Friday, December 27, 2013

You'll See It, Your Kids Won't

Oh, to be so innocent again... But, no, you're a naughty one, too ... you see it... *wink!  nsfw?

Sorry, I didn't mean to make you feel dirty - that was your conscience.. And my odd sense of humor!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas 2014*

We were with my wife's family earlier tonight for a small get-together.  Not everybody could make it then so we're having them over tomorrow for a Christmas lunch and exchange a few small gifts.  It's nice with the in-laws, gatherings are much shorter than the marathon holidays I endured growing up.  I hope you are all spending your time doing what you want and with whom you want this Christmas.  Happy Holidays!

Now, I remember when this video came out a couple years ago, 2010, then I came across it again tonight as I was looking for something to post.  I probably didn't post it then* because of the peta affiliation.  I don't always agree with their message or method, but I can still have fun with the video.  It's better than a sharp stick candy cane in the eye!

Udo Dirkschneider... teamed up with the band Evil Disposition (staff members of EMP, Europe's biggest music and merchandise mail order company) to record "Jingle Balls" and all proceeds of the single will be donated to PETA...

*Edit: I did post this, I guess I should have checked first.  Oh well, it's done now.  Repost!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

87 Days...

Christmas Is Cancelled

Well, postponed anyway.

20131222 009
We were supposed to be in Dubuque this weekend but worries of an impending snowstorm has put that off until a future date.  The snow started about 2 in the morning, according to a neighbor, and seems to have finished shortly after I finished clearing the sidewalks for 4 houses and our driveway and bits of two others.  It's easy easier when the snow thrower is running, and it started up on the first try about a week ago.  Just guessing, but it looks like anywhere from 5 to 8 inches, depending on where you're standing.  The forecast is still calling for light snow for the rest of the day, then after a short break overnight, more light snow all day tomorrow.  Thankfully it is a light work week due to the holiday but unfortunately Monday is one of the work days.

Inside, the kitties were oblivious to the cold and snow outside, just lounging on the bed in the sunlight.  It must be nice...
These pics were just taken.  Have a holly jolly one!

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Now flickr is being a pain in my ass and not letting me post pictures like normal, instead forcing an embed of all my photos!  Flickr must be owned by fu--ing google too.  I'm really getting annoyed at this spit.;.@*)(^($#&@#^+ *


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Google Blackmail

This has been driving me up the wall, and I know that I'm not the only one.  Godammem.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

How British Are You?

probably american
I read or have read several British blogs - partly because I've always had an admiration for that part of the world, the culture and the history, and partly because that's just how it turned out naturally.  (Cheers to the prolific Diamond Geezer.)  So when I saw this quiz I thought 'what the heck?'  It's a silly little questionnaire, but it was fun... and it saw right through me.

I answered honestly, but you can tell how it is stereotypical and silly, but it is only Buzzfeed.

Take the 'How British Are You' quiz here and tell me how you did in the comments.. -or not, all you non-commenters!  That's right, I said it!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday the 13th Ramblings

I don't know about you, but I celebrated the 13th by leaving work early because I was feeling sick.  I felt fine early this morning, and after a little nap I'm feeling okay now.  I hope it was nothing.

The holidays are upon us, despite how I feel about them.  We got a late start shopping this year but got it done, thanks to Amazon.  Now gifts just have to arrive in time to get wrapped then carted off to relatives houses.  We generally only buy presents for nieces and nephews and a few select friends.  We're also taking a friend out for his birthday this weekend.  We have new windows to pay off this year so for sure this will be about it. 

More snow is headed this way tonight and tomorrow morning.  Sigh.  It happens every year but that doesn't mean I have to like it.  Well, I can't think of anything else and my wife will be home shortly.

Here, enjoy some kitties!

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Home Schweet Home

Yes, this is my home.  Madison, in the heart of Dane County, Wisconsin.  While I had A LOT of fun drinking in my youth, I uh, well, I still drink quite a bit.  These days it is more regularly than excessively, though.  At my age it takes too long to recover after a 'binge.'

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Latest Listening Pleasure 14... In This Moment*

I've been debating myself as to whether In This Moment would be my next LLP post or not.  Then I thought of my Paramore LLP post and what shite that full album turned out to be (for my tastes, anyway).  In This Moment doesn't have much more of a history as a band, but they do have heavier songs and have turned my head and perked my ears lately.  Actually, I may remember hearing the song 'Blood' on local hard rock radio sometime in the past year.  If so, it was purely incidental.  I am not a regular radio listener and haven't been in a very long time.  What gets played on the local hard rock radio station these days doesn't interest or influence me significantly.  The internet is where I find all my new sounds these days, the possibilities are so much greater and global than just what some corporate controlled program director thinks we should all like.  Most times I find something very very new, like the last LLP - Hyrax, and sometimes I'm a little late to the party, this album 'Blood' was released in August of 2012.

In This Moment's current stage show does make me think of 'pop metal.'  I don't think it would be too much of a stretch to see Britney Spears or a similar pop diva do something like this live.  Then again, maybe they do now, I don't pay attention.  They use the latest fad of 'mini-stages-on-the-big-stage' thing like I know Zombie and Manson do now (WASP has been standing on equipment crates since the early eighties), and dreadlocks and skulls are everywhere.  I do like the singer and her voice on most of the songs on the album.  But I also can't help but find myself thinking if this is what Christina Aguilera would be if she were more metal.  All in all, very good performances - if a bit dramatic at times - on the album.   Just my two cents, though.

