things, but that erasing rule was her number one. If she saw erase marks in your workbook, which was a certainty with that shitty paper, you were in trouble. Crab, crab, crab.

(I must admit though, I liked the color-coding of the SRA program. You started in some non-descript color, like purple, and worked your way up through a series of colors, and if you were very smart indeed you reached gold. I can't remember if I actually did. I know I got to silver.)

About halfway through the school year, Miss P broke her leg. She was gone for a month or so, a month where we had a series of substitutes and didn't do much, and when Miss P came back she was in a cast, from the knee down, but it was a walking cast. So you could hear her hobbling up behind you, ready to reprimand you at a moment's notice.

Another thing I remember about the fourth grade was actually the sixth grade. See, the sixth grade was where the Special Ed class was also housed, and that's where Wonko and Conago were. Wonko and Conago were part of The Sisters. In our town there were a set of sisters whose names were, and don't challenge me on this, for I'm telling the truth, and I have the yearbooks to prove it - Wonko, Conago, Capater, and Cranyon. Capater and Cranyon were high schoolers, and Wonko and Conago were big enough to be, they were like six feet tall. Then again, they were probably 16 or so, so that would explain that. Anyway, Wonko and Conago were tough girls indeed, and thought nothing of going up to anyone and taking anything they wanted. If you were at the far end of the hall leaving Mrs L's room after SRA and saw Wonko or Conago entering the building at the other end of the hall, you just went ahead and fished your lunch money out of your little rubber change purse. Because within minutes, they were going to have it. This was the fourth graders' first experience with the Special Ed kids, so we were scared of most of them, but the only ones who deserved it were Wonko and Conago.

The Special Ed teacher was Mr B, and he was so frightingly mean that when he did lunch duty, no one was allowed to speak. To speak! Imagine the indigestion of sitting on your little bench trying to eat your lunch in total silence, knowing that if you as much as asked for the mustard you were in line for a few whacks from Mr B's paddle. (Ahhh, the good old days of corporal punishment....)

I got my ears pierced when I was in the fourth grade. That was a big deal for me. And wonder of wonders, when I was in the fourth grade the Beatles released "Let It Be," which Miss P seemed to love. We had no idea Miss P even knew who the Beatles were, but she loved that song. And she let Gary bring his "Let It Be" single to school one day so we could all listen to it on the school record player, which normally played nothing more than the soundtracks to the filmstrips about the earth's crust we had to watch in science class.

And in a story telling of the times, in the fourth grade Miss P also had a tin canister that held little cut-up Bible verses, and every morning a row of kids had to come to the front of the class, pick out a verse, and read it. I hated this, not only because Bible verses are filled with Bible language, which I never seemed to be able to wrap my lips around, but also because one of the verses in that canister had the word "hell" contained in it, and I lived in fear that I would be called upon to read the "dirty" Bible verse. And one day I had to. There were snickers all around, as there were any time a kid got the "hell" verse.

So that was the fourth grade. I'd spend two more years at good old GIS, joining the band in the fifth grade, surviving Mrs C in the sixth grade, and dodging Wonko and Conago all over the place. Dipping in and out of classrooms with the same kids and different ones, ones I'd known forever and most of whom I'd end up graduating with. Two of those kids are dead now, one in a car accident right after graduation and one by his own hand several years ago.

Some are long gone, I don't know where, some I do know where but never keep up with them. Our class (1978) to this day has the largest number of never-married members, and of gay members, which could explain why some of them never married, I suppose. Somewhere I have a picture of our fourth grade class at GIS, standing there in front of the school, on bleachers, Miss P with us in her walking cast. I couldn't find it anywhere, which made me kind of sad, now that I've been forced to think about the fourth grade by those myway people. I do have my fourth grade school picture, though.

I can remember that purple dress very well. It was thick and warm and I liked it. The hair, though. That is some suspect hair. I guess some things never change.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. So, what about the rising gas prices?
- Honorable mention goes to Kellie, with her "I Took Over Ivanna's N-out-mart." (Very lucrative nowadays!)
- Runner-up goes to LilyG, with her "International terrorist -- OPEC. It's nasty." And LilyG knows her terrorists!
- And this week's winner is Flipsy cab, with her "Imagine: to operate in neutral." Which we all may be doing soon.
Thanks to all who played. I promise, one day you'll actually win something.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Acrochallenge!