I don't know if you know what I mean, or if  I  you even care.  It caught my attention, maybe it will catch yours.  I like In This Moment right now and have been enjoying listening to their 2012 album 'Blood' enough lately to make it officially my Latest Listening Pleasure.

And no, it did not hit me like a wrecking ball, but sometimes it strangely - and somewhat uncomfortably - reminds me of one.  Give 'em a listen for yourself!

In This Moment - Blood

In This Moment - Whore (Live, just two nights ago!)

*Update 11/30. 11:37 pm. I saw the below posted today on Blabbermouth.  It confirms that I had heard of them before, among other things.  I am not aware of any release date yet.

IN THIS MOMENT professionally filmed its May 21 concert in Madison, Wisconsin for the group's first-ever live DVD.  IN THIS MOMENT has partnered up with longtime supporter, radio station WJJO, as part of their Mayday Maylay concert series. The band had a bunch of surprises in store for this show, including rarely played songs from their catalog and an all-new stage show created specifically for this concert.

Previous LLP Posts...
LLP 1 - Pain
LLP 2 - Nightwish
LLP 3 - Die Antwoord
LLP 4 - Pain part 2
LLP 5 - Andrew Bird
LLP 6 - Nightwish part 2
LLP 7 - Paramore
LLP 8 - Newsted
LLP 9 - U.D.O.
LLP 10 - Nightwish Imaginaerum Movie
LLP 11 - Kiss
LLP 12 - Rick Springfield
LLP 13 - Hyrax

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wabbits and a Wazy Homeowner

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I know I have noticed more rabbits each of the past few years, but what the hell?  We got our first snow cover early this week and in just a couple days it seems that there was some kind of Bunny Hop in the back yard.  Seriously, how many can there really be?

I wanted to take a picture but I didn't want to get caught and have to explain myself - but I swear there are bunny tracks on my neighbor's garage roof!

Speaking of roofs, I have not cleaned the leaves out of the gutters yet.  I don't think they're as filled as they have been in the past thanks to some very windy stretches, yet it has still been foremost in my mind.  But something always seemed to come up.  First it was that all the leaves weren't down yet.  (Our big ole silver maple seems to hold its leaves longer than the other nearby trees.)  Then, this day coming up should be good - and it rains - or snows.  Only fifteen minutes of daylight when we get home from work.  Oops, too much drink during the football game.  I can't today, my back is killing me....  You name it.  Now it appears time to do it, if it is to get done at all before spring.  We have a couple relatively good days ahead, and it shall get done.  The house is the priority, the porch gutters may wait until spring if necessary, but there is no heat on the porch therefore no melting out there.

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

All pics via Jonco over at B&P!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wind Map

I found this site a while ago and this time of year it is interesting to look at on those blustery days.

Go to this Wind Map here.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

This And Thats

I have been rather preoccupied by work and life recently so I haven't been doing a whole lot of writing here.  I do make an effort to post something occasionally, even if I have nothing to say.  But eventually I feel I must write, so I guess that means it's time again to start typing and see what happens...

-I am in training again at work.  This position is two pay grades higher, but stability and happiness would mean more to me.  Maybe this will be it for a while.

-For the first time ever we are planning a winter getaway for a few days, down to the gulf coast of Alabama thanks to my Mom and her husband Dan.  They will be spending quite some time down there over the winter and have been nice enough to invite all their kids and their families to join them at some point.  Ahhh, escape...

-We're still loving the new windows.  We really like how efficient they will be this winter, and they give the house a much better look, inside and out (see two posts ago).

-Fall chores are almost done.  Leaves have been mulched and put in all the flower beds.  The few leaves left on the lawn I will mulch with the mower when I run that out of gas for the winter.  The house is washed but could use a touch up here and there.  The gutters have yet to be cleaned, hopefully we'll have a dry, mild day next weekend.  And I may want to test the snow thrower soon.

-It's getting to be a good time of year for sports.  Football is still in full swing, hockey and basketball seasons are getting started, and the never-ending baseball season is over!  Who won?  Who cares, it sure as hell wasn't the Brewers.  Go Packers!  Go Badgers!

Well, that's all I can think of right now.  Maybe I'll update later if I think of something else.  For now, I have the La-Z-Boy, a football game and the Sunday paper beckoning.  PTFO

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013

New Windows and a New Outlook*

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20131105 034 b
The cosmetics have changed a bit, for the better, we think.  We really like the black cladding around the windows.  Inside, the windows are wood grain that matches the trim throughout the house.  These windows are clearer, easier to clean and much more efficient.

It's a lot of money to spend and not have anything to play with.  Heck, we hardly even see them.  These shorter days have blinds shut and curtains drawn so early.  Still, we're glad we got them and should never have to replace them again.

Now we want a new front screen door and porch light, black to match.  We could also repaint the foundation and hand rails.  But I shouldn't get ahead of myself, there will always be something.

*The 'new outlook' reference in the title refers to a recent abrupt change in my career path. Not changing employment, just departments.  And still upward, just not the route I foresaw.  Unfortunately this all came under, well, I shall say odd, awkward and unforeseen circumstances. Boy, it's a good thing this blog isn't about work!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Follow My Blog... FREE!

Shameless self-promotion?  Nah.  But I did think it was cute and wanted to test if I could post gifs again because they didn't work for a time.  Via Joanne Casey.  Cheers!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween 2013

Happy Halloween, everyone.

It is rainy outside but is supposed to clear up later for trick-or-treaters.  Just as well, I'm in a pretty scary mood after my day at work.  I'd be fine with skipping it altogether but then we'll have all this candy in the house.

I hope everyone has fun this evening.  I'll be putting a smile on my face when I answer the door but inside I am deeply troubled.  That's my Halloween scare.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Nation's Best College Town - Madison, WI

The Badgers have another bye this week and if you're missing them play this may help.  Probably not, but I thought it was a neat video about our hometown teams and city.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Season's First Flurries

We got the first few flakes of snow this afternoon.  Nothing significant at all, just enough to remind us what snow looks like.  Look hard at the pic and you can see a few streaks of snow.

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Our weather seems to have jumped ahead a couple weeks.  Daytime temperatures are a bit above freezing as it is mostly overcast and nighttime temperatures are just below.  I've seen a bit of frost in the mornings but not much.  I haven't had to warm up the car yet or even scrape windows, but that may change any day now.  There are still a few outdoor projects I had hoped to do before it got to this point.  Oh well, hopefully we will have a couple relatively warm days and nights or else they will have to wait for spring.

I have not posted much lately but there hasn't been much to post about.  The kitties are still naughty.  We don't have a date yet for our new windows but it will be soon.  Squirrels are little bastards that won't stop digging in the garden.  Kate is well and I am too.  Ho-hum.  PTFO

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Autumn's Arrival

20131015 006It was officially autumn a few weeks ago, but now the weather seems to have caught up.  Temperatures are a more seasonable 50's or 60's during the day and can be into the 30's at night.  We have not had our first frost yet but it can't be that far off.

Almost all these leaves on the lawn are from neighbor Dave's black walnut trees.  Thankfully these leaves fall sooner than our silver maple tree's leaves.  That way I can mulch most of these into the lawn and use the maple leaves that fall later for mulch in the flower beds.  Even so, I usually rake back the leaves from about the tree on in this picture and let them mulch the hostas along the back fence.  Black walnut leaves have to compost for at least two years before you should use them and they affect or kill a lot of plants so I try to keep them out of our flowerbeds whenever possible.

Cool, wet and leafy.  Yup.  Fall is here and fall tasks are on my mind.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Happy - ( . )( . ) - No Bra Day!

Today, October 13, is No Bra Day, but, wait a second,  July 9 is National No Bra Day?
I don't know about you, but I would have to agree with the frog!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Latest Listening Pleasure - 13... Hyrax

Hyrax - Over The Edge, released today.
Something caught me, I'm not sure what it was - the name, the description, maybe (not likely) the album cover.

Anyway, it caught my interest long enough for me explore them a bit more via the interwebs and youtube.  This is actually how I find most of the music I listen to these days.  I look around at what's out there - and in this global internet there is a lot of music out there - and occasionally I find something that I find greatly appealing to my eclectic (read: odd, heavy-ish and sometimes unexplainable) tastes in music.  Of course, 9 out of 10 of my inquiries range from music that I will never listen to again to good but forgettable stuff.  Then there is the occasional hit, that rare kind of sound that seems to really grab you.  You know that feeling, or at least I hope you do.

I've listened to the Hyrax album at least a couple times a day all week now, and I really like what I hear.  Hyrax's album, Over The Edge, is their first as far as I can tell.  I believe there are two EP's that they released since 2011, but I can't find them in a cursory internet search.  There also isn't much of this band on youtube, most of it can be found on their channel here.  No wiki page yet, but I believe they are from Germany.  And they're kids.  They gotta be, look at them.  Pick any two and they may not total my age.  *Sigh.*  Actually they remind me of when I found out about CKY, in fact I see quite a few similarities, except that when I found out about CKY they had a few albums for me to look back to and enjoy while this is, as far as I can tell, Hyrax's first full length release.

This first video, Desire, is similar to the second, I Never Thought, in that he has the aggressive-but-not-quite-cookie-monster vocal.  On the album, which is bookended by these songs, they actually come across with a good mix of this aggressiveness but also some harmonies that work well and set up the next aggressive verse - it all works very well.  I also like how they chose to film their two official videos, below, both are single camera, one take shots.  The first appears to be the first single, but I may like the second better.

Okay, enough review, check it out if you're intrigued - like I was.   NSFW (language)

Hyrax - Desire

Hyrax - I Never Thought

Previous LLP Posts...
LLP 1 - Pain
LLP 2 - Nightwish
LLP 3 - Die Antwoord
LLP 4 - Pain part 2
LLP 5 - Andrew Bird
LLP 6 - Nightwish part 2
LLP 7 - Paramore
LLP 8 - Newsted
LLP 9 - U.D.O.
LLP 10 - Nightwish Imaginaerum Movie
LLP 11 - Kiss
LLP 12 - Rick Springfield

Honorable Mention after the break!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Tribute To James...