Hello, all you smart people out there in internetland. And welcome to another this can't just be Monday round of acromania.

Question - is there an acrotopic we haven't covered? We've done animals, the weather, cars, yourselves, geography.... I'm stumped. So I've turned to Mr M for a topic. And he's graced us with one. This week's acrotopic is "Rising Gas Prices."

All the other rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronym they can that not only matches the topic above, but also the letters below which are randomly drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket drives an electric. He's a regular Ed Begley, Jr. Then tomorrow night at 10pm est I shall be viewing the entries and naming the winners, who will not receive a free tank of gas on me, and the non-winners who will not receive anything either. Why do you all keep playing? You never win anything!

So, the topic is "Rising Gas Prices." The letters:

I T O I N

There you go. Now drive around some and think up your acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* May I make it clear that I do not eat the recipes du jour?
* Finally did my state taxes tonight. I don't know why I procrastinate so on the states. They take all of 2 minutes to complete.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Picture Sunday

Hello! Hello, people! Hi!

OK, so I guess I should tell you right off the bat that I've been drinking. It was a very work-filled weekend, and so when the work was done, I celebrated. As one does. Three martinis later, I oddly seem to not be able to type as well as I normally do. Imagine that.

Anyway, welcome to Sunday, you end-of-weekenders, and this week's Picture Sunday is going to be a local edition. I didn't go to B'burg this weekend, what with Mr M off doing his musical thing (he's playing in a musical, in the pit, "the pit" apparently describing the musical to a tee). Instead of being ignored or left to my own devices, I just thought I'd stay here at the Poderosa and make myself useful.

And I did. And that's why I'm drinking. And that's also why I can't move my arms. Only my fingers, which I'm moving, for you, my dear readers, and I hope you're grateful.

But let's go back a couple of days. To Tuesday, when the sun was actually out here in B'field.

Yes, it's a yearly occurrence here in Podland, The Appearance of the Daffodils. They appear in my yard, right in their little fenced-in area, they stay for about a week - then they die. And then they ugly up my yard until I get the energy to go out and pull as many bulbs as I can out of my little fenced-in area. As you'll see, this year's edition has less flowers than usual. This is a good thing. My ultimate goal is to have no daffodils whatsoever in my little fenced-in area, so I can plant my own flowers in there. And they won't be daffodils, thanks.



Like I said, that was earlier in the week. When the sun came out.

This weekend, however, there was no sun to speak of. In fact, there was rain, rain, rain. No, you don't understand. It rained. The creek behind my house was swollen with water, as were all the other creeks and streams in our little burg here.

And that's where Picture 2 comes from. See, it's a substitute of sorts. I found this while driving the same little piece of road over and over for about 45 minutes trying to get the picture I actually wanted. But no matter how hard I tried, it was just in a place where I couldn't stop the car and get out and snap, and I had to give up on The Perfect Picture and settle for The Next Best Thing.

You know how, on the TV news, when the water gets way up in any given place, they're fond of showing some huge expanse of water covering automobiles, and you always see at least one car, about a foot of its hood sticking up out of a big swirl of water? Well, on this little road I was traveling, down below there was a swirl of swollen creek, and sticking up out of the swirl, about a foot or so - was the roof of a Little Tykes Cozy Coupe. It was perfect. I wanted that picture more than I wanted just about anything I can name, but it was not to be.

However, some poor soul did seem to lose his riding lawn mower in the swirl of flooded creeks. Hope it wasn't some poor Mowing Boy, who depends on the vehicle for his livelihood.



I know. Doesn't even compare to the roof of a Cozy Coupe, does it? (The Cozy Coupe has always made me laugh, btw. When Taytie was just a tot, he used to drive his in front of the TV to sit in while he watched. He didn't even know what a drive-in was, and yet recreated the whole drive-in experience while watching TV every night.)