..., the head chef at our favorite local establishment, Brothers Three.  It seems he had an unfortunate mishap on his scooter and broke his collarbone.  His culinary skill and charismatic personality is missed, for another month or more as we understand it.

Cheers, James!  Get well soon!

James, rockin' and rollin' working a Friday fish fry:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sorry, We're Closed

This is the sort of political ineptitude and misbehavior that is too common and inexplicably accepted these days.  Whiny spoiled brats refusing to accept anything other than their own way.  Hell, look at the crap we had to accept with W in charge.  But no, some stubborn fools just seem to like conflict, creating it seems like a major part of the republican agenda.  Why is this classless, embarrassing, unsportsmanlike and should-be-illegal behavior tolerated from those who are chosen to lead some of us?  Peacocking, threatening, falsely flabbergasting, and out and out lying.  They make me sick.

I can't believe politics actually made me put finger to key, whiskey helped.  Hmmmph! ...Idiots.
*updated 10-3 - My hyperlinked pic disappeared due to a server switch at that great B&P site.  Jonco will be back in full over there shortly.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

This And Thats

It has been 2 weeks since I did any real posting.  I have, however, been pretty active over at the garden site recently, so feel free to check that out here.  Now, on with the thought dumping...

-Speaking of the garden site, I have not kept to a posting schedule over there this year.  The last couple years I would always try to post around the middle and end of the month at least, with other noteworthy posts when warranted.  It's not really that important to anyone other than me because it is only used as a diary of sorts, but next year I promise to get back to a semblance of regularity over there.

-We had our little circle of friends over last Saturday for the last fire pit party of summer - Saturday was the last full day of summer.  It was the usual fun.  B&Z were kind enough to bring some wood so we actually have enough to have a fall fire pit party sometime.  It was a cool evening, not cold, but still it was funny to me how everyone was in such a tighter circle than some summer fire pits.  Fall may be the best time to have a fire.

-Projects always need to be done.  I still haven't finished with the shelves downstairs, and I also have various fall projects on my mind.  Washing the house, washing and water sealing the back steps and some caulking on the roof of the porch should be done soon.  In no time it will be raking leaves, cleaning gutters and yard clean-up.  It's always something.

-We are well into football season now.  The Packers should be doing better, I feel.  The Badgers have maybe their biggest game of the season tonight at Ohio State on national television.  (I'm having a couple friends over for the game, it should be a good one!)  Pretty soon we'll have Badger basketball and hockey, too.  Yes, fall/early winter is a good time to be a sports fan in Wisconsin.  As for the Brewers, well, they suck but at least they're not quite as bad as the Cubs.

-Still no date set for the installation of the new windows.  It will probably happen around the beginning of November.  I'm eager to see (feel) how much they will help keep our house warm this winter.

I can't think of much else to say right now, except that I was thinking the other day how long it has been since I posted anything about the kitties.  So, look at them now!  PTFO

Basil and Hamish

Monday, September 16, 2013

Green Hams

Green hams will kill him, green hams will kill him, don't you be giving him Green Hams!* 

*Three Hams, actually.  You don't have to understand, it's just a tip of my hat to an old character and friend that I haven't talked to in a long time.  The cartoon made me do it, thanks Jonco!

Friday, September 13, 2013


This has been the least relaxing vacation I have probably ever had.  It started with my back going out 2 days before it started, it felt better in a couple days yet still weak and vulnerable.  The following weekend was spent with my wife's family up north at a cabin by a lake.  We had a good time, mind you, but a weekend with the in-laws should not be included with a personal vacation when the rest of my vacation is full.  Then on Monday and Tuesday I had window reps coming and going so I could not really do much of what I wanted, or I suppose I could have if I liked a lot of interruptions and going back and forth.  Wednesday was my birthday.  It was a gloomy, cool day and by this time I was in a gloomy, cool mood with windows on my mind.  I went out for a late lunch and a few drinks by myself but I just wasn't feeling it.  I stayed in a funk and was lazy all day.  Thursday, yesterday, I contacted the window rep that we wanted to buy from and he came by last night, I had lunch with my friend Jerome, finished fixing the grill wheels and cleaned up the garage so we can fit a car in it again.

That brings me to today, my last 'official' vacation day.  I can't eat anything until I give some blood to the lab around noon.  I have to call the window reps we didn't choose, I have errands to run and I have to write all this out while it's still fresh (check!) and probably post something over at the garden site.  I also have to make a call to the cable company to discuss not getting kissed before they, uh, never mind.  Then maybe, just maybe, make a drink, play some tunes and start one of my vacation projects this afternoon.  I was hoping to get the bottom shelves in the basement replaced this week and I have not started yet.  I had also planned on a 'cat box' project but I want to think about that a bit more and maybe come up with a better plan to do later, not that I had any time this week, anyway.

We'll have to see what happens, maybe I'll just be a bum.  Thanks for listening, I just had to bitch a little.  Some vacation, eh?

Windows Part II

Continuing with the windows saga, I had two more window company representatives stop by on Tuesday, the fourth and fifth meetings in two days.