And finally, here's why I was celebrating, here's why I'm just the tiniest bit inebriated, and here's why I'm so tired I can only move my fingers to type, and nothing above them.

This weekend, I hung blinds!

Yep, this involved, of course, removing the blinds that were already there, and hanging all the new ones, some of which were very large indeed and not intended to be hung by one person, then doing all the cleaning afterwards, and - well, I'm pooped, OK? I'm just friggin' pooped.

And so today when the second room, the sixth window, was completed, I made a large batch of martinis, drew myself a nice hot bath, and got right decadent, bathing and drinking. Anyway, I know I just printed a picture of the Mantrap a few weeks ago, when I bought my new fat pillows, but check out this new photo. No old, dirty, outdated, off-white blinds. New, clean, modern, stark-white blinds!



And it's not like that just in the Mantrap, my friends! All of my windows in the living room are adorned with the same lovely new white blinds. A very long job, a very tiring job, but a very satisfying job. Especially now that it's over and I'm drunk.

And now on to the recipe du jour.

And what a fine recipe we have for you tonight. Unfortunately, the picture doesn't even begin to do justice to the recipe itself. Tonight's recipe comes from the old "Fun Requests" file at Recipeland. And this request comes from Mike, who suggested that I might want to try to make Ice Cream Lasagna. And, by gum, I gave it a shot.



Now first of all let's get to the recipe. Ice cream lasagna consists of lasagna noodles layered alternately with one's favorite ice cream. In this case it's vanilla ice cream mixed with oregano. Then once the lasagna is built, it's covered with spaghetti sauce, then topped with whipped cream, parmesan cheese sprinkles, and topped with a cherry tomato. And if one is especially adventurous, one could have a side salad dressed with whipped cream and topped with an olive.

However, here is the problem one may have with ice cream lasagna. It melts. So no matter how hard one tries to try to freeze the ice cream and cool the noodles, by the time one gets one's camera out, things have gotten very messy indeed. Who knows, maybe the oregano is a natural melting agent to the ice cream. Anyway, the picture just doesn't tell you how beautiful the recipe itself was. In real life, this recipe looks good enough to eat, well, good enough to eat if one is quite odd indeed. And let's face it, Mike is.

By the way, if anyone has a recipe suggestion, let me know. I can't promise anything, but I'll certainly take all suggestions into consideration.

Happy week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Lawrence Welk is an entertaining program. I watch it occasionally and laugh like crazy. Last night was a case in point. Bobby and Cissy danced to "Love Will Keep Us Together" while wearing lime green jumpsuits. Bobby and Cissy are just hoots.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Movies and Camp

I sent my baby away this week.

Yes, the beloved RC, my clarinet, needed an overhaul. And he's getting one next week, courtesy of Mr Grabner. Now, I have no qualms whatsoever about Mr Grabner fondling my clarinet, for he knows his clarinets and no mistake. But still. I had to send him away. In a box, like so much other postal chattle.

And so I'm acting very much like a mother whose baby is leaving her for the first time. I've cushioned the blow of loss by telling myself my RC is going "to camp." I'll imagine him there in Chicago (home of the official Chicago Symphony windbreaker), swimming, singing campfire songs (don't get too close to that campfire!), and climbing ropes. Sandwiches and Kool-Aid. It's a lot better than imagining FedEx carrying his disjointed self, in a box, to a stranger to have keys pulled off and oil baths given.

"Camp" (and oil baths) are to occur next week. Then he gets sent home. I'll have to be careful not to hit myself in the head with him too hard after that. Camp doesn't come cheap.

So, I did promise I'd do Jellybean's Movie Meme. And I wouldn't be a very nice person if I broke my promise, would I? And so without further ado....

The Movie Meme

1. Movie that you can watch over and over:
Well, don't all the podcastees know that there are in fact three, count them, I know you won't, movies that I can watch over and over. But I'm going to limit all my answers to one movie, so I have to choose. And I choose "The In-Laws," starring Peter Falk and no less a person than Alan F Arkin himself. Makes me laugh every time, and if I watch it a thousand more times in my life, which is a distinct possibility, I've no doubt it still will.

2. Movie you liked more than you expected to:
"Layer Cake." I picked this up at the vidie store one Friday last year, simply because I remembered it getting some good reviews. I was expecting your "Trainspotting"/"Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels" hip, groovy camerawork, violent sort of schlock. And it was hip and had groovy camerawork, but no schlock. It has a great storyline, twists and turns, a great lead in Daniel "Why Don't People Want Me To Be Bond" Craig, and a wrap up that rocks.

3. Movie you liked more than it deserved:
"Prelude to a Kiss." I mean, come on - Meg Ryan? Alec Baldwin? Together? In a love story? This goes against everything I'd normally like, but there's something about this movie that just makes me incredibly happy. I'm a sucker when Alec falls for the offbeat Meg, and for the idea that, if you love someone enough, you can see the "inside" them even though they seem to be someone else on the outside. I haven't seen it in a while, but generally if I find it on cable, I'll watch.

4. Movie you wanted to like but couldn't:
"Wings of Desire." I saw this movie when it came out, at the "artsy" theatre my cousin Jacob and I used to go to. (The one I almost got thrown out of, but that's another story for another time.) I'd heard such wonderful things about "Wings," and couldn't wait to see it, so we drove down one weekend for a viewing. I was bored stiff, and ended up occupying myself through the second half of the film by making fun of it. "When the child was a child..." I kept saying, in my best foreign accent (which probably sounded like a nazi, even then). Jacob wasn't amused. I've since found out that many, many people love this movie. And I've thought of giving it another chance, but can't bring myself to do it.

5. Movie you were excited to see when it first came out, but never saw:
I can say this about many movies. I mean, many movies. For some reason though, looking at the question, "Return of the Jedi" comes to mind quickest. Never saw it. Now don't care.

6. Movie you love, but can't watch:
Wow, that's kind of like "song you love that you disagree with completely" on the CD challenge. I think of being able to watch any movie I really love. But I'm sure there's one out there, so let me think. Well, it pains me to say it, but "Auntie Mame," one of my top movies of all time, has been sitting on my shelf unwatched for a very long period. Once she meets Uncle Beau, I just seem to lose all interest. And that means I miss Agnes Gooch!! Maybe I'm like Stennie and "Bringing Up Baby." I'm all Mamed out for now.

7. Movie you liked when you were 5-8 that you still like:
"101 Dalmatians." Gotta love all those doggies. And Cruella, for my money the best villian in the movies.

8. Movie you liked when you were 12-15 that you still like:
Now, it came out when I was a mere 6 years old, but I was around 12 or so the first time I saw "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming," or as I affectionately refer to it, "The Russians Are ComingĀ²." I didn't even know who Alan F Arkin was, but Jonathan Winters and all his kids cracked me up, and what kid couldn't love, "Emergency! Everybody to get from street!"

9. First movie you saw in the theatre without your parents:
Wowie zowie. This shall be hard. See, in our little town, every Saturday the parents would drop their kids off at the movie house and let them watch movies while the folks were off having a few hours of peace and quiet. So as a kid I saw all kinds of movies without them, just me and the sister and a thousand other screaming kids. Three come to mind, "Blackbeard's Ghost," "The Love Bug," or "The $1,000,000 Duck." Let's consult imdb and see which came first. Well, those first two both came out in 1968, so I'll pick "Blackbeard." And to be honest, there were probably a few before it. (Hahaha - Mel Cooley was in "Blackbeard's Ghost.")

10. First movie you saw on a date:
"Animal House." It went very, very badly. He didn't like it as much as I expected him to. I got quite angry over that.

11. Favorite literary adaptation:
Yes, this says more about me than you probably want to know. "Clueless," "Emma" brought to 1990's Beverly Hills. Boy, I love that movie. "You mean to tell me you argued your way from a C+ to an A-?" "You proud of me?" "Honey, I couldn't be prouder than if they were based on real grades."

12. Favorite TV adaptation:
Ewww. Let me think. I honestly can't think of one. Get back to me on this one.

13. Favorite movie from a genre you don't usually like:
Well, since the "Animal House" and "Stripes" days, I'm generally very wary of the "Big Comedy With Lots of Dirty Words And Sex And Today's Stars In It" genre, and for that reason I was also very wary of seeing "The 40-Year Old Virgin." But Judd Apatow ("Freaks and Geeks") and Steve Carrell were involved, and people I trusted kept telling me to see it. And so I did. And so I liked it, too.