The fourth window rep was a likable guy.  He was aware that I was meeting with several reps and we were not going to make a decision until the end of the week.  He was also aware that I had seen most of the demonstrations and did not waste our time on the little things.  He showed us his fine product, all it's unique and desirable features and gave us a fair estimate.  We had a new front-runner.

The fifth window rep was an older guy, had probably been in sales his whole life.  He was realistic and efficient, but his product was just not quite as good as the one before.  Not bad, but not as fancy or quite as efficient as the previous one.  He gave us a pretty low price but, again, went for the sale at the end even though we told him we were not making a decision that day.  Thankfully he was not as obnoxious as the third rep.

So, after all that we had made our decision;  window company number 4.  We got a very nice triple pane window with a u-value of .22*, wood grain interior (white exterior), hardware to match what we have throughout the house and black cladding to go around the outside of the window exterior.  I think the black cladding is going to look real good outside.  With a white house and a white window it will give the windows some added definition, plus the trim on the garage and the foundation are both black, so it will match.  The rep came by last night and we made it official.  Now all we have to do is make appointments when the time is right and in about 2 months we'll have our new windows.

My task today is to make courtesy calls to the other window reps, thanking them for their time in most cases and simply trying to remain polite in others.  Should be fun!

*The energy star rating this year is still .30, next year it lowers to .27 so we did pretty well - and I believe we'll get a 200 dollar tax break!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Latest Listening (Guilty) Pleasure... Rick Springfield

Here's another guilty pleasure of mine, for all the world to see.  Yes, I know he was Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital.  Yes, I know middle aged women are his core audience.  I can't explain it, but I like Rick Springfield.

This has been on my mind lately because I found out he will be a few blocks away, at the Barrymore Theater on December 4, and I feel a bit conflicted.  I'd like to see him live, but it's just a 'stripped down' tour and tickets are 50 bucks.  Sorry, Rick, I know you can rock out when you want to and I'd love to see that, but I think I'll have to pass this time.  I did spend a few hours watching youtube videos of his shows the other night.  It may be a guilty pleasure, but I like what I like and won't apologize for that.  Rock on, Rick Springfield!

The promo clip for his upcoming tour:

This clip is very recent, from this year's Sweden Rock Festival.  I get a kick out of seeing the 'spider' stage lights in the background.  Obviously Kiss was to perform later that night on the same stage.  (See my Kiss LLP post here!)

Wow, three posts in one day - and I still have more on my mind!  Best save some for later.  PTFO

Windows, Windows and more Windows

No, not the Microsoft kind, the kind that covers those otherwise gaping holes in your house.
Our house has the original, single pane double hung windows and storm windows that were probably added in the seventies or eighties.  They are not efficient, not the most secure and can be difficult to open or close sometimes.  The glazing is falling out, not all the storm windows work and the outside is so difficult to clean that we have never tried.  Time for new windows, right?

I have this week off from work so I set up appointments with several companies over yesterday and today to get information and estimates.  So far I have met with three window company representatives, two during the day and one last night that my wife was present for.

The first window rep seemed like a nice guy but he did not give me an estimate.  He wanted to come back when he could meet with me and my wife both.  Several things about this meeting bothered me.  He sold fiberglass windows and wanted to tear out the whole old window frame rather that sell me a pocket window.  He also spent at least half the time he was here just badmouthing another window company and telling me all things bad about vinyl windows.  Looking back on that meeting, I'm sure he was a 'hard-sell' guy and wanted my wife here because he wanted to leave with a signed sale.  No deal.

The second window rep was a real nice guy who had a great presentation of his product.  He was well prepared and efficient and was fine with the fact that I was gathering estimates from several places and would not make a decision right then and there.  He gave me a very good estimate and, so far, is our leading candidate.

That brings us to the third window rep.  I had high expectations for this local, family owned company.  Like the second he was well prepared, but not nearly as efficient.  We listened carefully as he explained every detail of their product, but he often repeated himself and asked us stupid and rhetorical questions and expected us to answer, a power ploy that just made him and his unnecessary power point presentation go longer.  After 2 hours I tried to convey my restlessness to no avail.  Finally after about another half hour he got down to giving us some numbers, numbers that had more digits than I was happy with.  Yes, we agreed it was a superior product, yet the cost and his forcefulness were completely turning us off by this point.  He went through a few acts where he got the price down some, but still would not accept that we were not going to make a decision on the spot.  He was determined to leave with a signed deal and we were determined not to rush into anything.  Period.  Finally, my wife said that it's not a money issue anymore and I jumped in and told him no, it's a time-to-go-home-now issue.  He arrived at 5:00 and it was now around 8:30 and we had had enough.  We will not be calling him back.

Today I have an appointment at 3:30 this afternoon and 6:30 tonight for more of the same.  I hope they are more like the second rep and not the first.  And surely not like the third because I now have much less patience for that type of salesman.

Weekend Away

20130908 002My vacation got off to a rough start this year.  My back went out on me again last week, causing me to miss two days of work, Wednesday and Thursday.  Friday, my first vacation day off, we headed north to a cabin on Castle Rock Lake with my in-laws.  We had a similar weekend with my wife's family last year, but rented a different, larger and less 'rustic' cabin this year.  Thankfully my back was not a huge issue over the weekend and overall we had a pretty good time.  This family has food issues, though.  Even though the planned groceries were easily more than enough they still brought more.  It is never needed yet it is always that way with them so I should try to get used to it, I guess.