14. Favorite Obscure Movie:
There's a movie I caught on Sundance once, and then one more time, it's so obscure I don't even think it has a distribution deal. Which is a shame, cause it will make you laugh at while feeling sorry for more people than you'd ever dreamt. It's called "Rockumentary," and is a documentary all about those odd folks who are in "tribute bands," and impersonate stars like Kiss, Queen, and the Monkees. If you ever get a chance, don't miss it.

15. Movie you watch when you're home sick:
Probably "Blazing Saddles." And if snot wasn't already coming out of my nose, it will be by about the 4th minute in.

16. Movie you wouldn't want to watch with your parents:
There's a Japanese movie I'd heard a lot about, and found it really cheap at a video store, so I bought it. It's called "In The Realm of the Senses," and Jesus Christ, it as an actual woman giving actual oral sex to an actual man. And actual stuff comes out of her actual mouth. I was apologizing profusely, and I was watching it alone.

17-20. Four movies you haven't already mentioned:

17. "Matewan."
John Sayles wonderful film about the West Virginia coal mining wars. Was the first time I ever saw David Strathairn. This is, for me, a perfect movie. Nothing in it that shouldn't be there, and he didn't leave anything out that should have been in. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

18. "The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter."
I mention this one because not only is it a great movie, and not only did Stennie do the right thing by keeping completely silent about anything in it, but Alan F's performance in it was so magnificent that it was the film (you can check my movie list, it's so!) that earned him the title of "Alan Fucking Arkin."

19. "The Music Man."
Stennie and I just quoted this in last week's podcast - "Pure Boys!" I love this movie, I love the songs, I love Robert Preston, hell, for once I even love Buddy Hackett. But I mainly love Mayor Shinn. There better be some by-God tootin' outta them horns.

20. "Dig!"
The second of my "three movies I watch in every 20 movies." (And I love you too, "Catch-22," I just didn't mention you this time.) The musical documentary of the rise and fall of two rock bands, it's like the most magnificent car wreck in history that you just stop on the side of the road, pull out a beer, and have to watch. And contains one of the last 50 years' most quotable lines, "Broke my fuckin' sitar."

There you go.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I was supposed to go to Taytie's baseball game tonight but it rained, and I wimped. So I stayed home and made this week's recipe du jour. Don't get excited though, the pictures didn't do it justice.
* The newest Huckle-bug is up! Go subscribe to us from iTunes, or hit http://hucklebug.blogspot.com to hear. It's better this week - no echo!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Sands, Digits, and Hands of Time

Well, not sands. The only hourglass I have isn't a fancy one like on the beginning of "Days of Our Lives," it's a little plastic one that came with my play-at-home version of "The $25,000 Pyramid."

Tonight's blog is something of a request. Someone suggested to me that it might be interesting for me to tell all of you kind folks about my clocks. Now, I personally don't think of this as interesting in the least, because I really don't feel I'm all so special in this regard. This could be a mistake on my part, and if it is it's probably one of about 177 I've already made this week, and it's only Tuesday.

I mean, we all have clocks in our houses, right? Well, I do too. And so I feel very normal, time-wise.

I have, in the dennette, the clock on my computer, and the clock on my TV cable box. They're perfectly in sync (or is that *NSync), with the time just what it's supposed to be, because computers are very good about that sort of thing. I currently have no clocks in my kitchen, because every time the power goes off it fucks with the clock on my stove, and I got so tired of resetting it I just quit doing so. (And this makes me one very lazy individual indeed, tired of pushing two buttons to get the correct time.)