20130908 012The cabin was larger than last year so everyone had a room and for the most part their own bathroom, which was very nice.  Although it is 'lakefront' property we were a ways from the water and it was a bit of a hike to the nearest pier.  Still, it made for a good view.  We had a lot of fun playing games Friday night and sitting around the fire Saturday night.  This cabin had satellite TV so I was able to watch the Badger football game during the day on Saturday.  I had a good time at the little pub I went to watch the football game last year, but that was on the other side of the lake, a half hour drive, so I did not make that trek.  Overall, I think everyone had a nice time.  Perhaps this will happen every year now, I'm not sure.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy Labor Day all in the U.S. anyway, the last holiday of summer. 

I've been using the time this weekend to cut and paint plywood to replace the lower shelves in the basement.  We sometimes get water on the floor when it rains a whole lot over a short (or long) period - not inches deep, just enough to make it wet and create a couple puddles as it runs toward the drain.

20130901 011We have several of the same type of shelving in the basement, and although most are up on pieces of 2x4, the lower shelves have started to grow mold.  So in addition to the 1.5" the 2x4 gives me, I will raise the bottom shelves a couple notches for better air flow and replace the molding chipboard with 1/2" plywood that I am painting with mold and mildew proof paint.  We do have a dehumidifier and squeegee for those times, which is usually enough, but it was wet for a few weeks down there this past spring and the moisture that was there has become evident of late.  Next time I'm thinking a fan would help, as well.

I'm trying to get all the painting done this weekend, 2 coats per side with at least 2 hours between coats.  I have a vacation coming up when I plan to do the work in the basement.  I believe I already mentioned the 'cat bathroom' I was planning on making over vacation.  That will still be done although it is not a necessary item.  Mostly it was just to give me a project to do during my time off.  I already have all the wood I should need, I just have to get some hardware.

Temperatures fell off a cliff from what it has been like recently, hot and humid.  I sweated through a few sets of clothes the last couple days but today the humidity is gone and we have temps in the seventies.  Very comfortable, yet I fear the inevitable autumn is right around the corner.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Branching Out

20130830 002Early in the week we noticed that a branch had broken off one of neighbor Dave's black walnut trees and had gotten hung up on the telephone wire that runs along the property line in the back yards.  We minded our own, and I hadn't seen Dave out to talk to him, but last night he came over to tell us of his futility in trying to get a hold of someone from the phone company and asked for my help.  So, of course, I helped him out.

This morning before the Badger game we got out there and got it down safely.  He had a long pruning saw which I used to cut off the branch a few inches to the right of the wire, as seen in the picture.  After that, all it took was a little twisting and I got it to come down without damaging anything.

I wasn't sure exactly how it would turn out, but it couldn't have gone better.  And now I have some more cheap firewood for next year!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hump Day

Just found this and either I share it now, this late in the day, or wait a whole week.  --When I think about it like that, it means I'm over the hump!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

This And Thats Again

Maybe I'll make 'This and Thats' a regular thing.  It sounds better than the brain spillage stuff I usually say on posts like this.  So here's some of this and some of that!:

Weather-wise it has been pretty moderate the last few weeks.  We have been able to keep the windows open day and night comfortably, yet there has been very little rain.  Not as bad as last year's drought, but I may have to break down and use the sprinkler I bought this past Spring. And starting today the heat rolls back in, so we got that going for us.  Yeah.

My upcoming project for my upcoming vacation:  A cat bathroom.  Our two cats, Hamish and Basil, have no fear of the basement like our late cat, Puddy, so they have no problem with their cat box being downstairs.  The problem is that even though we have a tray outside the covered litter box, litter still gets on the floor in the area.  Daily cleanings and sweeping generally keep the mess in control, but when we get a good rain spell for more than a few days water sometimes seeps into the basement and makes the floor wet, resulting in a messy floor in that area and dirty cat paw prints that amazingly can show up all throughout the house.  It is my big vacation project this year, along with some other basement maintenance to be mentioned later.  Yes, there should be no shortage of posts in early to mid September!

The Packers play their last preseason game on Thursday, at the Kansas City Chiefs.  The Badgers start their season on Saturday against UMass.
 Football is back! 
 Football is back!
Ready for a knock-down-drag-out?!?!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Everyone Is An A**hole

I came across this the other day and thought it was cute enough to share.  NSFW, of course.

I will have a new post here and over at the garden site this weekend.  I've been busy at work and tired at home recently.  The Packers play tonight and I have things I want to do before the game, mostly reading and unwinding, so this is just a quick 'I'm still alive' post.  'Cause, you know, I'm just that kind of a**hole.  Among other kinds -- watch the video!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Braining The Training

Happy Friday, everyone!  I haven't been around here much lately because I have been tired, in the brain.  I am in training at work, the most intensive training I have had in a long time, but I am hoping this will greatly help me in the future.  It is almost all on computer and I do not have any access yet so I have been mostly sitting with my supervisor getting everything but the kitchen sink thrown at me.  Actually, though she is trying to teach me a lot all at once, she is very nice, patient and I am learning a lot from her.  I'm not overwhelmed with the work she wants me to be able to do - I know I'll get it down eventually - but I am concerned about just how high her hopes are for me.  The higher the hopes the more pressure I'll feel.  After all, I'm a former construction and lumberyard guy and she's teaching me  the 'brainiac' stuff, her term not mine.

It has been quite a change but, like I said, I hope this can really help me in the future.  I keep mentioning that because this promotion is possibly temporary before I will be promoted again to go to a less desirable position.  At least I have a good job now, but who knows?  There has been much change at work recently so anything can happen, and I hope it does.

That is more writing about work than I have ever done or should ever do, so on a different note:
                   Is this not the saddest kitty pic ever?


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Undercover Pizza Cop

So this "undercover" cop car has been parked out front for a couple hours now.  It was here for a bit when my wife noticed it, then it left for a bit,  and shortly came back and parked in the same spot except now there appeared to be a pizza box in the front seat.  I finally dared to take a picture, making absolutely sure that the flash was off, but the pizza box is no longer visible.


As I write this, the car is still there.  This appears a lot like a staked-out cop to me - and I haven't watched any of those fancy cop drama shows on TV for eons.  The best thing about it is at least they're not watching me (it appears they may be watching someplace across the creek, thankfully), so best of luck to 'em!

1912 Eighth Grade Exam

Well, this is different than what I usually do, but I was moved to post it anyway.

Just imagine what this world would be if everyone, especially here in the U.S., still had to pass a test like this.  I might have failed even as a senior in high school.  What does this say about the direction of our schools and educational standards?  Well, it's actually embarrassing to me and should be to us all - and I think I had a pretty good education, at least through grade school.  Granted, this was over one hundred years ago, but so what?

Kind of underscores the meaning of all those little things back then that you thought you'd never use again.  You may not use those exact equations again, but it trains your growing brain, the one and only one you will ever have.

Stay in school, kids.  Parents, how would your kids do?

Full article here.  Thanks Jonco!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

This And Thats

There hasn't been any one amazing thing happening to us lately to write about.  That must mean that it is time to just start typing again and see what comes out.  Come along, it might be fun!

Our young cats found a new hobby recently.  They would climb up on the computer desk and pull out the pushpins holding things up on the bulletin board above and behind the monitor, then bat the tacks around everywhere.  It was not fun for us and we were not happy.  We had to start leaving the door closed at all times, essentially locking them out if we weren't in there ourselves.  Searching for a better solution, I found a cat training device on Amazon that seems to be working well.  It has a motion detector and will send out a spray of air to scare the cat away.  Easily found if you search, I just don't want to say the brand name here.  We have been using it overnights and may use it more during the days while we are at work.  They have not pulled down any pushpins since we got this device, I just want to make sure they continue to stay away so we'll keep using it at least for a little while longer.

Weather-wise has been pretty normal, though I would like a bit more rain recently.  Noteworthy is the very cool weekend we had last weekend.  Highs were in the lower 60's, F., very fall-like for just being July at the time.  It has been dry enough that I have not had to mow the lawn as much, even skipped the front for about 3 weeks, but there are spots that are browning a bit.  Maybe I'll go try a rain dance later.

I've declared war on crabgrass.  Not so much in my lawn, though there are spots, but in my neighbors lawn, specifically the stretch between our driveway and her house.  It showed up in the same area last summer so I sprayed it with crabgrass killer and a few weeks later threw some grass seed down to fill in the lawn.  Well, it came back this summer so, again with my neighbor's permission, I have been aggressive about trying to kill it off.  So far it is going well and hopefully I can get some real grass to grow before fall.  Yes, it is helping my neighbor and I know she appreciates it, but also some of my motivation is that I really don't want it in our lawn.

Work has been interesting lately.  I wrote some about the layoffs a while ago.  I was spared, and will be promoted even.  Now even more opportunities are in front of me.  Out of a possible 3 options, all promotions, I know which I will take.  I'll have a meeting on Monday with some important people then things will be clear and set.  I am grateful for these opportunities yet I will be most happy when things settle down and get back to normal.

I've been a bit concerned that we are mostly adding green stuff to the compost bin, most of the brown stuff comes in fall.  There were no problems last year, but it was not a full year of waste.  I know there are additives you can use but I don't think I'll look into that until I suspect we have a problem. This year I may be glad I built it every inch as big as it is.

And speaking of the compost bin, before this year I was pretty set on regular updates over on our garden site and that has become more sporadic this year.  What can I say?  I've been a bit of a lazy blogger this summer - but that's okay, I'll get over it!  PTFO

Monday, July 29, 2013

5SF - Butts

No gumption to write anything yet, really, so this seemed good to me.
See the 5 Second Films link on the right!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Lazy Summer Weekend

Today has been the laziest day I have had of the summer this year.  I slept in late, read the paper and surfed the internet all while fighting going back to sleep, until I finally gave in and napped this afternoon.  Now I'm up, still feeling lazy, and it is raining outside for the first good rainfall in over a week. 