Upon walking into my living room one would see no clocks to speak of, other than the ones on my TV cable box and VCR. Now, by the way, cable boxes have very good timing, because the cable people want me to know exactly what time my favorite TV shows come on, and, like the computer, they even automatically change my time with Daylight Savings Time and Daylight Non-Savings Time. However, I keep the clock on my VCR five minutes ahead of where it should be. This is so when I set my timer to record something while I'm away I shall get full value of my program and not risk cutting off its beginning. Do not ask me why I don't just set my timer to come on a few minutes earlier, for I do not know. I like it the way it is; it makes me happy. (Sorry, Mr Vonnegut - I used a semicolon.)

No clocks in the bathroom, and personally, I feel that anyone who has a clock in the bathroom is just asking for trouble. Because we all know the bathroom is where time stands still, and one should never be in a hurry there. The bathroom is for relaxation.

In the spare bedroom, aka The Beast (even though it's in fine order and not messy at all right now), I have one clock. This is the adorable purse clock my friend ESP made for me. See, the spare bedroom is also my "put on my face and fix my hair" area, and I have a little table and chair where I sit while doing so. So the clock being in there is a perfect fit, it's right there above my make-up table, all girly-like (even though I'm not, but I do wear make-up and occasionally fix my hair), and it tells me every morning while I'm putting myself together how late I'm going to be for work each morning. I like knowing this, and have a real sense of accomplishment when I sit down at my little table and look up to find that I'm right on time at 10 minutes late.

And then - there's my bedroom. The Mantrap, as you all have named it, a joke that makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.

I have a total of five clocks in my bedroom. One's on the VCR, and it's never set, so we'll just forget about that one and pretend I never mentioned it, OK? Then right above the VCR I have my cable box clock, which of course is always right on time, because the cable people know that even when one is in bed one needs to know exactly what time one's favorite shows come on.

Then I have the three alarm clocks. See, I used to have two alarm clocks, but somehow that just wasn't enough for me. Because to me, alarm clocks are just innocuous little things, mere trifles to not be paid that much attention to, and I need an alarm system like George Jetson had. If you'll recall, when George's alarm went off, his bed automatically pulled back into the wall, dropping poor Mr Jetson into the floor. This still didn't wake him up, as it wouldn't me, I fear, and so a hook came down from the ceiling and lifted him into the shower, where he still snoozed, then took him into the closet and dressed him, and sent him on his way. When they come out with one of those, I don't care if it costs $100,000, I'm getting it.

So anyway, I have three alarm clocks now, because three alarms are always better than two, and four might even be better and I'm definitely considering it.

The first alarm clock is a little digital by my bed. It has the snooze button. I like the snooze button, even though it's a bit like heroin. You know, lethal, but addictive. This clock is set 23 minutes ahead of the cable box, or "real time." When it's 7:00am, my bedside digital tells me it's 7:23.

The second alarm clock is way over (well, in The Mantrap nothing's "way over" because it's an exceedingly small room) on the baker's rack on the opposite wall from my bed. It's a digital, and is so fancy that for some reason you can set two alarms with it. I guess it's for the married doctor who rises at dawn and his trophy wife who sleeps till noon or till she falls out of bed onto her Yorkshire terrier, whichever comes first. I placed this alarm where I did because I read somewhere what a capital idea it was, and how no one could ever oversleep with an alarm clock across the room, for you see, one has to actually get out of bed to turn off the alarm. Apparently the person who wrote that little ditty did not 1) have a bedroom as small as The Mantrap, where you can lean on the edge of the bed on your knee and turn off the alarm, and/or 2) realize how easy it is to get up, turn off the alarm, get back into bed, and go to sleep. In keeping with DAT, or digital alarm time, in my house, this clock is also set 23 minutes ahead of real time. So at 7:00am, it says, "Bet, it's 7:23."

I got a clock a couple of years ago as a Christmas present from my cousin Jacob, whose Christmas presents from 2004 I still have sitting in The Beast, and I didn't buy her any presents in 2005 because she didn't care enough about the 2004 edition to ever pick them up. If she comes to get some in 2006, I'll hand her 2004's, provided the gift wrap hasn't molded by then. Anyway, this is a cute little battery-powered mod number, orange and groovy, and it has hands and an actual bell alarm that rings and rings until you turn it off or the battery runs out. I know this because it happened to me once. Mr Mod Clock sits on the nightstand, on the opposite side of the bed from digital alarm #1.

Since Mr Mod Clock doesn't have a snooze, I set him in accordance with TV Cable, or "real," time. So at 7:00am, this clock says, by damn, it's 7:00. And I had a very distinct reason for doing this, in case you're wondering, which I'm sure you're not, because this is all still quite normal, right?

All right. Now, the digital alarm clock across the room on the baker's rack, the alarm on it is set for 7:20am. And so it goes off every morning like clockwork, if you'll pardon a really bad pun, right when the clock hits 7:20. Only it's really not 7:20, it's actually 6:57. Because that clock is 23 minutes ahead of schedule. And when that alarm goes off, the one that's supposed to ensure that I get out of bed like a soldier and get on with the day, I either get up or scramble to the
edge of the bed and turn it off. And I turn on the TV. And generally fall back asleep.

The digital alarm by my bed is set to go off at 7:49. That's basically 10 till 8, I guess it was too much trouble to push the minute button that one extra time, and this clock goes off just like God intended every morning when that clock hits 7:49. Only it's not really 7:49, it's actually 7:26. When this alarm goes off I hit the snooze button, and usually get up and turn on my bedroom light. Because.... Well, because it's just what I do, OK? Then I go back to bed and laze around, watching TV and dipping in and out of the Twilight Zone, that wonderful area where one is not quite asleep and not quite awake. And I hit the snooze button every nine minutes when it goes off.

I do that until Mr Mod Clock, on the other side of my bed, goes off. His alarm is set at 7:50, and it goes off every single morning at 7:50. Which is actually 7:50, because he's set by TV cable, or "real," time. And remember, Mr Mod has no snooze, what with his 20th Century hands and all, and so I have to turn him off by the switch on his back. And this is why Mr Mod is set at real time. Because I know when he goes off, it is in fact 7:50, and I have 1 hour and 10 minutes until 9:00am, and I'd better get my sorry ass out of bed.

And sometimes I actually do. Then again, I'm me, and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I sit up in bed with a blank look on my face until about 8:15am real time, which is also 8:38am digital clock by the bed and across the room time, and when that happens, I know I'm pretty much screwed. I'm not overly high-maintenance in the getting ready for work department, but 45 minutes to a timely work arrival is just not in my vocabulary. (By the way, I live about a 2 minute's drive away from work, so commuting time is not a factor.)

Which poses the question. A fourth alarm clock. Necessary? Viable? Useless? Of course it would be useless, didn't you just read any or all of the above? The only thing that's going to get me up and going and on time is the George Jetson disappearing bed and hook.

And that's really the only area to which I'll readily admit being a little off the beam. The whole clock times and alarm settings, well, I think that is completely and totally normal. And I'll fight anyone who says otherwise.

As soon as I can get out of bed.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Acrowinners, we have acrowinners. So, what do you all do on a hellish Monday?
- Honorable Mention goes to Flipsycab, with her "Binge drinking delirium. Pass out." Flips would get along well with the acrobasket.
- Runner-up goes to Kellie, with her "Buying Double-Dipped Parfaits. Outstanding."
- And this week's winner goes to DeepFatFriar, with his very hellish Monday "Bagging dried dog poop outside." Friar, take Monday off.
- Thanks to all who played - you've all done very well!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Acrochallenge!

Hello, you purveyors of fine and wicked ideas, and welcome to another round of acromania.

Can't stay long tonight, hellish Monday, bad work, lots of cleaning, laundry, bill-paying, and still trying to get dinner done. So and quick one and it's out for me.

Hey, that can be our acrotopic. "What do you get up to on a hellish Monday?"

The rules are the same. Everyone gets three entries to come up with the best acronyms they can that will match not only the topic above, but also the letters below, which, of course, we all know, are drawn from the acrobasket. The acrobasket's answer to a hellish Monday? "Drink, drink, drink!" (He's soused most of the time.) Then tomorrow night at 10pm est I shall be judging the entries and naming the winners, who get next Monday off, and the non-winners, who don't.