Yesterday I was a bit lazy later in the day, but I did manage to clean my car inside and out.  My wife has not been lazy this weekend at all, just me.  The lack of rain, and until yesterday the very hot temperatures, have put off any lawn activity.  It has been 10 days since I have mowed and there is weed killer I wish to use, but the ground has just been too dry.  This rain should help get things straight again.

Yes, I'm bored and lazy today.  This post is drivel but I haven't posted in a week so I wanted to get something out there.  Sometimes a lazy day is just what is needed, I think I'll get back to that now.  PTFO

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pruning, Trimming and Learning

cr la 20130714 002cr lc 20130714 006I've had to research the topic of pruning and trimming lately.  I've done some since we moved in, but not as much as I have this year.  While I think I'm managing the lilac bush pretty well, and the already overgrown burning bush is going to be a work in progress for a few years if it going to stay, the bushes out front, arborvitae, are different.  From what I have learned after searches on the internet, late June to early July is the time to prune - remove branches, and trim - even out the ends of the branches, for this type of bush.  Sounds easy, but to do it right for the look you want then you have to know how to go about doing that, and I didn't know.

These bushes get pummeled with snow and beat down every winter,  then take months to recover with a little of my help.  I've been thinking of different preventative things I can do to lessen that next season.  In the springs I have tied them back up into a bush shape, and they were tied with nylons when we bought the house.  The support helps them, I guess, because I removed all ties in the plants before I trimmed and pruned today.  The 'after' shots in this post are all natural, nothing is tied.
cr ra 20130714 001cr rc 20130714 007
This is the project that I did today, and while I think it looks a lot better than before, they could look better.  Trimming is the easy part, the necessary pruning is a little harder.  Dead branches are easy to spot and prune, it is harder to cut off a live branch to thin out the plant and hope you don't accidentally leave a gaping hole.  From what I learned, the inside of the plant should be able to get some sun and air.  You're supposed to be able to see through the bush somewhat.

I'll probably touch up a spot here and there over the next few days as the plants settle, but I think they are done for now.  I'm sure I could have pruned more but I was afraid of over pruning these shrubs in front of our house, unlike when I pruned the burning bush in the back, anyway.

I know, fascinating, right?

RIP Grandma W

My maternal grandmother passed away last Tuesday morning at age 87.  She was a kind, church-going woman that raised 9 children, had 19 grandchildren and 36 great-grandchildren.  She was preceded in death by her husband in 1998.

My grandmother was very active in the church, and when I say active I mean besides her family the church was her life, all her life, every day.  She was especially partial to the rosary and I'm sure she said it several times a day.  The wake was Friday afternoon and evening, followed by the last viewing at the funeral home, the mass and funeral at the church, the burial at the cemetery,  and the luncheon at the local catholic grade school afterwards on Saturday.

No need for condolences, I did love her but I live a distance away and we were not very close.  In fact, due to her religious convictions - and willingness to share whether it was wanted or not - I actually avoided her sometimes when I was younger.  I have a rant about the catholics bouncing around in my head, but that is for another time.  Rest in peace, grandma.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Holiday and Party Last Week

It has been a bit of an odd week, ending on an odd note that I may post about later.  Temperatures have been very warm to very hot and humid, though the humidity broke yesterday for some relief.  Work has been busy, still playing catch-up a bit from the holiday last week.  And speaking of catch-up and the holiday, I have been too lazy about posting, but the 'diary writer' in me is making me post these now.

20130704 050b

We spent the afternoon of the Fourth out on a friends boat, above.  It was a beautiful day for it so there were tons of boats in the 'party cove,' only a fraction that you can see here.  While it was fun it only stays fun sitting there for a couple hours then I'm ready to go in, and I was ready by the time they were.  It's kind of weird how just sitting on a boat in the sun can tire one out.

Two days later, last Saturday night, we had friends over for a fire pit party.  Just for the heck of it - and also to try to get rid of some of the beers and boozes that have been accumulating around here lately.  I'd say it was mostly a success, but there are still leftovers for the next one!  We are now mostly out of firewood until more branches fall or I buy some.  I see fallen branches put out along the streets all the time, I may start snagging some of them for firewood.  The mosquitoes were horrendous this evening, too, but became manageable with repellants and yard spray.  Everyone seemed to have fun, I know I did by how bad I felt the next day, but it was nice to stay in bed until noon!  I can't remember the last time that happened..  PTFO

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Scale of the Universe 2

Way back whenever I posted an interesting find called The Scale of the Universe.  Today I came across The Scale of the Universe 2.  Click the Pic... and gain some perspective.

Thanks Jonco

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Story Of The First Raspberry

This is the story of Kate's first raspberry from the garden, captured in pictures on Wednesday evening.  This all happened in easily less than a minute.

First, here is my lovely wife showing off the first berry.  Notice the dark spot under her palm.
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Now, here is a close-up of the lightning bug first raspberry in her hand.
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The raspberry after the "There's a bug on my hand!" freak out. Straight down, center.
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And the remorse of dropping your first homegrown raspberry to the ground after showing it off.
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Of course, the raspberry was washed and enjoyed by her in the end.  It was just so funny how it happened and I kept snapping away, taking pictures.  We had a pretty good laugh about it. Posted with my wife's permission, of course.