So, this week's topic - "What do you get up to on a hellish Monday?" The letters:

B D D P O

OK, I'm gone, but remember to acro.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* I had to have podmobile2 looked at today. Stay tuned for the podcast this week!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Picture Sunday

Hello, you lovely Sunday Nighters, and welcome to an absolutely chockfull of stuff edition of Picture Sunday.

Where to begin. Well, let's begin here.

It was an action-packed (hear me? action-packed!) weekend in Betland. Because today was the annual Spring Concert of the one and only (and I mean that, people) B'burg Community Band.

Friday was Chill Night, watched a movie ("Ran," for those of you keeping score at home), drank a martini, and basically lazed around. Practiced my clarinet into the wee hours of the morning, which I guess is the musical equivalent of cramming for an exam, and hit the bed around 3:30.

Then I set about the task Saturday of getting everything ready for the trip to B'burg. Now, you know, in the 4Ā½ or so years I've lived at the Poderosa I've gotten used to, well, not gotten used to, more like come to accept as a fact of life, people throwing trash into my yard. Weekends are the worst. Beer cans and bottles, fast-food bags, an empty box of condoms - well, there's just no telling what I might find there.

But Lord have mercy, yesterday was the first time anyone ever threw anything into my yard that I could actually use!



Look at me, all parking in the best spaces in the lot for the rest of my life! Or till 2010, anyway, whichever comes first. OK, OK, I'm going to be a good citizen and turn it back in to the DMV, but how thrilling to find something in my yard I didn't have to pick up with gloves whilst holding my nose.

Then it was on to B'burg, where the concert took place this afternoon. All in all it went really well, as we're wont to say, no fatalities, I didn't even see paramedics lurking around the auditorium. Sherman was there in full force with his clarinet, and we pulled off what is, for my money, the most difficult program we've ever attempted. We began and ended all songs at the same time, a definite plus, and Ed, our fearless leader, seemed to be very happy with the results. And no one pelted us with rocks and garbage.

Speaking of Ed, let's have a little meet and greet with some of our band people. Yes, a bit of Meet the Band. Here is Ed, along with our band president (and manner of the souvenir table at Oktoberfest), the very lovely Leslie. Leslie's a percussionist, btw; she's holding my horn so I can take her picture.



Ed. You can just see the devil coming out of that face.

And now, here's a real treat for you all. No, not the fact that my mug is again gracing Picture Sunday, but that I have a picture for you all of Kellie, she of the oboe and acro! Smile, gals!



Yes, I'm wearing my new bag glasses, which the eye doctor said I'd be relying on more now that my contact lenses have been bumped up a prescription strength. I asked Mr M if I should wear these or my other pair, and he suggested these, they made me look "more like a musician. A harpischord player." Personally, I think I've got a little Nana Mouskouri thing going on. Anyway, Kel had a wild set of parts to play for today, hard oboe stuff, and pulled them off very well indeed, thank you.

And then, of course, there was the program. The program for the concert, which had our songs listed by title, the band members mentioned by name, and then a list of fine folks who became Patrons of the Arts by giving a donation to the band. I'm sure they're all wonderful people and you'd be happy to have any of them dine in your home, but one name stands out above the rest.



Such a generous fellow, Mr Peabody. He didn't divulge his amount, but I'm sure it was plenty, let me tell you.

And speaking of Mr Peabody, it's time for another recipe du jour. And Mr Peabody himself can't wait to partake of this one. It's from the "Quick Lunches" file in Recipeland, and it is the very savory Sherman Sandwich.



This one's oh-so speedy, and simple to make. Just take your favorite red-headed boy, slap him on the bread of your choice (he's gracing wheat for this picture), add your favorite sandwich fixins, and have at it. Potato chips, pickles (just day-to-day pickles), an apple, and some Pepsi round out this meal of delight. And of course we made it fancy by garnishing our Sherman Sandwich with some olives. Because nothing says "fancy" like olives atop a sandwich. Enjoy!

Happy Week.

Betland's Olympic Update:
* Quote of the weekend, on the topic of eggs.
Mr M: I don't see how you couldn't like egg whites.
Me: What's to like? They're slimy and have no taste.
Mr M: Well, I like 'em.
Me: Yes, but you're slimy and have no taste.
We crack ourselves up.